Health Insurance Types

Find out the different types of health insurance available in Australia and compare quotes through Savvy. 

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, updated on July 6th, 2023       

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We’ve partnered with Compare Club to bring you a range of health insurance policies to help you compare them side by side.

There are several different types of health insurance available in Australia depending on whether you’re a permanent resident, a visitor or an overseas student. As such, it’s important to find out which form of cover will be most appropriate for your health insurance needs. 

You can compare quotes for health insurance from a panel of trusted insurers offering a wide selection of cover options in one place through Savvy. Consider the different types of cover available, get instant free quotes and buy the policy you’re after through us today. 

What types of health insurance are available in Australia?

In Australia, there are various types of health insurance available to suit different needs and budgets. Understanding the differences between each type can help you choose the right one for you and your family. These include: 

Hospital cover 

The most common type of health insurance is hospital cover, which can cover the cost of in-hospital treatments, surgeries and accommodation as a private patient. Hospital cover typically includes treatment in a private hospital, but may also cover some public hospital treatments as well. The coverage it offers will depend on the policy tier you purchase, with four options ranging from basic to bronze, silver and gold. 

Extras cover 

Extras cover, also known as general or ancillary treatment cover, can provide benefits for services that are typically not covered by Medicare, such as dental, optical, physiotherapy, and chiropractic treatments. Extras cover usually has a range of benefit limits and waiting periods. While insurance tiers aren’t regulated in the same way as hospital cover, offers typically range from cheaper policies with less coverage to more expensive ones with more benefits and higher limits. 

Combined hospital and extras 

Combined hospital and extras cover provides both hospital and extras cover in one policy. This type of policy may offer more convenience when it comes to dealing with your insurer for both in-hospital and out-of-hospital treatments and services. 

Ambulance cover 

Ambulance cover can offer cover for emergency ambulance services and transport, both by air and road, which can be costly if not covered by your health insurance (or a state government scheme). 

Overseas Visitors Health Cover 

Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) is designed for visitors to Australia who aren’t eligible for Medicare as part of their visa. This type of cover can provide hospital benefits for certain treatments during your stay in Australia, as well as potentially offer cover for out-of-hospital treatments such as dental and physio. 

Overseas Student Health Cover 

Adequate Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is generally compulsory for those applying for student or graduate visas which will enable them to study in Australia. It's often necessary to pre-pay for student health cover for the entire study period to satisfy visa conditions. 

How do I find the right type of health insurance for my personal circumstances?

Ultimately, the type of health insurance you choose will depend on your individual needs, budget, and health status. Whether you're looking for comprehensive cover or just basic protection, there's a health insurance policy in Australia that can meet your needs. 

It's important to note that health insurance providers may offer different levels of coverage within each type of policy, so it's important to review the policy details carefully before making a decision. 

If having comprehensive health cover is a priority for you, look for the highest tiers of hospital cover, such as silver or gold policies, and more expensive extras plans. These offer the highest level of benefits and widest coverage for different clinical categories. If you're on a tight budget, you could consider a basic hospital or extras policy, which provides more limited benefits at a lower cost. 

Of course, if you’re looking for health insurance to satisfy your visa conditions, you’ll either need to take out an OVHC or OSHC policy. Make sure the policy you choose meets any conditions relating to ‘maintaining adequate health insurance’. 

Savvy can help you choose the most appropriate health insurance policy for your needs from our panel of leading insurers by enabling you to compare a wide variety of health insurance policies. You can start the free online quote process through us today. 

Types of health insurance

Why compare health insurance through Savvy?

Frequently asked questions about types of health insurance

What’s the best type of health insurance for an Australian resident with diabetes?

The best type of health insurance for an Australian resident with diabetes would likely be a policy which provides coverage for insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring devices and other diabetes management tools. When choosing the right type of insurance for a diabetic, it's important to compare policies and check for exclusions related to pre-existing conditions, waiting periods and benefit limits. 

Will I also have to pay for Overseas Visitors Health Cover in advance?

Yes – you'll usually have to pay for OVHC at least a month in advance. Some policies even require payment for the full term of cover upfront, which can range from a few weeks to many months. However, some providers may offer payment plans or the option to pay in instalments, depending on the length of the policy. It's important to check the payment options and terms of the policy before purchasing OVHC to ensure it meets your needs and budget. 

Is it possible to buy ambulance cover on its own?

Yes – it’s possible to buy ambulance cover on its own, but it may also be available as part of other health insurance policies, which may include hospital cover or a combined hospital and extras policy. 

Can I claim the cost of private health insurance as a tax deduction?

In Australia, it's possible to claim a certain percentage tax deduction for the cost of your private health insurance policy. This is known as the Medicare Rebate and is age and income dependent. Specific rules and eligibility criteria for claiming a deduction can vary, so it's best to check with the Australian Taxation Office or a qualified tax professional for more information. 

What is self-funded health insurance?

With self-funded health insurance, the individual or family sets aside a specific amount of money each month to cover their healthcare expenses, and assumes the responsibility of paying for all their own medical needs. This is different from private health insurance, which involves paying regular premiums to a private health insurance company.

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Savvy is partnered with Compare Club Australia Pty Ltd (AFS representative number 001279036) of Alternative Media Pty Ltd (AFS License number 486326) to provide readers with a variety of health insurance policies to compare. Savvy earns a commission from Compare Club each time a customer buys a health insurance policy via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased from these brands directly, as all purchases are conducted via Compare Club.

Savvy’s comparison service is provided by Compare Club. Compare Club compares selected products from a panel of trusted insurers and does not compare all products in the market.

Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.

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