Billy Explores can find the cheapest health insurance for a single person

What Makes for Cheap Health Insurance for a Single Person?

Just because you don’t have a family’s health to worry about, that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye to private health insurance. Private health cover is for all Australians – singles, couples, and families. There are so many different health insurers out there, so Billy Explores makes it easy to find cheap health insurance for a single person.

Furthermore, if you’ve never really thought much about private health insurance, you’re not the only one. But recent reforms make it far more attractive to purchase cover, especially if you’re under 30 and single.

To make it super easy, Billy Explores has put together this handy guide with everything you need to know about health insurance for single people. Read on to become an expert on private health insurance, and maybe you’ll be able to impress friends with your knowledge. But more importantly, you may save money!

Know the Cover You Need

Many Australians don’t understand the health coverage they have. They purchased health insurance because it seemed like one of those rites of passage, like getting a car and moving out of their parent’s house. Similarly, thousands of people are probably paying for things they don’t need. Likewise, they could be paying high rates without being covered for the things they really do need.

Understanding the different types of cover is key to getting the most out of your private health insurance. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re invincible either, because none of us are! Low-level cover is better than none, but you need to understand what your money is paying for. Certainly, each level of health cover protects you against certain situations. So, don’t pay health insurance premiums for years only to find you’re not covered for something when you need it.

Billy Explores doesn’t have a crystal ball, so he can’t tell you exactly what you might need in the future. What he can do though, is give you all the information you need to make an informed choice. Finally, he can even compare plans for you, to make sure you’re getting the cheapest health insurance for a single person!

Compare the Different Types of Health Insurance

Maybe you’ve heard about hospital cover and extras cover, but did you know there are different levels in both? Let’s take a quick look at each:

Hospital Cover

You’ve probably heard of hospital cover, but many people don’t understand exactly what it covers. In simple terms, hospital cover looks after the costs of being treated in a private hospital. Furthermore, this comes with it a range of benefits:

  • No waiting on lists for public hospital treatment
  • Options for a private room if included in your policy
  • The opportunity to choose your preferred doctors and surgeons
  • Avoid Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading if you take out cover before age 31.
  • Receive the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate.
  • Exemption from paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).

It’s important to check what’s included in your level of cover because some of the above benefits will only apply to higher-level cover.

In addition to the actual cost of a hospital stay, the cost of many surgeries is covered. Hence, you’ll have very few out of pocket services, and you won’t be on a public hospital waiting list. We’ll go into more detail about the level of cover and what’s included, so read on!

Levels of Cover

Basic Hospital: The lowest level of cover comes with three treatments:

  • Psychiatric treatment if you are administered in a hospital
  • Rehabilitation if administered in a hospital
  • Palliative care

While this isn’t extensive, the costs of your hospital stay are covered. You also avoid the public hospital waiting list and you can choose your medical professionals.

Bronze Hospital: This cover gives you the same benefits as ‘basic’ cover, but also includes the following treatments:

  • Brain and nervous system
  • Eye (excluding cataracts)
  • Ear, nose, and throat
  • Tonsils and adenoids
  • Bone, joints, and muscle
  • Joint reconstructions
  • Kidney and bladder
  • Male reproductive system
  • Digestive system
  • Hernia and appendix
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Gynecology
  • Cancer treatment
  • Pain management
  • Skin
  • Breast surgery if medically necessary
  • Diabetes (excluding insulin pumps)

Silver Hospital: All the same treatments as silver and bronze, plus:

  • Heart and vascular system
  • Lung and chest
  • Blood
  • Back, neck and spine
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery if medically necessary
  • Dental surgery
  • Implantation of hearing devices
  • Podiatric surgery

Gold Hospital: The top-level cover gives you basically everything you could need. Additional treatments include:

  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacement
  • Dialysis for chronic kidney failure
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Assisted reproductive services
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Insulin pumps
  • Pain management with devices
  • Sleep studies

The treatments listed above are considered minimum requirements for health insurers to offer. Check your product disclosure statement carefully, because some insurers may choose to offer more than the minimum. For example, some minimum services from the ‘silver’ category may appear in the ‘bronze’ category with some insurers.

These minimum requirements have only been in place since April 2019, so we may see insurers offering above the minimum to tempt new customers.

Extras Cover

‘Extras’ refers to a range of products and services not usually provided in hospitals. Almost all of these are ongoing medical expenses like dental and optical, but other services are also provided.

Below is a list of treatments often covered by extras.

  • Optical
  • Dental
  • Physiotherapy
  • Medical equipment/appliances (hearing aids etc)
  • Some natural and alternative therapies
  • Chiropractic
  • Pharmaceuticals if not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • Gym memberships
  • Psychology

The level of extras cover you choose certainly determines the annual limits you can claim. Restrictions on what percentage you can be reimbursed for each claim will almost always vary too. You can claim 100% on some services, while others may be a smaller percentage. Check your product disclosure statement for full details.

Basic Extras: Usually provides cover for optical, chiro, dental and physiotherapy. Basic extras is a good choice if you’re reasonably healthy and don’t have any ongoing health concerns.

Medium Extras: The next level of cover will have even more inclusions. The premium is higher, hence you’ll get cover for more things like psychology, major dental, podiatry, and remedial massage. Annual limits may also increase.

Comprehensive Extras: If you need medical appliances like hearing aids, even orthotics, this is the cover for you. Some natural therapies will also be included, however, this is worth checking carefully. Due to Government reforms in April 2019, insurers can no longer offer certain types of natural therapies. With top-level cover like this, the annual limits may increase too.

We recommend checking all of the inclusions carefully when determining which extras cover you need because unless you have a considerable amount of medical expenses, you could be throwing money away with high-level cover. Remember you can always increase your cover because as time goes on you may develop medical issues that may require more treatment.

Choosing the Right Excess Payment

When you’re looking for the cheapest health insurance for a single person, the excess payment can be a big money-saver.

The excess is a payment you make to your insurer if you’re admitted to hospital, and furthermore it’s a one-off fee. It also affects the amount of your monthly premium. A lower excess will certainly come with higher monthly premiums. Likewise, choosing a higher excess comes with a reduction in the monthly premium.

For singles, you can select an excess of up to $750. While that’s still a lot of money, imagine you’re admitted to hospital for 4 nights. The cost of this hospital stay could be around $5,000 – and that’s before the actual cost of surgery. With private hospital cover and a $750 excess, that’s all you’ll have to pay because your insurer covers the rest of the $5,000 bill.

If you expect to be admitted to the hospital frequently, there is value in having a low excess, certainly. In contrast, if you think it’s unlikely you’ll be going to the hospital very often, maybe you’ll prefer a higher excess payment in exchange for cheaper monthly premiums.

Tax Benefits and Health Insurance Rebates

Did you know there were tax benefits that could almost certainly save you money? Furthermore, there are Government rebates you can take advantage of. Read on, because you want the cheapest health insurance possible!

Medicare Levy Surcharge

If you earn over $90,000 you’re required to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) due to government legislation. This surcharge is in place because taxpayers of a certain income level are expected to contribute to the public health system. That is, of course, unless you hold private hospital cover.

The theory is, you don’t need to pay the surcharge because you’re less likely to use the public hospital system. Depending on your income, the MLS can be between 1% and 1.5%. Hence, even on the lowest charged incomes ($90,000), this ends up being $900. So when you think about it, that offsets a large chunk of your private hospital cover costs.

The Government Private Health Insurance Rebate

The Australian Government subsidises private health cover depending on your income amount. The table below shows the threshold levels for single people.

Base tier Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Single Person $90,000 or less $90,001 – $105,000 $105,001 – $140,000 $140,001 or more

The rebate amount depends on which income tier you fall into. You’ll receive a percentage discount based on your income tier and age, as per the table below:

Base Tier Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Under 65 25.059% 16.706% 8.352% 0.000%
65 – 69 29.236% 20.883% 12.529% 0.000%
70+ 33.413% 25.059% 16.706% 0.000%

These figures are current from 1 April 2019.

You can claim your rebate in one of two ways, either up-front or later. If you know your income, your health insurer can deduct the rebate from your policy cost, hence you’ll pay a reduced monthly premium throughout the year.

In contrast, you can also elect to pay the full premium throughout the year, and then receive a lump-sum rebate as part of your tax return.

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC)

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading is a Government scheme which penalises Australians for not taking out hospital cover before 30. That seems like a harsh penalty, but it’s not all bad. Basically, if you don’t take out cover before your 31st birthday, your insurance will cost 2% more for each year that passes. This won’t affect you if you never take out cover, however, if you decide at age 40 you’ll get some hospital cover, it will cost you 20% more.

Under 30? Access the Cheapest Health Insurance

From 1 April 2019, single people under 30 can benefit even further. Not only will you not be penalised by the LHC loading we just mentioned, but you can access further benefits.

Reforms have come into effect, allowing insurers to offer discounted health insurance for customers under 30. While discounts are not compulsory, many insurers will be offering reduced prices.

The table below outlines the level of discounts you could be entitled to.

Person’s age when they become insured under a hospital policy offering discounts Percentage discount that insurer may offer
18-25 10
26 8
27 6
28 4
29 2
30 0

It’s important to note that if an insurer decides to offer the discount, they must likewise apply it to all existing customers too. Check with your insurer, because you want to make sure you’re getting the cheapest health insurance for a single person!

Reassess Your Cover Regularly

There’s never a bad time to reassess your cover. Because as you get older, your needs change. The basic cover you held when you were 20 may not be suitable if you’re in your 40’s. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but as we get older, the risk of illness can increase. So, if those aches and pains start getting more frequent, it might be time to check your cover!

As years go by, maybe you will benefit more from a higher hospital cover with more treatment options. The same could apply for your extras policy. The most important thing is knowing what you’re paying for, and ensuring it’s always relevant.

Compare to Find the Cheapest Health Insurance from our Panel of Insurers

There’s no better way to save money than with Billy Explores! Billy can do all the work to compare private health insurance policies on your behalf, and also, it doesn’t cost a cent. Finally, to find the cheapest health insurance for a single person from our panel of insurers.