Last Updated on 1 October 2020

What is the best health insurance for singles?


Young, single, athletic woman stretching before a run: health insurance comparison

Are you looking to find how to get the best health insurance for young singles? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Our complete guide will tell you everything you need to know, from your cover options to tips on avoiding government charges.

Whether it’s your first time taking out health insurance or you’re after a better deal, read on for your complete guide to getting value for money from health insurance for singles.

And if you’re still young-at-heart but starting to find a few grey hairs, you’ll find our guide to health insurance for over 50s useful.

Key Points
  • Having private health insurance can help you avoid long waiting lists and high out-of-pocket costs for elective (non emergency) surgeries
  • You can choose to have hospital-only cover, extras-only cover, or a combination of both
  • Many young Australians take out singles health cover to avoid the Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC) charge and/or the Medicare Levy Surcharge

How does singles health cover work?

Singles health insurance covers an individual person. Family and couples health insurance cover multiple people.

Private health insurance for singles is split into two products: hospital cover and extras cover. You can purchase either of these on their own or combine them into one policy.

Hospital policies pay for your treatment as a private patient in a hospital, while extras cover out-of-hospital treatments like dental and physio.

Why do I need health insurance if I’m young and single?

If you’re under 35, you may think you don’t really need private health insurance. Think again.

First up, there’s a basic financial reason why many healthy young single people take out health insurance.

One reason is if you’re about to turn 31 you can avoid the Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC) charge. If you’re earning over $90k then the cost of taking out health insurance may be less than being hit by Medicare Levy Surcharge. We’ll get into more detail on these further down this article.

Health insurance can also protect you from being hit with large bills due to illness or injury. Private health cover that gives you real value helps limit “the gap,” which are out-of-pocket payments for medical care.

Then there’s rebates. If you need dental surgery, new glasses or a series of physio appointments, the amount you’ll get back on your extras can often offset the overall cost of health cover and means you don’t suddenly have a large bill to pay.

Along with greater financial security, you’ll have broader access to care. You may be able to get a private room, and choose your own doctor or surgeon. Again, your policy may also help you to avoid gap fees, as some doctors charge more than others.

Another major benefit is avoiding long waiting lists for elective surgery at public hospitals. This is particularly useful if you need an operation on the type of injuries common among twenty and thirtysomethings.

Does this make a difference? Well, yes. Quite simply, you’re avoiding a long period of discomfort while you wait to fix your body.

What are the different types of singles health cover?

There are four main types of private health insurance for singles. Understanding the difference between each will help you choose the right cover to suit your needs. And remember, we’re here to help you compare your options.

Ambulance cover

Starting at around $3 a week, this is the most basic type of cover you can get. It covers the cost of an ambulance ride in the case of an emergency, saving you from a hefty bill that could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The need for ambulance cover varies from state to state. Queensland and Tasmania, for example, cover the cost of ambulance without the need for private insurance, so it pays to check first.

Hospital cover

You may feel young and invincible but from sports to activities and festivals, there’s plenty of places for the more accident prone among us to do some serious injuries. It’s why hospital cover can really help with certain lifestyles.

This gives you the choice of being treated at a private or public hospital. If you need specialist treatment after an unexpected injury or illness, you should be able to choose from a number of doctors and hospital locations. Your cover may also give you the privacy of your own room.

When you need treatment for elective surgery – something that will improve your quality of life but isn’t life threatening – private health insurance can help you avoid lengthy waiting lists to be treated at a public hospital.

Extras cover

Extras cover provides insurance for non-hospital health services. This can include everyday services like dental, physio and optical as well as treatment for mental health, podiatry and chiropractors.

Generally, the more services the policy covers, the more expensive it is. Will you use your extras? Well, if you’re visiting the dentist once or twice a year, wear glasses or contact lenses, and need another form of treatment like physio or counselling, extras cover can provide real value.

What private health insurance extras are most frequently claimed on?
What private health insurance extras are most frequently claimed on?

Combination policies

A lot of the time, health insurers offer policies that combine both hospital and extras cover. With a combination policy, you get the comfort of knowing you have hospital cover while being able to cover the extras you’re most likely to use.

It’s worth comparing what different insurers offer but a combined policy can be more cost effective and comprehensive, plus you only have one set of paperwork.

How can I tailor my health cover to my lifestyle?

Everyone’s needs are different, which is why it pays to compare policies or speak to a specialist, such as the team at Health Insurance Comparison. By doing this, you can make sure you’re covered for what you actually need.

Having a chat with one of our experts will help you compare some options and make sure you’re getting the best deal possible from our panel of insurers.

It’s important to review your health cover every few years – as your life changes, your health needs will change too.

What is Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC) and how can I avoid it?

Simply put, this is an initiative designed by the Government to encourage Australians to take out private hospital cover earlier in life.

If you don’t take out any form of hospital cover by your 31st birthday, your monthly health insurance premiums will increase by 2% for every year you choose not to take out cover.

For example, if you get health insurance at age 35, you’ll pay 10% more for your hospital cover.

The good news is you can avoid getting stung by the LHC. If you take out at least basic hospital cover by July 1, following your 31st birthday, then you’ll avoid the loading charge at a later date.

How can health insurance help me save at tax time?

If your annual income is over $90,000 and you don’t have an appropriate level of hospital cover, you’ll likely have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).

Many young Australians take out health insurance not for the cover itself, but to avoid the MLS and save at tax time.

How much will health insurance for singles cost me?

The cost of private health insurance for singles depends on the following factors:

  • Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading. If you take out health insurance for the first time after your 31st birthday, you’ll be subject to LHC, which adds 2% to your hospital cover premiums for each year you didn’t have an eligible cover.
  • Excess. Some providers let you choose a higher excess in exchange for a lower premium, and vice versa.
  • Your location. Cover costs will vary from state to state. Depending on which healthcare providers your health fund has agreements with, you may have to choose between higher premiums or a long journey to get treatment.
  • Rate rises. Every year on April 1, health insurance premiums rise by an average percentage. In 2020, this was 2.92%, but not all health insurance providers will raise their premiums by the same amount. If you’ve not switched funds in a few years, March is a good time to review your policy and compare health insurance to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
What's the average cost of health insurance for a single young Australian.
What's the average cost of health insurance for a single young Australian.

Does it matter if I have pre-existing conditions?

Nope. Health insurance is community-rated, which means insurers cannot charge you more based on your age, occupation, gender or health conditions.
In most cases, you can still include extras and hospital benefits that relate to your condition for no extra cost.

A quick note: if you’re joining for the first time or if you’re adding new items onto your policy, you’ll have to serve waiting periods before you can use them. This is so people don’t switch funds and immediately hit their new insurer with a massive claim.

Is there a difference in price depending on my gender?

Unlike other types of insurance, health insurance doesn’t take your sex into account when setting your premiums.

In fact, the only difference you might find is in the policy benefits, since men and women have different health care needs. For example, fairly obviously, men won’t need gynaecology on their hospital cover.

Is couples health insurance better than two singles policies?

Not always. Two people in a relationship might have different healthcare needs and one may need to claim on a broader range of benefits. It might also be easier to pay for premiums with two incomes instead of one, depending on how you structure your finances.

In saying that, couples health insurance can often be purchased for a lower cost than two singles policies. It really depends on what works best for your situation. It’s why it definitely pays to compare. If you find the range of options confusing, this is something our specialists can help you navigate.

What counts as a couples policy? If you’re legally married, in a de facto relationship or in a registered relationship, you have a choice of purchasing couples cover OR two separate singles policies.

You can always switch to a couples policy if your relationship gets serious, and then to a family policy if you decide to have children.

What is the best value health insurance for singles?

Finding the cheapest health insurance may be tempting, but the level of cover can be less extensive, and exclusions and restrictions can apply. It’s important to take the time to understand any restrictions and waiting periods on a policy before purchasing it.

The best way to find a good deal on health insurance is by comparing your options. We can help you do just that.

In 2019, Health Insurance Comparison saved customers, on average, $380.79* when they compared and switched with us. You can quickly and easily compare policies right now, by clicking the button below.

 

So, there you have it – everything you need to know about health insurance for singles. We hope we’ve helped you fully understand your options so you know how to cost-effectively cover your health.


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