How To Find The Best Extras Only Cover Health Insurance

Health insurance extras cover is a very popular insurance product – did you know that around 54.5% of Aussies had extras cover as at September 2021? Here are Billy Explores, we know that if Aussies love extras cover, then we have to help them get the best private health insurance, and the best extras cover from our panel of providers! But what things do you have to consider if you want the best extras cover? Can you actually just purchase extras cover by itself? So many questions! Thankfully Billy Explores is here to help you answer them all. After we’ve answered your questions about extras cover, then let’s help you find the best extras cover for your needs from our panel of providers and compare health funds!

What is Private Health Insurance Extras Cover?

Normally purchased as part of your private health insurance, extras cover  covers smaller medical expenses not covered under your general hospital cover or the Medicare scheme. Depending on your health fund, it can also include other ancillary health items that help your general health and wellbeing such as paying for gym or natural therapies.

As with hospital cover, health insurance providers will offer different levels of extras policy cover, and can include items such as:

  • Dental treatment
  • Medical equipment/appliances
  • Optical (such as glasses or contact lenses)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Alternative and Natural therapies (acupuncture, naturopathy)
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Gym memberships and other health programs
  • Psychology
  • Ambulance
  • Pharmaceuticals not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

If you know you are going to use a lot of these services, it’s a great idea to have the appropriate services covered under your health insurance extras –those that aren’t covered under general Medicare.

Are There Different Levels of Extras Cover?

Dependent on your private health insurance provider, extras cover is generally available in three different levels.

Basic Extras: Like the name suggests, you’ll get the basics such as optical, chiro, dental and physiotherapy. If you don’t have a lot of ongoing medical concerns, this might be the only extras cover you need.

Medium Extras: You’ll have a few more included services in medium extras cover. Items like psychology, podiatry, major dental/orthodontic and remedial massage could be included. You also might get higher annual limits than the basic cover.

Comprehensive Extras: As we go up the scale, the inclusions keep increasing. If you’re into natural therapies, or need medical appliances like hearing aids, even orthotics, this this is the cover for you. Again, the amount you can claim could increase too. When you choose comprehensive cover, make sure you really need the extra benefits or you could be wasting money.

Tip: When you’re comparing private health insurance in Australia, you’re going want to make sure you get the right extras cover for your needs. People often don’t think about the levels of health insurance, and choose a higher cover than they need and this is where savings can be made. When you check the additional benefits of high level extras cover, think carefully about whether you’re taking advantage of them. If not, you can reduce your level and save some dollars in the process.

What Are Annual Limits?

All extras policy cover have what are called “benefit limits” – essentially this means how much you can claim and be reimbursed for each specific treatment in a calendar year.

The amount you can claim back depends on a number of factors which includes: which service you’re claiming, and the maximum limit your policy provides. Another factor is whether your health fund covers (a) a certain percentage of the costs or (b) benefits up to a set dollar amount. It’s always best to check with your health fund – and if you’re not happy with your extras cover, find the best extras cover for your needs and compare health insurance providers through Billy Explores!

What Are Waiting Periods?

A waiting period is the amount of time you may have to wait before accessing your extras cover benefits. For instance, if you took out an extras policy cover today you may have to wait a 6-months before claiming on dental expenses.

Depending on your level of cover, you may be exempt from all waiting periods. Some health funds also offer reduced waiting periods as a special offer to sign on – a great idea if you know you will use the service, need to compare health funds and are comparing private health insurance in Australia.

Also, it’s worthwhile asking if you what to compare health insurance providers is to ask if want to switch, you won’t be subject to new waiting periods. That is, unless you have different levels of health insurance or a different extras cover than previously a higher level of cover with services you’ve not previously waited for.

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How To Make Sure You Get The Best Extras Cover For Your Needs

Some tips for when you find the best extras cover policy for you!

Make Any Claims Promptly

The best thing is with today’s technology many extras services can claim your health fund benefit and deduct it from your bill when you go to pay! This saves lots of time on all sides with paperwork etc. If not, you may have to pay the full bill and claim a refund of some of the bill from your health fund (which can mean lots of paperwork), although many private health insurance providers offer a seamless experience on their member dashboards now.

  • It is safer to make any claims for extras cover benefits as soon as possible. This reduces the risk of losing receipts and your benefit is paid quicker.
  • If claiming by post it is a good idea to keep a copy of any receipts.
  • Most private health funds won’t pay benefits if you make a claim two years after the health service was provided. If legal action or other unforeseen circumstances are likely to prevent you from making a claim in time, contact your fund.

Use Your Extras and Know Your Limit

You don’t want to pay for something you don’t use in your private health insurance, or pay exorbitant amounts for out of pocket expenses. The best private health insurance providers will provide detailed information in terms of your benefit limits and how much you’ve got left to spend. This is normally available in your health fund’s online dashboard.

Again, if you have paid for extras like gym or remedial massage, make sure you either claim it or use it! You don’t want to pay for something you are not using.

It pays to regularly review your health insurance, including hospital cover and any extras to make sure you are fully covered and utilising it. Of course, if it no longer suits your needs then make the switch.

Find The Best Extras Cover For Your Needs

Find the best extras cover for your needs and let Billy Explores take the hard work out of comparing private health insurance in Australia and if you’re in NSW, doing a health insurance comparison health insurance comparison for NSW! Compare health funds now through Billy Explores!

See if you can save today!

Join thousands of others who have switched and saved with Billy Explores


  • Is private extras cover worth it?

    Yes, it is really worth it as long as you actually use it. Extras is actually one of the few types of insurance where you can claim back the price of your premium, without things going too wayward. Compare extra health insurance options through Billy Explores today!

  • When will my extras limits renew?

    Your extras policy limits renew every year on a specific anniversary of your extras cover. This will either be on a membership, financial or calendar year, depending on the fund you’re with. Billy Explores recommends talking to your insurance fund and reading through your PDS to make sure you have the right dates and use your benefits.

  • Can I avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge by taking out extras cover?

    No, you have to take out hospital cover to exempt you from the Medicare Levy Surcharge. However, if you take out an extras policy cover only you may be eligible for  the Australian Government Rebate, which can be claimed through your tax return or as a reduced premium. Of course as with all things related to private health insurance, the actual rebate amount will depend on your income, age and how you’re claiming – either for yourself or as a couple or family.

  • Can I get extras cover with a pre-existing condition?

    Yes, you can get extras cover with a pre-existing condition, however you may need to sit out the normal waiting periods.