Health insurance explained

Play Your Health Care Choices - Private Health Insurance in Australia

This website aims to answer your questions about private health insurance by explaining how it works, and who and what is covered. You can also compare policies from different Health Funds to help you to choose a private health insurance policy that is right for you.

There are many things to consider when looking into private health insurance:

  • Who is covered? You may just need to cover yourself if you are single; or if you have family living with you such as children (dependants) you may be able to purchase cover that provides for everyone.
  • What is covered? In Australia, the public health system Medicare covers most Australian residents for health care. However, Medicare does not cover everything and you can choose to take out private health insurance to give yourself a wider range of health care options and more comprehensive cover.
  • How does it work? There are two types of health insurance: hospital & general treatment (ancillary or extras). You can buy them separately or most funds offer combined policies. There will be limitations on what and when you can claim with any policy you buy.
  • What government incentives and surcharges affect my insurance? The Private Health Insurance Rebate is a federal government subsidy for the cost of insurance, while the Lifetime Health Cover rules are designed to encourage people to purchase private health cover earlier and to stay covered. The Medicare Levy Surcharge is a tax that affects people earning above a certain threshold who don't hold private hospital cover. 
  • Overseas visitors and students If you are in Australia on a temporary student visa or if you are applying for a visa subclass 457, it is a visa condition that you take out private health cover. If you are visiting Australia on any other visa, you should consider taking out some cover for the duration of your stay.