HIF Health Insurance Fund of Australia Review

hif health insurance fund of australia review

Who Are HIF? 

Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) are a not-for-profit health fund. They were founded all the way back in 1954 when they began life as the “Western Australian Government Railways Employees Hospital and Medical Benefits Fund Inc”.

HIF rebranded to be called the Health Insurance Fund of WA in 1978 and finally settled on Health Insurance Fund of Australia in 2010, to represent their nationwide level of coverage.

Today HIF have agreements with over 92% of Australia’s private hospitals and day hospitals nationwide and have won countless Canstar Awards for their “Outstanding Value”.

5 Reasons to Choose HIF

#1 More Money Back

On average 91.3% of premiums paid are returned to members as benefits with HIF. The industry average is 85.8%.

#2 More Choice of Hospitals

HIF has agreements with 92% of Australias private hospitals and day hospitals. 

#3 Better Gap Cover

HIF outperform the industry average for covering more Medical Services with No or Known Gaps in most states across Australia.

#4 Award Winning Cover

HIF currently hold three Canstar Awards for Outsounding Value Hospital Cover. 

#5 No-Excess Day Surgery

HIF waive the excess on day surgery on all of their top cover options! 

HIF Hospital Cover 

It has been no surprise to Health Deal that HIF has won multiple awards from Canstar for their Outstanding Value on Hospital Cover for the past 3 years running. HIF not only consistently price their policies to be some of the most competitive in the country, but they also offer exceptional value too.

For example, there aren’t too many basic health insurance plans which provide private hospital cover for spinal surgery and renal dialysis, but HIF Goldstarter covers these both!

It’s not just on the basic level where HIF excels. HIF Gold Hospital and Goldstar Hospital both come with No-Excess for same day surgery, which is fantastic if you have regular colonoscopies or other day-surgeries.

HIF Gold Hospital

This is an award-winning hospital cover. HIF Gold Hospital offers exceptional value for money in most states. This is a top cover, so you’re covered for all procedures with a Medicare Item Number.

Shared room in a private hospital – all stays (with optional upgrade to a private room)

No Excess on Day Surgery 

Accidental Injuries

 Surgical removal of wisdom teeth in hospital

 Brain surgery

Back Surgery 

Joint reconstruction

Renal Dialysis 

Cancer Related Services

All other medical services not listed as an exclusion.

✔ Non-Cosmetic Eye Surgery

✔ Pregnancy & Birth-Related Services

Assisted Reproductive Services

✔ Heart Procedures

Joint Replacements

✔ Obesity-Related Services

In-hospital rehabilitation

Psychiatric care and treatment

Palliative care

Private Room 

Procedures where Medicare pays no benefit

View pdf 


HIF Gold Star Hospital

If having a private room is important to you, then look no further than HIF Gold Star Hosptal. Gold Star Hospital is identical to HIF Gold Hospital, except for the fact that you will not be charged a daily co-payment if you want a private room, as this is HIF’s private room cover option.

Private room – all stays

No Excess on Day Surgery 

Accidental Injuries

 Surgical removal of wisdom teeth in hospital

 Brain surgery

Back Surgery 

Joint reconstruction

Renal Dialysis 

Cancer Related Services

All other medical services not listed as an exclusion.

✔ Non-Cosmetic Eye Surgery

✔ Pregnancy & Birth-Related Services

Assisted Reproductive Services

✔ Heart Procedures

Joint Replacements

✔ Obesity-Related Services

In-hospital rehabilitation

Psychiatric care and treatment

Palliative care

Procedures where Medicare pays no benefit

View pdf 


HIF Extras 

One of the great things about HIF Extras are their generous limits. Not only does HIF Extras give you large limits straight away, but HIF will also actually increase your limits on certain extras every single year for up to 5 years!

This is down to HIF being a not for profit health fund. HIF state that “Unlike many Australian health funds, we do not have shareholders. Moreover, cash dividends are not paid directly to our fund members. Instead, we return any surpluses to our members in the form of lower premiums, increased rebates and new benefits and services. This is our way of rewarding our loyal members.”

✔ $1,000 Dental (Limit increases over time)

$450 Physio (Combined with other therapies)

$140 Optical (Limit increases over time)

 $75 Healthy Lifestyle

 Emergency Ambulance

Plus More!

Medical Appliances

View pdf 


✔ $1,300 Dental (Limit increases over time)

$900 Physio (Combined with other therapies)

$260 Optical (Limit increases over time)

$550 Chiro (Limit increases over time)

 $100 Healthy Lifestyle

 $740 Psychology

 $1,500 Medical Appliances

 Emergency Ambulance

Plus Much More!

View pdf 


✔ $1,500 Dental (Limit increases over time – up to $3,000!)

$1,200 Physio (Combined with other therapies – Limit increases up to $1,500!)

$280 Optical (Limit increases over time – up to $350!)

$650 Chiro (Limit increases over time – up to $750!)

 $125 Healthy Lifestyle

 $1,000 Psychology

 $1,500 Medical Appliances

 Emergency Ambulance

Plus Much More!

View pdf 


HIF Dental

One of the most important aspects of any extras policy is dental coverage. That’s why HIF created Smart Teeth. The premise is quite simple, HIF aims to pay more for the dental services that people regularly use.

Below is a table of the dental rebates for some selected dental services. As you can see for a yearly check-up, clean & flouride (12, 114 & 121) HIF would rebate back up to $191.50 on your first visit and $153.20 on subsequent visits.

These high rebates are perfect for people who want to choose their own dentist and not be limited to dentists who have proffered provider status with certain health funds. 

Full a full breakdown of Smart teeth click here

hif dental extras smart teeth
Item Name Item Number Visit/Service Premium, Super, Special & Saver Options Rebate
Comprehensive Oral Examination 11 First visit $59.25
Subsequent visits $47.40
Periodic Oral Examination 12 First visit $52.75
Subsequent visits $42.20
Removal of Plaque and/or Stain 111 First visit $61.50
Subsequent visits $49.20
Removal of Calculus 114 First visit $107.15
Subsequent visits $85.70
Topical Application of Remineralising Agent 121 First visit $31.60
Subsequent visits $25.30

HIF Health Insurance Fund of Australia Comparison

Health Deal has partnered with HIF since 2015 and we’re proud to have such an illustrious health fund on our panel. If you want to compare your existing HIF health insurance plan against a range of funds, or you’re wanting to inquire about one of the HIF health insurance plans discussed on this page, then let us give you a call and we’ll discuss your options.

Health Deal represents a range of health funds, and it’s our job to find you a better deal, either with or without HIF.

HCF Health Insurance Overview

hcf health insurance

Who are HCF?

HCF are the largest not-for-profit health fund in Australia, as well as being 3rd largest overall. Originally called the Metropolitan Hospitals Fund, HCF traces it’s rich history all the way back to 1932. 

Today HCF have more than 1.5 million members and have paid out more than $2 billion dollars in hospital and extras claims each year for the past 5 financial years in a row. 

Why Choose HCF?

There are a myriad of reasons why 1.5 million Australians have entrusted HCF to provide their health insurance. For starters, HCF pays more than the industry average for hospital admissions. According to the the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, HCF covers more medical procedures with No-Gap than the industry average across every single state and territory in the country. 

HCF extras also offer excellent value for money. With thousands of dentists across the country, HCF offer their members no-gap dental check-ups on selected plans. Continue reading to learn all about HCF extras and their rebates.

Five Reasons to Choose HCF?

#1 Better Gap Cover

HCF covers more medical procedures with No-Gap than the industry average across most states in the country. 

#2 HCF Extras

Last financial year HCF paid $517,000,000 in extras claims

#3 HCF Dental

HCF have recruited thousands of dentists across the country in their More for Teeth programme, offering customers no-gap check-ups on selected policies. 

#4 Better Customer Service

More than 1 million phone calls were answered by HCF’s customer service team last year. 

#5 Not-For-Profit

On average, over the last 5 years HCF have paid out more cents in every dollar in premiums to members as benefits, than the industry average. 

HCF Hospital Gap Cover

You can never know with 100% certainty that you’ll never have an out-of-pocket expense when switching to a new health fund. This is because doctors are under no legal obligation to participate in a health funds gap cover arrangement. 

What you can do though is compare a health fund’s no-gap performance against the industry average and see where they rank in comparison to other funds. HCF members enjoy more medical services with no-gaps than the industry average in most states across the country.

So we can’t promise you’ll never have a gap with HCF, but we can say the likelihood of you having one could be less if you switched.  

HCF Health Insurance Comparison

Health Deal has partnered with HCF since 2015 and we’re proud to have such an illustrious health fund on our panel. If you want to compare your existing HCF health insurance plan against a range of funds, or you’re wanting to inquire about one of the HCF health insurance plans discussed on this page, then let us give you a call and we’ll discuss your options.

Health Deal represents a range of health funds, and it’s our job to find you a better deal, either with or without HCF.



Single Parent Health Insurance

single parent health cover

Single Parent Health Cover: Health Insurance Tips For Finding A Better Policy

(6 Minute Read)

Paying for single parent health cover is probably one of the biggest expenses you pay for each month besides your mortgage/rent. The cost of health cover has risen dramatically over the past 8 years, by a whopping 42% on average! On top of rising prices, you also have a significant amount of miss-information spreading throughout the internet surrounding heath cover as well, making single parents more weary about finding a better deal.

We’ve written this article to give you some basic advice surrounding single parent health cover, and to put your mind at ease in regards to finding you & your kids a better deal.

Topics discussed:

  • Staying on your ex-partners cover
  • Leaving your ex-partners cover
  • Best single parent health cover
  • Hospital cover & wait periods
  • Extras cover
  • Where should I compare?

Staying On Your Ex-Partners Health Cover

Can I stay on my ex-partners health insurance plan? Is one of the most commonly asked questions when thinking about health cover after a separation or divorce. The short answer to this is, it depends.

Bupa for example are quite explicit in their fund rules and state “If you are insured under a couples or family policy and you and your partner become divorced or separated, you will no longer be eligible to remain insured under a policy together and it is your responsibility to ensure that each person takes out their own policy.”

However, some health funds which will let you all still stay on the same policy. This is because there is no legislation surrounding this specific issue, so it comes down to a health fund by health fund basis.

So our advice would be to ring up your existing health fund and check. You don’t want to be in a situation where your health fund refuses to pay out on a hospital claim due to your new marital status. However, staying on the old family policy will more often than not, work out cheaper for you, so it’s worth asking the question.

Leaving Your Ex-Partners Health Cover

If you & your ex-partner split cover, you need to make sure you take up a new policy within 30 days generally. Most health funds will allow a 30 day gap in coverage before making you re-serve wait periods. There are some health funds, like nib, who will extend this to 59 days. However the majority of the health funds restrict this to 30.

So, if you’re going to continue having health cover after you split, make sure you take up a new policy within 30 days if you leave your ex’s plan. We’ve heard enough stories first-hand about ex-partners removing people from their plans without them knowing and then having to re-serve all their wait periods.

If you & your ex-partner both take out new policies. Be aware that your children do not have to be covered by both of you, one adult can take out a single policy and the other a single parent policy.

single parent health

Best Single Parent Health Cover

If you only take away one idea about private health insurance away from this article, then it should be this. There is no such thing as the “best single parent health cover”, nor does “the best health fund” exist.

Just because your friend, co-worker or even an online reviewer such as Choice or Canstar recommends a health  policy, the chances are that it will not be best suited to you. Why? Because your identity is not a “single parent”, you are a unique individual with unique children, who all have a different set of needs and requirements from the next family.

Below we’ll discuss what you should be looking out for when choosing health cover policy.

Wait Periods

The first thing you need to know about hospital cover is how wait periods work. If you switch cover to a new health fund, or change cover with your current health fund, you will not, I repeat, will not, re-serve any wait period which you have already served; even if it is a pre-existing condition.

Hospital wait periods will only apply to you if you fall under either of these two categories.

1) You’re new to cover

2) You are upgrading a service you previously were not covered for

For example, say you have a basic level of cover now, and you upgrade to a policy which now covers you for heart surgery. You would gain access to all the thousands of procedures you used to be covered for from day 1, you would just have to serve a wait period of the services you were not covered for, ie heart surgery.

The wait periods on hospital cover are:

  • 2 Months New Conditions
  • 12 Months Pre-Existing Conditions
  • 2 Months in-hospital rehabilitation, palliative care & in-hospital psychiatry
  • 12 Months Pregnancy & IVF

Hospital Cover & Wait Periods

Knowing the standard waiting periods are useful as it allows you plan out your health policy in 3 year blocks. What we suggest is to have a think about the types of surgeries your family could plausibly have over a 3 year period and remove items from your plan which you think have an exceptionally low chance of occurring.

For example, if you’re done with having children, you may wish to remove pregnancy & IVF from your policy. Similarly, if you think that the likely hood of anyone in the family needing a full knee replacement would be slim to none within the next 3 years, you could remove that.

Remember, most basic hospital covers will cover you & your family for all procedures with a medicare item number, except for a small list of exclusions. However, if you’re ever on the fence about a procedure being covered or not, we reckon it’s better to be safe than sorry.

single parent braces

Extras Cover

Extras cover can be a great way to really gain benefit from your heath fund. Firstly, let’s assess whether all of you actually need it. Did you know you can take out a hospital policy for you & your children, and then an extras policy just for you? You can even do this with different health funds!

Now if you have teenagers or tweens going to the dentist each year then we would recommend you all stay on the same extras plan. But, if your eldest child is below the age of 3 and regular visits to the dentist are not a thing right now, it might work out financially beneficial to you to just cover yourself for extras. (Note if you do this, double check your hospital policy covers you for emergency ambulance)

Now if your kids are at the age where they will use extras you really want to maximise your benefits and make sure you get the best return for your dollar. Things you should consider when picking an extras policy:

  • Can I get gap-free dental check-ups for myself & my children?
  • Do I need to have braces covered at this stage?
  • Do we actually use other services like chiro or massage?
  • How often do we use these services?

Maximise Your Extras

With children who need regular visits to services like speech therapy or psychology, an extras plan can pay for itself and then some. For example, HIF’s Premium Options allows up to $1,000 per year on psychology claims and $1,200 per on speech therapy. Having massive limits are great for families with recurring visits.

However, having large limits are not great for families who only use extras services a few times a year, in that case you want to look for a plan which gives you a higher rebate (a higher claim each time). The best advice we can give you on how to choose an extras plan is to think of it like this, you are paying a certain amount of money each year to have a specific extras plan, you need to make sure that you’re confident you will earn more in claims, than you would paying insurance premiums.

If you’re not claiming more money than it costs you to have the plan, then you would financially be better off having no extras plan at all. We speak to so many people who have top extras, paying an extraordinary amount of money each year, but they only claim on the dentist once or twice a year and occasionally a little bit of physio. These people can often save a fortune when they switch to a plan which is more tailored to their needs.

compare single parent health cover

Where Should I Compare Health Cover?

There are lots of places you can compare your single parent health cover, if you want to use a broker, you have options like Health Deal, Iselect, Compare The Market & a few more. If you want to see every single health fund, the health insurance ombudsman has a useful website called privatehealth.gov.au which you can use to look at policies. Using a broker can be advantageous though, as even though no broker represents every single health fund, they still do offer a range of health funds.

Speaking to a consultant at Health Deal for example, can be brilliant because we go through what we call a “needs analysis” to really delve into how you use your policy and assess whether you’re actually getting value from your health cover or not.

If you’re better off staying with your current fund we’ll tell you to stay put, but we always try to not only lower your premium, but to also increase your benefits on the things you use as well.

Compare Health Cover Now


Invisalign and Health Insurance

Invisalign health insurance

Invisalign & Health Insurance: What You Need To Know 

(5 Minute Read)

You’re probably reading this because you’re thinking about getting Invisalign but are unsure about how it all works. That’s why Health Deal has compiled this article to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

We’ll explain how Invisalign works, what sort of cost you can be looking at for Invisalign treatment, as well as important information around how it all works with private health insurance and what you can expect to claim back.

What is Invisalign?

Firstly, Invisalign is not actually a dental procedure but is, in fact, a company. Invisalign has become synonymous with clear aligners because they are by far the biggest player in the clear aligner industry (like saying Google instead of saying search engine or Hoover instead of vacuum cleaner).

Invisalign is a convenient alternative to traditional braces. They are clear aligners that fit over your teeth, which over time will straighten your teeth, leaving you with that smile you always wanted. They are brilliant for people who want to have their teeth re-aligned but don’t want the metal train track look from braces. Unlike traditional braces, you can also take them off whenever you want!

How does Invisalign work?

The Invisalign process all starts off in the dentist chair. Your dental practitioner will take a physical impression or a digital scan of your teeth. This scan will be used to help create a digital 3D impression of your mouth, which will be used to create an individual treatment plan for you. Once you’re happy with the plan, your 3D impressions will be sent across to Invisalign to begin the process of making your aligners!

The number of aligners you need will be dependant on the length of your treatment plan. The length of your treatment plan will vary on the amount of work you need doing. Invisalign themselves say that the average length is around 12 months – 18 months for an adult, but again it really is dependant on your individual work, so don’t be alarmed if your treatment plan is up to 2 years.

Once you have your aligners, you’ll need to wear them for around 22 hours a day to receive maximum benefit. You should take them out only to eat, drink & brush your teeth. You will also need to replace your aligners every 2 weeks. When you leave your orthodontists, you’ll be given a series of aligners to wear, it is the gradual replacement of these aligners that slowly alter the arrangement of your teeth. It is recommended that you visit your orthodontist every 6 -8 weeks, to make sure your Invisalign treatment is working correctly.


Invisalign Cost

The cost of Invisalign treatment will be dependant on a few different factors such as:

  •    How long your treatment plan lasts?
  •    How many aligners do you need?
  •    Do you need to have mid-treatment adjustments?

Australian Dentists Clinic estimate the average cost of Invisalign to be anywhere from $3,500 – $7,000. Some dental practices even put the estimates up as high as between $4,500 – $9,000. What is certain though, is that Invisalign is not cheap by any stretch. This is why most people have private health insurance to help them pay for a portion.

Invisalign & Private Health Insurance

You can claim a benefit on Invisalign through your private health insurance. Invisalign is orthodontic work, and as such, any claims you make for Invisalign will come off your orthodontic limit.

If don’t currently have coverage for orthodontics on your current extras plan, or you don’t have an extras policy at all, then you’ll need to wait 12 months before you’ll be eligible to make a claim for your Invisalign treatment. So, if its something you’re considering getting & you currently have no cover, it might be worth investing in an extras policy.

If you do have private health insurance which covers orthodontics, you should shop around and see which health fund will give you the best rebate for your price range. If you switch over to another policy that covers orthodontics, you will not need to re-serve your wait period.

Be aware though, if you switch to a plan which increases your orthodontic limit, you will need to wait 12 months before you can claim any of the additional benefit. For example, if you currently have an orthodontic limit of $1,000 and you switch to a plan with $1,500 for orthodontic treatment, you will gain access to the $1,000 straight away, but you will wait 12 months before you can claim the extra $500.

Listed below are some health funds which will cover you for Invisalign. We’ve also listed the individual policy names and important fund information you’ll need to be aware of if you decide to switch.

HIF Invisalign

HIF can offer fantastic limits on orthodontic & Invisalign treatment. However, they have a few fund rules which are different to the majority of other health funds, which you need to be aware of. Firstly, to quote HIF’s policy booklet “Orthodontic benefits are not payable by HIF if the treatment or service has commenced prior to joining HIF”. This means if you have already started orthodontic treatment, HIF will not pay out a single dollar on orthodontic treatment if you switch to them.

Secondly, your orthodontic lifetime limit will depend on how long you have been with HIF when you make your first claim. HIF’s orthodontic lifetime limits increase each year you stay on the plan, however, the year you claim is the year that your lifetime limit will come into effect. So for example, if you had Super Options for 3 years and you made an orthodontic claim, your orthodontic lifetime limit would be $1,700 (see table below).

HIF invisalign

nib Invisalign

If you want to claim a benefit on Invisalign through nib, you currently have two policy options; Top Extras & the Family Extras bolt on.

With Top Extras, the yearly limit starts at $800 per year, however, it does increase by $100 each year you remain on the policy until you reach $2,600. For example, if you switched to Top Extras, but you didn’t claim on Invisalign for 2 years, nib would actually pay $1,000 yearly instead of $800 yearly. This policy can be good if you have young children who won’t be claiming on orthodontic treatment for a number of years.

Family Extras is a bolt-on package with nib. Family Extras cannot be purchased as a stand-alone product. This means you must at least also purchase either Core Extras or Core Extras plus, alongside Family Extras.

nib invisalign

ahm Invisalign

ahm currently have 3 stand-alone extras policies which will cover a benefit for Invisalign; Lifestyle Extras, Family Extras, and Super Extras. The two things you need to know about ahm policies in relation to orthodontic/Invisalign claims are; ahm are a financial year fund & that your yearly limit increases with loyalty.

ahm run on a financial year, unlike most other health funds. This means that all your yearly limits re-set on July 1, as opposed to January 1 like most other health funds, for example, Bupa, Medibank, HIF, HCF etc. With this in mind, it means that you could claim for your upper teeth in June & your lower teeth in July, granting you the highest amount of claims in the shortest amount of time.

Like HIF, ahm will also reward you for your loyalty, by increasing your yearly limits on orthodontic treatment over time. The table below will show you how much they increase by.

ahm invisalign

HCF Invisalign

HCF currently have 2 extras policies which will cover you for Invisalign; Gold Extras and Platinum Extras. Unlike the previous health funds discussed in this article, there are no loyalty benefits over time with HCF when it comes to orthodontics.

Something you need to be aware of though, is that HCF will limit your claims if you get your orthodontic work done by a dentist and not an orthodontist. So if you do decide to switch with HCF, double check with the dental practice & HCF customer service team, that you’ll be able to claim your entire yearly limit, and not 50% of it.

hcf invisalign

Still need more info?

If you still need more information regarding Invisalign and private health insurance, speak to a Health Deal health cover consultant & they’ll be able to run you through all your different options and assess which health insurance policy is right for you.


hcf health insurance

HCF Health Insurance Overview

Who are HCF? HCF are the largest not-for-profit health fund in Australia, as well as being 3rd largest overall. Originally called the Metropolitan Hospitals Fund,

Read More »
Invisalign health insurance

Invisalign and Health Insurance

Invisalign & Health Insurance: What You Need To Know (5 Minute Read) You’re probably reading this because you’re thinking about getting Invisalign but are unsure

Read More »

Student Health Insurance: A Complete Guide

Student Health Insurance


Student Health Insurance:
A Complete Guide


Going to university can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. It is an opportunity to grow as a person, expand your world view and to make new friends & experiences that will last a lifetime.

With all the new changes that are going on in your life, health insurance is probably not one of your top priorities right now. But it is important to at least have some understanding of how it all works and more importantly, if you actually need it.

That’s why Health Deal has created this complete guide, which will cover all the basics for you in one easy to digest place.

For questions surrounding Overseas Student Health Insurance, we recommend you check out a great article by Canstar called “What Is OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover)”

compare single parent health cover


What is Health Insurance?

You’ve probably heard of some of the big health funds already like Medibank, Bupa and HCF, but what do they actually do? Well, health funds essentially offer two products, hospital cover and extras cover, which help cover the cost of various health services.

Thankfully, health insurance is heavily regulated in favour of consumers, and as such, health funds can not price-discriminate against you on a whole range of things like age, sexual orientation, race, religion and gender. They even can’t discriminate against you for pre-existing conditions or lifestyle choices! 

So, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a heap of pre-existing ailments, you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, enjoy extreme sports on the weekend or live a healthy plant-based lifestyle, you will end up paying the same base price as everyone else for the same policy!

Hospital Cover Explained

Hospital cover can cover you for hospital procedures at a private hospital, with a doctor of your choice. Even better than choosing your own doctor and hospital, is the fact that you will not be subject to the public hospital waiting lists when you require surgery.

Health funds will generally only cover you for procedures which are “medically necessary” and have a “Medicare Item Number” (a procedure that Medicare also covers). So basically, you can’t get stuff done which Medicare doesn’t cover.

If you are brand new to health insurance you will have to serve a “waiting period” before you can claim for a procedure. Waiting periods are designed so that you can’t simply join a health fund, claim, and then leave. If everyone did this, health insurers would be out of business. 

The waiting periods for hospital cover are as follows:

  • 2 Months for a new condition;
  • 12 Months for a pre-existing condition;
  • 2 Months for palliative care, rehabilitation and in-hospital psychiatry; and
  • 12 Months for pregnancy.

Once you have served the waiting periods on a procedure though, you won’t ever have to re-serve it again if you maintain cover.

Now if you’re unfortunate enough to ever need surgery, you need to make sure that you ask your doctor if s/he will participate in your health fund’s “gap cover”. If they say they will not, you could be looking at having some pretty nasty out-of-pocket expenses, which is not what you need whilst living on a student budget.

Gap Cover Tip! 

If your doctor says s/he will not participate in your health fund’s gap cover, then ask them if there are any health funds which they will participate with. You can switch your coverage to a new health fund straight away, and get the surgery done with your new health fund because when you switch, you do not re-serve any waiting periods, even for pre-existing conditions!

Just bear in mind, it can sometimes take around 10 working days for the heath funds to swap your transfer certificate across and be able to honour your claim. The other option you have, (if you’re not fussy about having a particular doctor), is to speak to your health fund before your procedure to find a doctor who will participate in their gap cover scheme. Of course, it depends on the situation and your preferences as a patient.

What is Extras Cover?

The other type of insurance health funds offer is what is known as “extras cover”. Extras cover will cover you for a whole range of ancillary health services, which you’ve probably used at some point in your life already. You can claim benefits on a whole range of things, such as:

  • Dental visits
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractors
  • Glasses
  • Remedial Massage
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology Visits
  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy

  • Gym memberships
  • Weight Loss Plans
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Hearing Aids
  • Medical Appliances
  • Non-PBS scripts
  • Ambulance Cover
  • And more!

ahm health cover

You can buy an extras policy on its own at a fraction of the cost of a hospital plan. Extras can be great for paying for expensive visits to the dentist and various other health services. But more importantly, if you’ve selected the right one for your needs, you can even claim more money back in benefits than what you’ve actually paid in premiums! 

For Example

Let’s say you’re a student earning (well) below $90,000 and living in Melbourne. You can buy an extras policy from AHM called Black 60 for approximately $351.30 for the year (as of April 2018 with the rebate applied). 

But you’d be able to claim 2 check-ups, cleans & fluoride treatments at Pacific Smiles in Melbourne worth about $380 in claims (2 x $190). On top of that though, you can claim $200 on a new pair of glasses, and 60% of the cost of a physio, chiro, osteo and even remedial massage. As you can see, you’ll be well ahead for the year and save yourself a couple hundred dollars by having this plan. It also gives you the added benefit of covering you for emergency ambulance transport!

Ambulance Transport

We really hope you’ll never need an ambulance during your time at university. But unfortunately, accidents can happen, and depending on where you go to university, you’ll need to be aware of each state’s emergency ambulance system. 

Each state has their own set of laws and rules regarding ambulance coverage. Some states have free ambulance coverage (Queensland / Tasmania), but others could leave you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars out of pocket if you don’t have coverage.  A comprehensive guide to ambulance rules can be found on the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman’s website, here.

Mental Health

Thankfully addressing mental health issues is not as taboo as it unfortunately once was. However, an alarming number of students still suffer from mental health issues in silence. In fact, Headspace (the National Youth Mental Health Foundation) has stated that “one of the largest national student surveys into the mental health of Australian students has revealed that close to 70 per cent of respondents rated their mental health as poor or fair. While two-thirds reported high or very high psychological distress over the past 12 months.” (full article here).

If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression or any other mental health issue, and you’re unsure where to look for help, Beyond Blue and Headspace are both excellent places to start if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your doctor just yet.

Heath insurance can play its role in combating mental health issues by covering you for services such as psychology visits and in-hospital psychiatry if you ever need it.

Sexual Health

At present you cannot claim for condoms or the pill on private health insurance. Fortunately though, if the budget is tight, and you still want to practise safe sex, you can often receive free condoms from various sexual health clinics across the country.

Can you stay on your parents’ plan?

Do your parents have health insurance already? The good news is, you can stay on your parents’ plan up to the age of 25. Even better, if you’re still in university up until the age of 25, it won’t cost them any more money in premiums to keep you on.

When you’ve graduated and no longer in full time education past the age of 21, you can still stay on your parents’ policy until the age of 25, but your parents’ premium will jump up by around 25% in what is known as “Adult Dependant” cover (so be extra nice to them!)

health insurance seniors

So, do I need health insurance?

If you currently don’t have health insurance and you’re unsure whether you need it or not, our advice is that it really depends. Health Deal is a health insurance comparator, so it’s in our interest that you buy a policy, but for students who are generally fit & healthy, it really comes down to personal preference.

If money is tight and you can’t afford a hospital policy, and if you’re happy being in the public system, then maybe a hospital policy isn’t right for you at this moment. On the other hand, if you’ve got a few health ailments, or you generally live a more accident prone / riskier life, then it might be something to consider to give you peace of mind. It should definitely be something that you talk about with either your parents and/or a family friend to make sure it’s right for you.

With that being said though…if you currently don’t have any health insurance, we do strongly suggest you weigh up the benefits of purchasing an extras only plan. Remember, extras policies are a fraction of the cost of hospital policies and will almost always cover you for emergency ambulance as well as dental and other services.

If you do decide to purchase an extras plan, don’t go buying the most expensive plan with the nicest sounding benefits. Instead, buy the plan you’re most confident you’ll claim the most return-on-investment from. Remember you’re paying $X amount for a plan, you want to make sure you claim that back and more in benefits, otherwise it would have been better to have just saved your money!



save health insurance

Where to shop for health insurance?

There are dozens of different health funds to choose from, all offering hundreds, if not thousands of different policy combinations. If you want to speak to a consultant, Health Deal represents a panel of different health funds, and we can guide you to a policy that’s the right fit for you at this time in your life. Simply enter your requirements here, and we’ll give you a quick call back and see how we can help.

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