Last Updated on 7 April 2021

Guide to Private Health Insurance in Tasmania


Health insurance can be confusing. Different tiers. Different inclusions. Different costs. There’s even differences between states. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help Tasmanian residents navigate the world of health cover.

Tasmania has a couple of local health funds, along with a selected range of national funds to choose from. Here’s what you need to know to help you narrow down your search.

Key Points
  • Tasmanians are loyal to local insurer St.Lukes, along with big players Bupa and Medibank.
  • In 2019-20, around 90% of Tasmanian public patients were admitted for elective surgery within 363 days.
  • Ambulance call outs and journeys in Tasmania are free to residents.

What are the largest health funds available to Tasmanian residents?

Tasmanians are often loyal to their local provider, StLukes.

Based on market share, the top four providers are:

  1. Bupa (31.3%). Also operates overseas.
  2. Medibank (26.5%)
  3. St Lukes (22.1%)
  4. HCF (5.5%)

While a larger insurer will generally have a wider network of practitioners and member benefits, it’s worth comparing with smaller providers, especially if you’re based in regional Tasmania. 

Once you determine your specific needs, you’ll be in a good place to weigh up which fund is best for you.

What are Australia’s top performing health funds?

So, you’ve potentially found a great health policy at a great price that fits your specific needs. But you want to make sure you’re also getting good customer service. 

Here are the health funds that received the least complaints nationwide4.

  • HBF (received just 4.0% of complaints versus their 7.3% market share)
  • Medibank (22.8% of complaints versus 26.9% market share) 
  • Bupa (21.5% of complaints, versus 25.4% market share)
  • St.LukesHealth (0.4% of complaints versus 0.5% market share)

HBF stands out as a top performer for customer service. That’s not surprising given it has a high retention rate for hospital cover at 86%. Of the big four, Medibank and Bupa scored well. 

Local Tasmanian fund St.LukesHealth also performed quite well, relative to market size.

What types of cover can I get in Tasmania?

All health funds offer a range of policies. There’s hospital cover offered as Basic, Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers, based on your specific needs. 

Taking up hospital cover could also help you avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge at tax time. 

The majority of Australians opt for a combined package with hospital cover and extras, which gives you benefits on everyday treatments like dental, optical and chiro. 

These policies tend to give you the best value.

Are there regional health insurers outside Hobart?

Yes, St.LukesHealth is based in Launceston and Health Care Insurance operates from Burnie. 

It’s still worth comparing policies with the bigger players like HCF and Bupa to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

What do I need to consider for health cover in Tasmania?

With a reasonable choice of funds, it helps to start working out the inclusions you need along with your budget. 

This means asking questions such as do you want to see your regular practitioners or are you happy to use the fund’s dental and eyecare centres to get higher rebates? 

Other questions include, does your fund have dental and eyecare centres on Tasmania? Or can you use the extra membership benefits, such as weight loss classes? 

Check the fund’s hospital agreement includes your local hospital, particularly if you live outside Hobart or Launceston. There’s no point having great cover if you have to drive for hours to receive full coverage for your hospital costs.

Extras providers are also important. Does the health fund cover treatments at your local dentist or optometrist?

Weigh up the pros and cons of the big names and smaller funds. And make sure you’re not going to get hit with hidden costs or excessive gap fees.

How much does ambulance cover cost in Tasmania?

Ambulance Tasmania provides a free service to Tasmanian residents across the state. The only exceptions are when insurance already covers motor vehicle and workplace accidents, or cases involving war veterans.

But if you regularly travel to the mainland, you may want to consider health insurance that comes with ambulance cover – Tasmanian residents don’t get free ambulance services outside of their state.

Are there any rebates for Tasmanian residents?

Yes. From 1 April 2021, Government health insurance rebates for Australians under 65 years range from 8.202% for a single earning $105,001-$140,000 (and couples/families earning $210,001-$280,000), to 24.608% for singles earning $90,000 or less (and couples/families earning $180,000 or less).

How long do I have to wait for elective surgery in Tasmania?

It will come as no surprise that COVID-19 has had a big impact on waiting times for elective surgery.

In 2019-20, around 90% of public (Medicare) patients in Tasmania were admitted within a year (363 days to be precise). This is a lot longer than states such as Victoria and SA.

How do I find the best health insurance in Tasmania?

The best way to find good value health cover is to compare health insurance providers. Health Insurance Comparison does all the hard work for you.

We’ll evaluate hundreds of policies from our panel of trusted insurers, taking into account inclusions, benefits, premiums, waiting periods and more. We’ll even take care of the paperwork.

We saved Australians an average of $312 when they compared and switched with us in 2020*. Why not see how much you can save?

This article is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

References:

Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, 2020 State of The Health Funds Report.
Ambulance Tasmania,
Fees and Accounts.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Elective Surgery Statistics.
Australian Tax Office, Income Thresholds and Rates For The Private Health Insurance Rebate.
*Based on 25,311 customers in 2020.


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