Finding the best health insurance
There’s no single health insurance that’s best for everyone as all our needs are different – and what’s best for you might not be best for someone else.
Finder Pick: Most popular health fund – Medibank
We chose Medibank as the most popular fund because:
- It was the most visited Finder partner on our site between March 2020 and March 2021.
- It had the highest percentage of members of all Aussie funds, according to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s State of the Health Funds Report.
Furthermore, Medibank offers wide ranging policies and a comparatively high standard of out-of-hospital services. For example, it has excellent phone support. Plus, score discounts of up to 25% on shopping with the likes of Fitbit and Motherworld.
Read more about Medibank health cover.
Top pick for waiting periods – ahm lifestyle extras
We settled on ahm lifestyle extras as the best for waiting periods because:
- It lets you claim heaps of benefits from day one
- General dental, optical and physiotherapy are all included
- We couldn’t find another policy this generous for common treatments.
- What’s more, ahm Lifestyle Extras is affordable at around $12 a week.
‘To make our top pick, we looked at the extras policies of every non-restricted health fund in Australia to compare waiting periods for “extras only” options.’
Find out more about ahm’s range of health insurance plans.
Top pick for Medicare Levy Surcharge – Frank’s Entry Hospital (Basic+)
Hoping to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge in the future? We chose Frank’s Entry Hospital (Basic+) because:
- It’s about $15 a month less than the cost of the levy itself
- You’ll get hospital cover with an excess of $750
- Enjoy cover for some of the basics like tonsils, grommets and dental surgery.
Frank’s Entry Hospital (Basic+) policy is one of the cheapest hospital cover plans available in 2021. It costs around $75 a month for a single policy based in NSW.
Discover this and more private health options with Frank.
We selected St.LukesHealth as our choice for extras because:
- It gives you the most money back across 8 common treatments – including dental, physio and optical
- St.LukesHealth also came out top for the percentage of extras charges covered across every state.
Our research was based on the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s State of the Health Funds Report for 2020. We reviewed each fund by general treatment (extras) and excluded restricted funds and corporate policies. St.Lukes came out a clear winner.
Read more about St.LukesHealth cover.
Top pick for not for profit – HCF
We chose HCF as our top not-for-profit provider because:
- It consistently pays out more in benefits than the industry average, according to APRA figures
- HCF’s policies often give you more than the minimum hospital tier requirements – its bronze plus policy covers 26 treatments while its silver plus includes 30.
Finder’s health insurance engine algorithm picked HCF ahead of 10 other not-for-profit health funds in Australia.
Read our full review on HCF.
The tool below lets you compare health insurance policies side-by-side – just enter your details, choose the level of cover you’d like, then click search policies.
Once you have your quotes, you can then refine your search so it’s tailored to your specific needs. Just tick the benefits (such as pregnancy or dental) that are most important to you, and we’ll show you policies that match.
Here is a list of the health funds you can review and/or compare on Finder:
No health fund is perfect for everyone – some focus on specific regions, some are only open to particular groups, and some operate for a profit, while others don’t.
However, there are a few important points to consider when choosing your health fund – including how partner networks operate, how excesses and waiting times are applied, and what out of pocket costs you should expect.
- Partner networks: Health funds partner with various medical professionals and service providers, so you can choose who performs your knee replacement or which dentist does your root canal. However, if your preferred service provider isn’t in your health fund’s partner network, you might not be able to claim as much money back.
- Excesses: You may have to pay an excess if you’re admitted to hospital and opt for private treatment – but the amount will vary depending on your health fund and specific policy.
- Wait times: Health funds often apply wait times on certain procedures – this means if you buy a policy today, you might not be able to make a claim for a certain treatment until months – or even years – later.
- Out of pocket costs: Health insurance doesn’t always cover all of the costs associated with an illness or injury – usually, you’ll only be paid a percentage of the final bill, up to a certain limit.
- Best for rural: If you live rurally or regionally, it’s worth finding out how a health fund will make its benefits worthwhile to you. Some health funds are focussed on specific regions – like HBF, which services Western Australia.
Others, including HCF, offer travel and accommodation benefits while some, such as Bupa and Medibank, are rolling out online health services and live video conferencing with medical professionals.
Private hospital cover is available in four different tiers – basic, bronze, silver, and gold – which provide increasingly comprehensive cover as you ascend through the levels.
However, this doesn’t mean that all gold policies will be the same – features still vary between different policies, so it’s important to compare before you buy.
Best Gold health insurance
- Winner: Bupa Gold Hospital $500 excess
- Finalist: HCF Gold Hospital $500 excess
- Finalist: Phoenix Health Fund Gold Complete $500 excess
Best Silver health insurance
- Winner: Bupa Mid Hospital $500 Excess – Silver Plus
- Finalist: CUA Standard Hospital Silver Plus $500 Excess
- Finalist: NIB Silver Hospital $500 excess
Best Bronze health insurance
- Winner: Health.com.au Base Hospital (Bronze +) $500 excess
- Finalist: HBF Health Limited Bronze Hospital Plus $500 excess
- Finalist: HCF Hospital Bronze Pus $500 Excess
You can choose health insurance which matches the needs of you and your family – whether you’re just in the planning stage, you’ve already got children, or you’re wrangling unruly teenagers. Make sure to look out for some key features which might be particularly useful:
- Pre-pregnancy – If you’re hoping to start a family in the near future, it may be worth investing in a gold-level policy, so you can get money back for fertility treatments as well as pre and post-natal care. Keep in mind if you want private hospital care for your baby, there may be a waiting period – usually at least 12 months – between when you took your policy out and when you can claim.
- Children – Find child-friendly health insurance by looking for policies that offer cover for your kids at little or no extra cost. Some policies will waive the hospital excess if your child is admitted to hospital, while it’s also worth checking for no-gap dental benefits.
- Teenagers – Most health insurers will cover dependent children up to the age of 18, but if you think your kid would benefit from the support for a little longer, you can choose a health fund which lets you extend the age limit to for children up to age 25 – providing they’re still a full-time student and remain unmarried.
Extras cover is designed to help with the cost of non-hospital healthcare – so things like dental treatments, prescription glasses, and physiotherapy are usually included. Emergency ambulance transport can also fall under extras, along with psychology consultations.
There are some important factors to consider when choosing which extras cover is best for you.
- Inclusions – Not all extras are created equal. You may find two policies which are similar in price but have different inclusions.
For example, nib’s Core and Family Extras policy doesn’t include psychology treatments but Medibank’s Top Extras 55 policy will pay out $200 towards psychology treatments.
- Waiting periods – Health insurers enforce waiting periods on certain treatments – but every provider applies waiting periods differently.
For example, ahm’s Lifestyle Extras cover has no waiting period on optical or routine dental. However, CUA’s Classic Extras cover – which costs a similar amount – comes with a six-month wait period for optical and a two-month wait for routine dental.
- Limit amount – There’ll also be a limit to the amount you can claim for each specific treatment – again, this will vary between different health insurance policies. Medibank’s Growing Family 60 cover has a $300 limit for physiotherapy, while CUA’s 60% Extras cover has a $500 limit.
- Costs covered – Extras cover won’t always pay the whole cost of a treatment – instead, it will cover a percentage of the final bill. The table below shows the average percentage of costs covered by different health funds.
The below table shows the average amount of costs covered by service:
 For some funds, the data does not take account of discounts at some providers or fund Dental / Optical centres.
Check the deals below before buying health insurance and you could save money on your premium – or get a reward for signing up.
Get 1 month free. PLUS any 2 & 6 month waits on extras waived
Offer applies for new joins on hospital and extras after the first 60 days by May 31. T&Cs apply.
Last verified 3 May 2021
Coupon code ends 31 May 2021
Get 6 weeks free. PLUS any 2 & 6 month waits on extras waived
Offer applies on eligible combined hospital & extras cover by 30 June. New members only. T&C’s apply.
Last verified 3 May 2021
Coupon code ends 1 Jul 2021
Get up to $500 e-gift card
Offer applies when joining hospital + extras cover by 30 June 2021. New members only. T&C’s apply.
Last verified 11 May 2021
Get 6 weeks free + Waive 2 & 6 months waiting periods
Join hospital only or combined hospital & extras cover by 30th June 2021 for new members.
Last verified 3 May 2021
Coupon code ends 30 Jun 2021
Get $100 gift card + 10% off on extras premium (with combined cover)
Join hospital only or combined hospital & extras cover for new members. T&Cs apply.
Last verified 3 May 2021
Get up to 130,000 Qantas Points
Earn up to 130,000 points on top policies, all policies earn Qantas Points. Offer applies for new joins only until May 24, 2021. T&Cs apply.
Last verified 8 May 2021
HCF members can get loyalty rewards and discounts across Australian stores
Health fund members can claim 10% off Rebel gift cards, 4% off Woolworths e-gift cards & more.
Last verified 3 May 2021
- Pay your premium in advance to avoid the administration fees associated with monthly payments.
- Opting to pay annually via direct debit can get you a discount with some health funds.
- Pay an excess or co-payment to lower your premium in exchange for paying a lump or daily sum if you go to hospital.
- Join a restricted membership fund if you are eligible, as the premiums are usually lower and benefits to members higher.
- Mix and match your hospital and extras cover, as two different funds may have the best* offers on each.
- If insuring your family, check how long your children can stay covered under your policy.
- To avoid paying a gap, make sure your preferred doctor and hospital both have agreements with your health fund.
Picture: Philipe cavalcant, Rawpixel, Kyle Loftus, Andrew Neel – Unsplash
*Disclaimer: The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don’t interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We’re happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we’d like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.