Last Updated on 22 December 2020

Guide to Private Health Insurance in Tasmania

Key Points
  • Private health insurance in Tasmania offers hospital cover, extras cover, and ambulance cover. However, ambulance services are generally provided free of charge by the state.
  • General trends in Tasmania show that older people in their 70s are starting to get more coverage while younger people in their 20s are turning away from private health insurance.
  • Medicare and Bupa are the biggest health funds in Tasmania, with St. Luke’s, a local and widely trusted Tasmanian provider, also proving very popular among residents.


Health insurance statistics in Tasmania

Buying private health insurance is an important decision for many Tasmanians. With private hospital cover, you are able to access expanded health care options. For example, you can choose your doctor and hospital. With extras cover, you can get cover for the services you use regularly, like optical, chiro, and dental.

So what does health insurance look like for Tasmanians?

Like everywhere else in Australia, health insurance in Tasmania looks different for every person. There are those who feel comfortable relying on the public health system, though it can mean limited options and longer waiting lists.

And for those who do have cover, policies vary from family to family. While some prefer to have insurance only for hospital or extras cover, others opt to get both in a combined package.

Tasmania’s average annual premiums are not dramatically higher or lower than in other states, except for the Northern Territory, which typically cites cheaper premiums than anywhere else in Australia.

According to APRA statistics, the percentage of Tasmania residents who take out health insurance is slightly less than the national percentage. This is the case with both hospital and extras cover.

Percentage of Tasmanian residents with health cover

APRA statistics reveal that more people aged 70 to 74 are increasing their hospital cover.

It’s also worth noting that younger people between the ages of 25 – 29 have been found to be less likely candidates for health insurance.

This trend is also reflected in wider Australia and is thought to be due to a number of factors, including young people:

  • Dropping off their parent’s policy and not being motivated to organise a single policy
  • Prioritising first home ownership or other expenses like education or travel
  • Enjoying a lesser likelihood of needing to claim than older, more medically fragile members of Australian society.

But youth doesn’t necessarily mean invincibility, and so the government has introduced a range of initiatives to inspire young people to better prioritise their health with a suitable insurance policy.

This includes the Medicare Levy Surcharge and the Lifetime Health Cover loading. Both incentives may be encouraging more and more young people to consider their health insurance options.

Age groups aside, there seems to be a fairly equal distribution of private health insurance owners between the genders though women tend to take up a slightly higher share of the market.

More Australian women had general or extras cover than men as of 31 December 2018, with 6,368,299 women holding hospital cover compared to 5,928,058 men. This difference was similar in those who had taken out hospital cover.

The general national trend of more women taking out health insurance than men is also reflected in Tasmania. As of 31 December 2018, 119,603 women had hospital cover compared to 108,230 men, and 130, 184 women had extras cover compared to 116,371 men.


What types of cover can I get in Tasmania?

  • Hospital cover: this type of insurance helps to cover accommodation and medical costs involved in hospital treatment, whether you are in a private or public hospital. You can tailor your cover to ensure you get your own private room, your own doctor of choice, more flexibility with time of admission and a range of other attractive benefits.
  • Extras cover: this type of insurance helps to cover the cost of additional expenses incurred within the medical system throughout your life. Think about all the fees involved in dentistry, optometry, chiropractic care, physiotherapy, podiatry and other health modalities – they can add up and cause dents in your savings – particularly if you’re active, prone to regular injuries or at any stage you’re in need of more major services, like a root canal procedure, for example. This is a popular health insurance option, as in most cases you’re able to select the specific ‘extras’ you’re covered for. Extra cover is therefore typically flexible and adaptable to your specific concerns.
  • Ambulance cover: this type of insurance covers payments for ambulance transport. The average cost of an ambulance in many states is over $1000, and many Australians are left out of pocket in such unexpected circumstances. Luckily, ambulance services are free for Tasmanian residents. The only other state in Australia that offers this service at no charge is Queensland. Tasmania has informal reciprocal agreements in place with all states except for South Australia and Queensland, so you may need ambulance cover when traveling interstate.

What are the top performing funds in Tasmania – then and now?

Medicare and Bupa are the most popular health funds in Tasmania, but many residents prefer St. Luke’s due to its not-for-profit status, its popularity among Tasmanian citizens since the 1950’s and the fact that it’s based in Tasmania.

Here’s a general overview from the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman of which other companies Tasmania’s residents are trusting with their health insurance needs:

Funds with the largest market share in Tasmania
This is how the 2012 market share compares:

What a difference!

It’s clear from looking at the two charts that over the years, the health insurance market in Tasmania has become a lot more crowded and competitive.

This may seem overwhelming in the beginning of your health insurance journey, but it can be great for customers as rising competition between companies can often mean better deals and lower prices.

How to find cover that’s right for you

Like other personal insurances, health cover can be customised. This means no one size fits all, and that you’re able to select a policy suited to your specific needs. Consider the following factors when comparing health cover:

  • What stage you’re at in life (age, income bracket, medical history and financial ability)
  • Whether you have any other safety nets in place should unexpected health events occur
  • How much you’re willing to pay per year to secure a comprehensive health benefit for you and / or your family
  • How important healthcare choices are to you throughout your lifetime

If you’re a resident of Tasmania and wanting to compare policies based on your personal situation, use our comparison tool to get your quote on health cover from some of Australia’s leading insurers.


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