Most expensive health insurance policies revealed

Australia’s most expensive health insurance policies have been revealed and given annual increases are set to take effect, it pays to make sure you’re not wasting your money on overpriced cover.

Consumer group CHOICE has named the most expensive standard ‘Gold’ policies in each state and territory, and the results may surprise you.

In just about every state, the most expensive policy was from one of three major insurers – nib, HCF and HBF. The analysis was conducted on annual premiums for Gold Hospital cover for a single person (no extras), with no government rebate, a $750 excess and rounded to the nearest $10.

The results were:

  • ACT/NSW – nib Suncorp Gold Hospital, $3570 per year
  • QLD – HBF Gold Hospital Elevate, $3840 per year
  • SA – HCF Premium Gold, $3200 per year
  • TAS – HCF Premium Gold, $3440 per year
  • VIC – nib Suncorp Gold Hospital, $3900 per year
  • WA – HBF Gold Hospital Elevate, $3360 per year
  • NT – Mildura Five Star Gold F4A, $2540 per year

CHOICE health insurance expert Uta Mihm says consumers can often get a better deal by looking outside the major players.

“A great tip to save money on health insurance is to look beyond the well-known funds that spend lots on advertising, and consider smaller insurers that are often not-for-profit,” she says.

Some health insurance premiums are increasing from 1 April. If you’ve been unwittingly holding one of these policies, now may the time to look around to see if you can find a better deal.

Ms Mihm says that while some of the smaller funds will increase their prices, several of the bigger funds will wait until later in the year.

“This means if you want to switch to the best policy, now’s the time so you can pre-pay and avoid the premium increase,” she says.

Andrew Davis, CEO of comparison website Compare Club, says it’s important to regularly compare your policy against others to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

“It’s worth taking a look every few years and also at times when something significant changes in your health or financial position,” he says.

“Savings could be in excess of $500 per annum in premiums, plus hundreds in value from lower gaps on extras like dentistry/optical/podiatry, plus peace of mind knowing you are covered for what you need to be covered for.”

Mr Davis says you can really benefit from speaking to an insurance expert, as insurance is a complex area.

“I would have a think about what is really important to me,” he says.

“I would then talk to an expert who is able to help me to form a firm view on what is most important. She/he should then be able to recommend a policy, and assuming it is better, facilitate a transfer.”

Also read: Why is there a Waiting Period for Health Insurance?

Are your health insurance premiums increasing from 1 April? When was the last time you reviewed your health insurance? Let us know in the comments section below.

YourLifeChoices is owned by Compare Club.

Written by Brad Lockyer

Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


Leave a Reply
  1. Health insurance could be cheaper, more attractive to existing and potential customers and far less confusing to compare and buy.. The solution would be to offer health insurance based on stages of life.
    I have just been through the process of trying to find lower cost cover than my existing ‘gold’. I am Uni trained in law so I have little problem reading documents but it took me the best part of two days to fully assess options and decide but I ended up staying put.
    To get some of the benefits I wanted such as no excess for day surgery I needed to accept gynological and pregnancy services. For a male in my seventies this is paying for insurances for the damned ridiculous. So we are all paying for ‘stacked’ cover we don’t need just to access cover we prefer.
    Offering three life stages; young adult, middle aged, and senior and then silver and gold within each level would make it easier to compare and provide more appropriate and economical cover.

    • I originally took out top of the range cover with BUPA as a male when the penalty for not being in a health fund was introduced in about 1999 or 2000. I had no co-payment or no excess on the policy. I needed so more complex removal of wisdom teeth by an oral-maxo surgeon that was done in a day hospital under anaesthetic. My normal dentist who was highly qualified to do the procedure in the chair with normal straight forward extractions but this procedure was more complex and referred me to the specialist. A check with BUPA revealed that they would not consider a rebate under the major dental category as they maintained that the procedure could be done in the dental surgery in the chair. So I changed to NIB high level cover who accepted the procedure as major dental and paid a significant rebate of the cost.
      Now I had low iron levels and required a double iron infusion. The specialist who had done an upper endoscopy and then a capsule endoscopy procedure found what may have been an internal bleed that he thought was difficult or impossible to access to undertake surgery to fix. As I had other health issues, the specialist recommended that the double iron infusion be undertaken in the hospital as a day procedure rather than in a less equipped doctors surgery in case I had some adverse reactions. NIB refused to pay my claim even though the specialist provided a report stating that the procedure needed to be done in a hospital with a dedicated infusion facility and emergency equipment in case I had adverse reactions. I heard later from the hospital that NIB have never paid a rebate. Later I was told that the procedure using item 14245 must last more than two hours to claim the rebate and there is only one item number approved for the procedure. The matter is now with the Ombudsman for mediation after NIB again refused to pay the claim.
      I agree shopping around is time consuming and complex. I have tried but comparing like for like is difficult as some policies do not cover the things I use on my existing NIB policy. However as a male, I have cover for things I cannot use like Ante natal and post natal benefit. I also have cover for home nursing, natural therapies, occupational therapy (I am retired and do not do paid work), psychology and speech therapy. Maybe some of these could be used in later life since I am 72.
      I want to change health funds. I currently pay $139.77 a fortnight for single cover. This will increase in April. I do not want to ditch health insurance as I age and have more need for it but I do want to try and find a cheaper policy that covers the things I need to use but comparing funds with like for like cover is a nightmare and time consuming.

      • Going by the fortnightly cover you mentioned, your annual premium is almost $3,640.00. I am on top medical and extras through Medibank, and pay $3,000.00 per annum. However I have been on private health for a long time and have no loadings. Some of their extras leave a bit to be desired, but they all have their faults

    • Agree with your suggestion for offering life stages.
      We found some services to specialists were not covered unless you were admitted to hospital so had to pay out less Medicare rebate which adds up for pensioners.So confusing for the average person.

    • Hi Cosmo,
      I agree you need a degree to filter your way through the small print of health, actually any, insurance policies.
      My husband and I have had private health all our lives, from 1997 in Australia, we we have been paid out the equivalent of 2 years’ premiums over this time. I have tried to find a policy that is specifically targeted to Seniors. Our existing one allows us to have babies if we want to be covered for knee/hip replacements or heart conditions. We have to have top extras to get a pittance towards hearing aids. We only claim: eye, dental, Osteo, and that generally preventative. At $4,882 per year I spent 2 days looking for cheaper and could save $30 a month for less cover at the best alternative. So I too will stay with the devil I know.

Leave a Reply

Older person signing documents

How to choose a legal decision maker

common cleaning products

Parkinson’s danger in common cleaning products