What is private health cover?

Have questions about health cover?


Private Health insurance can provide financial compensation and assistance for when you either go into hospital, or when you need to have general treatments (eg dental, physiotherapy).

Hospital visits and general treatments can be expensive, so private health cover provides a level of relief from this expense.

How does it work?

By paying a regular premium (this is often paid in monthly instalments) you are then able to make certain claims and receive rebates on your health services.

Why would I want health insurance?

A few reasons.

You have, or discover a non-urgent medical requirement

Firstly, the Medicare system covers many medical, hospital and pharmaceutical costs. It allows you to be treated as a public patient, at no charge, in a public hospital by a doctor appointed by the hospital. So if you’re in need of urgent emergency treatment, you’ll be ok.

But if you need surgery for a bung knee or a kidney stone, both can be very painful but are classed as non-urgent. And as a public patient, you have to wait your turn and are at the mercy of waiting lists for doctors and procedures. With private health insurance, you have a shorter wait for some forms of elective (non-urgent) surgery.

You get a greater choice of doctors, access to a private hospital, and cable tv

The major benefits of private health insurance include a greater choice of doctor than you would get in the public system, access to a private hospital that is more comfortable than a public one (it has wifi and cable TV) also private rooms.

You can claim rebates on a range of other health services (called Extras)

Depending on your policy, you can also get cover for:

  • Hospital expenses (theatre fees or accommodation) in a private hospital
  • Ambulance fees
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Home nursing
  • Podiatry
  • Physiotherapy, occupational, speech and eye therapy
  • 'Complementary' therapies such as acupuncture
  • Glasses and contact lenses
  • Dental care
  • Pharmaceutical costs

Some policies may even allow you to claim part of your gym membership joining fee, pharmacy prescription costs or remedial massage costs.