Seniors health insurance

Don’t be left on a public hospital waiting list – get seniors health insurance and skip the long queues.

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What does seniors health insurance cover?

Hospital cover

Hospital

Hospital cover gives access to treatment in a private hospital as a private patient. You can choose your doctor, get your own hospital room (where one is available) and have more flexibility over scheduling procedures. You can choose from four levels of hospital cover in Australia: basic, bronze, silver and gold. All must cover specific treatments.

Extras cover

Extras

Extras insurance helps pay for out-of-hospital treatments which Medicare doesn't usually cover. This can include dental, physiotherapy, chiro, optical and more. Many policies also cover ambulance fees which the public system does not pay for, unless you live in Queensland or Tasmania.

What's the best health insurance for seniors?

Our list of top health funds can make finding the best seniors health insurance policy a little easier. Here are some of our top health insurance picks based on best insurer, most popular and waiting periods. For a more detailed breakdown, you can head to our best health insurance page.

Top Pick for

Best insurer

Bupa image


Good value for your money | Good customer service | Australia's second-largest health fund

Go to site More info

Top Pick for

Most popular

Medibank image


Australia's largest health fund | 100% back on dental check-ups | 24/7 Medibank Nurse phone service

Go to site More info
  • What seniors health insurance policy do you need?

    Thanks to 2019 government reforms, all health cover in Australia must cover specific treatments. There's usually no specific seniors health insurance policy offered by insurers, but there are certain levels of cover that are more appropriate for seniors than others.

    Simple Extraction

    Gold

    Gold-tier hospital insurance typically costs around $160 per month for a single policy and covers all 38 treatments outlined by the Australian government. This includes joint replacements, insulin pumps and cataracts so are good for seniors with some health issues or those who want total peace of mind.

    Surgical Extraction

    Silver

    Silver-tier hospital insurance covers a minimum of 26 treatments but does not include joint replacements, insulin pumps and cataracts cover, so costs a little less than gold – often around $115 per month. You'll still be covered for services such as implantation of hearing devices, podiatric surgery and heart and vascular though.

    Wisdom Teeth

    Bronze

    This is a more basic policy that may be more suited to seniors who want to take advantage of shorter waiting times and some basic cover such as joint reconstructions, kidney and bladder and chemotherapy. Policies start from around $80 per month.

    Wisdom Teeth

    Basic

    Most seniors probably aren't suited to basic cover as it is only required to provide restricted cover for rehabilitation, hospital psychiatric services and palliative care. It's good if you simply want to avoid an expensive ambulance bill or still work – you don't need to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge and Lifetime Health Cover Loading if you get a policy. Policies cost around $75 per month.

    old man
    Plus Policies
    Since all health funds are required to offer the same treatments for each tier, keep an eye out for Silver Plus, Bronze Plus and Basic Plus policies. These cover at least one service more than the standard tiered policies and are often tailored to seniors who want top cover that doesn't also include pregnancy services.

    Do seniors need health insurance?

    Pros

    • The wait times are usually shorter.
    • You can choose your own hospital and doctor.
    • You have more choice over your appointment time.
    • It can cancel out the Medicare levy surcharge if you still earn an income.
    • Emergency ambulances are covered with basic policies.
    • When you hit 65, you're entitled to a higher rebate.

    Cons

    • It may be too expensive for you – policies start from around $80 per month.
    • You may be happy to wait longer on the public health system.
    • If you've never had health insurance, you will have to pay the lifetime health cover loading – a 70% additional charge on top of your premiums.

    Public vs private waiting times for procedures

    Couple looking at bills

    Save on your insurance: June 2023

    10 health funds have upped their prices since 1 April. Some 38% of health insurance customers are facing higher bills (as of 1 June). That's more than 5.5 million Australians.

    The price increases make now a great time to look for better-value health insurance. The switching process between funds is simple. You typically won't have to re-serve any waiting periods.

    See the latest health insurance deals for June 2023.

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    FAQs about seniors health insurance

    James Martin
    This article was reviewed on 2 May by . James is the insurance editor at Finder and he's written on a range of insurance and finance topics for over 7 years.

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    Ask an Expert

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    26 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      JimmyOctober 12, 2022

      Can you get travel insurance quotes from health funds of which you are not a member? Which health funds provide the most cost-effective travel insurance?

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        SarahMarch 3, 2023Staff

        Hi Jimmy,

        Yes you can get travel insurance quotes from any provider, you don’t need to be an existing member.

        The most cost-effective travel insurance for you will depend on your trip length, location and your age and pre-existing conditions. Your best bet is to compare options based on your specific situation to find out which policy offers the best coverage and value.

        Hope this helps!

      Default Gravatar
      HusneMarch 28, 2019

      Wanted private health insurance with Basic Hospital and some extras like optical, dental and joint replacements etc.

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JeniMarch 30, 2019Staff

        Hi Husne,

        Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

        Upon checking, you’re currently at the right page. Kindly choose the answer that suits you and please enter your postcode then click on the orange Search policy button to start comparing your options. Once you have decided which to go with, please click on the green go to site button of your chosen quote to be redirected to the provider’s official page. If you need further assistance on getting private health insurance, you may call our team on 1300 594 882 from Monday to Thursday, 8am – 7:30pm and Friday, 8:30am – 5pm.

        I hope this helps.

        Thank you and have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Jeni

      Default Gravatar
      KathleenFebruary 25, 2019

      Can you clarify the difference between ‘earn’ (gross income?) and taxable income re :
      Premiums
      Free (other than the levy)
      Costs $75/month+ extra if you earn over $90,000

        Default Gravatar
        NikkiFebruary 26, 2019

        Hi Kathleen,

        Thanks for getting in touch! Your premiums will be free if your gross (or taxable income) is over $90,000. Hope this clarifies!

        Best,
        Nikki

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMarch 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Yes, cardiovascular disease is considered to be a pre-existing condition so the waiting period applied is 12 months. If you like to compare the insurance prices and cover, please use our panel above and click on the orange ‘Search policies’ button. Please discuss directly with the insurer about your options and waiting period once you’ve chosen a brand.

      Cheers,
      May

      Default Gravatar
      TerryMarch 19, 2018

      My mother in law is 98 years old, she has had private health insurance for over 20 years i believe, maybe much more. Last year she fell and broke a hip, was taken by ambulance to a public hospital. We requested a private room but were told there were none available. We could have moved her to a private hospital, but were advised with age pain etc it would not be advisable to do so. Is there a cover for these types of situations where there seems to be very little if any successful claims that can be made, other than palliative care at sometime in the future?

        Default Gravatar
        LiezlMarch 22, 2018

        Hi Terry,

        Thanks for reaching out to us at Finder!

        Depending on which policy your mother-in-law has, she might benefit from the wide range of general treatments included in hospital and extras covers such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic services or other natural or alternative therapy.

        Kindly note that the extent to which particular services are covered will depend largely on the insurer and policy. If you’re unsure of the inclusion and limits, it’s a good idea to contact her insurer directly.

        I hope this information helps.

        Best regards,
        Liezl

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