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Reviewed and updated 25 April 2023

What is Couples Health Insurance?

In Australia, Couples Health Insurance is private health cover for you and your partner on one policy.

You have the option of taking out:

It differs from Singles Health Insurance because you have 2 people instead of one on the policy. It is less flexible because you need to consider both you and your partner’s needs before deciding on your level of Hospital Cover and Extras Cover. 

Many couples take out a couples policy because it reduces the paperwork. You have the convenience of:

  • one account
  • one policy
  • one payment.

How much does Couples Health Insurance cost?

For couples:

  • Hospital Cover starts at around $200 per month
  • Extras Cover starts at around $30 per month
  • Combined Hospital and Extras Cover starts at around $230 per month.

The cost of private health insurance for couples depends on your tier of Hospital Cover, extent of Extras Cover, you and your partner’s age, combined income, where you live, chosen excess and any co-payments:

  • Tier of Hospital Cover:
    • Basic Cover
    • Bronze Cover
    • Silver Cover
    • Gold Cover.
  • Extent of Extras Cover.
  • You and your partner’s age:
    • If you are 18-29 and eligible for the Age-based Discount, you can save up to 10% per year on Hospital Cover. 
    • if you have not taken out Hospital Cover before the age of 31, you have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover Loading, which means you pay 2% per year for every year you have not taken out cover. 
  • Your combined income: if your combined income is $180,000 or less, you may be eligible for the Private Health Insurance Rebate, which gives you a discount on:
    • Hospital Cover
    • Extras Cover
    • Ambulance Cover.

If your combined income is over $180,000 per year and you do not have Hospital Cover, you may have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

  • Where you live: you pay more if:
    • you live in an area where there is a higher rate of claims
    • your state or territory charges more for hospital services.
  • Higher excess: if you choose this in exchange for a lower premium.
  • Co-payment: if you pay a contribution for every day you are in hospital in exchange for a lower premium.

Is Couples Health Insurance cheaper than Singles Health Insurance? 

Whether Couples Health Insurance is cheaper than Singles Health Insurance depends on your health insurer and the type of cover you choose.

Most health insurers simply double the price of singles cover to get the price of a couples policy so it is not any cheaper to take out a couples policy.

However, taking out Couples Health Insurance may be cheaper if you are eligible for the Private Health Insurance Rebate or have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover Loading.

Why the Private Health Insurance Rebate may make Couples Health Insurance cheaper than singles for you and your partner 

The Private Health Insurance Rebate is a discount you may receive on your health insurance depending on your income and age.

The means-tested threshold is $280,000 for couples and $140,000 for singles.

If you have couples cover and depending on your financial situation, you may be able to claim a larger rebate from the Australian Government than if you had singles cover.

A couple in their 40s, combined income under $180,000 a year

Alan and Jacqui are a couple in their early 40s. Alan earns $105,000 per year and Jacqui earns $70,000 per year.

If Alan takes out Singles Hospital Cover and/or Extras Cover, he is not entitled to the Private Health Insurance Rebate because he earns over $90,000 a year. If Jacqui takes out Singles Hospital and/or Extras Cover, she is entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate of 24.608% because she earns under $90,000 a year.

If they take out Couples Hospital Cover or Extras Cover, they are entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate of 24.608% on the cost because their combined income is less than $180,000. They decide to take out Couples Health Insurance.

A couple who are both over 60, combined income under $180,000 a year

Mike and Doreen are a couple. Mike is 72 and Doreen is 61. They both have individual incomes of under $90,000 a year.

As Mike is over 70 and his personal income is under $90,000 a year, he is entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate of 32.812%. As Doreen is under 65 and her personal income is under $90,000 a year, she is entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate of 24.608% only.

As Mike is entitled to a higher Private Health Insurance Rebate than Doreen, they take out Couples Health Insurance and claim the higher rate for the Rebate.

Does Lifetime Health Cover Loading make taking out Couples Health Insurance cheaper than Singles Health Insurance? 

The Lifetime Health Cover Loading is a charge you have to pay if you are over 31 and have no Hospital Cover.

If you have a couples policy, the Loading is calculated as an average of both adults.

Couple who save because of the Lifetime Health Cover Loading

Margaret and Rhonda are a couple. Margaret is 35 and Rhonda is 30. They are thinking about taking out Couples Health Insurance. As Margaret is over 35 and has never held Hospital Cover, she has to pay a 10% Lifetime Health Cover Loading (2% x 5 years). As Rhonda is under 31, she does not have to pay a Lifetime Health Cover Loading.

Margaret and Rhonda agree they both want Gold Hospital Cover. The price is the same whether they take out a couples policy or 2 singles policies.

If they take separate policies, it will cost Margaret $2,760 per year or $230 per month (with the 10% Lifetime Health Cover Loading) and Rhonda $2,520 per year or $210 per month. Their total premium will be $5,280. If they take out a couples policy, it will cost $5,580 per year, including their average 5% Lifetime Health Cover Loading. 

Margaret and Rhonda take out 2 singles Gold Hospital Cover policies because it is cheaper and more flexible than Couples Health Insurance.


Can my partner and I get two singles policies? 

Yes. You and your partner can take out 2 singles policies if you wish. Just because you are a couple does not mean you have to take out a couples policy.

You may prefer to take out 2 singles policies if you want different levels of cover.  


Can couples who are not married share health insurance?

Yes. You do not need to be married. However, you do need to be in a de-facto relationship or registered relationship. 


Can divorced couples share health insurance?

Generally, divorced couples cannot share a health insurance policy because they are no longer in a relationship.

Health insurers require you to be honest and you should notify them if your circumstances change.

If you fail to tell them about a change in your situation, you may find you are not covered.

If you divorce and move to a singles policy with the same level of cover and benefit as your couples policy, you will be offered the same cover and not have to serve any additional waiting periods.


What is the best Couples Health Insurance?

To find the best Couples Health Insurance, ask these 10 questions:

Q1: What do you and your partner want from your health insurance?
  • Are you currently both fit and healthy so you just want the basics?
  • Do you want health insurance to reduce your tax bill only?
  • Do either of you have pre-existing conditions?
  • What is your family history of health conditions?
  • Are you planning to have children soon?
Q2: How old are you and your partner?
  • Are you both young and healthy?
    • You may both want
      • the most basic level of Hospital Cover to minimise your tax bill
      • affordable Hospital Cover and/or popular Extras Cover.
  • Are you both middle aged?
    • You may both want
      • a higher level of Hospital Cover in case something goes wrong.
      • Extras Cover that helps you maintain your health and wellbeing.
  • Are you both older?
    • You may both want
      • the highest level of Hospital Cover in case something goes wrong
      • a high level of Extras Cover to preserve your health and help you pay for health services that Medicare does not cover.
  • Are you different ages?
    • You may have different health needs and opt for singles cover so you can take out different policies.
Q3: What type of health insurance do you and your partner need?
  • Hospital Cover
  • Extras Cover
  • Combined Hospital and Extras Cover
  • Ambulance Cover Only.
Q4: If you want Hospital Cover, what tier of Hospital Cover do you need?

Hospital Cover tiers:

  • Basic
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold.
Q5: If you want Extras Cover, what treatments do you need and are likely to use?

There is no point taking out Extras Cover if you are not going to use it.

Q6: For Extras Cover, what are the limits on the policy?

Check the policy for:

  • claim limits: how many claims you can make for a particular treatment?
  • annual limits: how much you can claim each year?
  • lifetime limits: how many claims you can make for a particular treatment over the life of the policy?
Q7: What is you and your partner’s budget?
  • Does the cover you have selected fit within your budget? 
  • Are both or either of you eligible for the Private Health Insurance Rebate?
  • Are both or either of you eligible for the Age-based Discount?
  • Do both or either of you have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover Loading?
Q8: Will you have to pay an excess if you make a claim on Hospital Cover?
  • How much is the excess? 
  • Will you be able to afford the excess if you make a claim?
Q9: Will you have to make a co-payment if you make a claim on your Hospital Cover policy?
  • How much is the co-payment?
  • Will you be able to afford the co-payment if you make a claim?
Q10: Does the policy have waiting periods?

Check the policy to find out:

  • What is the waiting period before you can make a claim for a particular Hospital Cover clinical category?
  • What is the waiting period before you can make a claim for a particular Extras Cover treatment?

For example: 

  • If you are thinking of having children, you need Gold Cover, which has a waiting period of 12 months before you can make a claim.
  • If you want your baby to be covered under your policy when they are born, most health insurers require you take out a family policy 12 months before the baby is born but some health funds require up to 12 months.

What is the best health insurance for young couples?

If you are a young couple, the best insurance depends on what you want from private health insurance.

If you are both young and healthy and you simply want to minimise your tax, you may want to take out a lower tier of Hospital Cover.

A lower tier is Basic or Bronze Hospital Cover:

A couple earning under $180,000 a year

Tony and Marcus are a couple. Tony is 26 and Marcus is 28. Tony earns $75,000 per year and Marcus earns $100,000 per year. They are considering Basic Hospital Cover to minimise Marcus’s tax because he is earning over $90,000 and has to pay a Medicare Levy Surcharge of 1%.

They use the healthslips.com.au Calculator and discover, as Tony earns below $90,000 per year, he is entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate of 24.608% . However, Marcus is not entitled to the Rebate because he earns over $90,000 per year. As their combined income is less than $180,000 per year, they are entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate of 24.608% if they take out Couples Health Insurance

Tony and Marcus are both under 30, so they are entitled to an Age-based Discount if their insurer offers it. Tony is 26 so he is entitled to an 8% discount. Marcus is 28 so is entitled to a 4% discount. If they take out a couples policy, their combined, average discount is 6%.

Marcus and Tony decide not to take out Basic Cover because the cover is very limited. They take out a couples Bronze Plus Hospital Cover that costs them $230.00 per month, about the same as the cheapest Bronze Hospital Cover.

A couple earning over $180,000 a year

Noot and Darren are a couple. Noot is 25 and Darren is 29. Noot earns $85,000 a year and Darren just received a promotion and now earns $252,000 a year. Noot and Darren feel that they can now afford private health insurance. Their decision is partly for tax reasons because Darren now has to pay a Medicare Levy Surcharge of 1.5%.

They are considering taking out Hospital Cover and Extras Cover. They use the healthslips.com.au Calculator and discover they are not entitled to the Private Health Insurance Rebate as a couple because their combined income is over $280,000. However, if Noot takes out singles cover, she is entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate of 24.608% because she earns less than $90,000 per year.

As they are both under 30, they are entitled to the Age-based Discount on their Hospital Cover. Noot is 25 so she is entitled to a 10% discount. Darren is 29 so he is entitled to 2% discount. If they take out a couples policy, their combined discount is 6%. 

Noot and Darren decide to take out 2 single Basic Hospital Cover policies from an insurer that offers the Age-based Discount. This means Noot can take advantage of the 24.608% discount and the 10% Age-based Discount on her policy. Darren will receive a 2% Age-based Discount on his policy.

If you are about to start a family, you may want to take out Gold Hospital Cover, which includes Pregnancy and Birth.

A couple thinking of starting a family earning under $180,000 a year

Marin and Geoff are a couple. Marin is 30 and Geoff is 26. Marin earns $80,000 a year and Geoff earns $55,000 a year. They are considering taking out private health insurance because they want to start a family. If Marin waits until she turns 31 to take out Hospital Cover, she will have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover Loading.

They use the healthslips.com.au Calculator and discover they are both entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate of 24.608% because they both earn under $90,000 a year. They are also entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate of 24.608% as a couple because their combined income is less than $180,000.

As Geoff is 26, he is entitled to an Age-based Discount of 8% on Hospital Cover. If Marin and Geoff take out a couples policy, their combined discount will be 4% (Geoff 8% and Marin 0%). 

Only Gold Hospital Cover covers Pregnancy and Birth. The cheapest Gold Hospital Cover that they can find is $425 per month, which is unaffordable for them. They opt for a couples Bronze Hospital Cover policy that allows them to avoid the Lifetime Health Cover Loading when Marin turns 31. The policy does not cover Pregnancy and Birth so they decide to rely on the public system if they have a child.

A couple thinking of starting a family earning over $180,000 a year

Michelle and David are a couple. Michelle is 27 and David is 32. Michelle earns $142,000 a year and David earns $145,000 a year. Their accountant says they will both have to pay a Medicare Levy Surcharge of 1.5% because their individual incomes are over $140,000 and their combined incomes are over $280,000. They want to start a family while minimising their tax.

Michelle and David use the healthslips.com.au Calculator and discover neither is entitled to a Private Health Insurance Rebate because they both earn over $90,000 a year. Even with a couples policy, they are ineligible for the Rebate because their combined income is over $180,000 per year.

As Michelle is under 30, she is entitled to an Age-based Discount of 6% on Hospital Cover. If they take out a couples policy, their combined discount will be 3% (Michelle 6% and David 0%). As David is 32, he will have to pay a 2% Lifetime Health Cover Loading (2% x 1 year) on Hospital Cover because he is over 30. The Loading lasts for 10 years.

Only Gold Hospital Cover covers Pregnancy and Birth. They decide to take out Gold Hospital Cover, which meets their needs and costs them $410 per month.

Other things to note if you are thinking about having a child soon:

  • If you take out a couples Gold Hospital Cover policy, which includes Pregnancy and Birth, you have to serve a 12-month waiting period before you can claim.
  • Rather than a couples policy, you may want to take out 2 singles Hospital Cover policies where one of you takes out Gold Hospital Cover that includes Pregnancy and Birth and the other takes out a lower tier of Hospital Cover. 
  • If you are planning to have your baby in the private health system, does it make sense to take out a family policy so your baby is covered under your policy when they are born?

What is the best health insurance for couples over 50? 

If you are over 50 and taking out health insurance for the first time, the best insurance for couples depends on what you want from your health insurance and your budget.

If you already have health insurance, you may want greater protection for your health as you get older.

This could mean moving from Basic or Bronze Hospital Cover to Silver or Gold Hospital Cover.

A couple over 50 earning under $180,000 a year

Nancy and Mark are a couple. Nancy is 55 and Mark is 58. Nancy earns $90,000 a year and Marks earns $75,000 per year.

They are considering taking out private health insurance because Nancy is a surfer and thinks she will eventually need a hip reconstruction or replacement. She is concerned about waiting for years if she relies on the public health system. Mark’s father had a triple bypass in his early 60s and Mark is concerned about developing heart issues.

They decide on Silver Hospital Cover because it includes Heart and Vascular System and Joint Reconstructions. Although it does not include Joint Replacements, this is the best option because it falls within their budget.

A couple over 50 earning over $180,000 a year

Kate and Esther are a couple. Kate is 55 and Esther is 57. Kate earns $184,000 a year and Esther earns $173,000. They are considering private health insurance because both their mothers had breast cancer and both their fathers had cataract surgery. Esther’s family also has a history of diabetes. 

Bronze Hospital Cover includes Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Immunotherapy, Breast Surgery and Diabetes Management and Silver Hospital Cover also includes Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (medically necessary). However, they decide on Gold Hospital Cover because it also includes:

– Cataracts
– Dialysis for Chronic Kidney Failure
– Insulin Pumps
– Pain Management with Device.


What is the best health insurance for retired couples?

As you get older, you may want more coverage and flexibility from your private health insurance.

Your income may have reduced once you retired and you need to look for a more cost-effective option.

A couple over 65 with an income under $180,000 a year

Laura and Ken are a couple. They are both 67 and reasonably fit and healthy. Their combined income is less than $180,000 a year.

They currently have Gold Hospital Cover but, since they both retired at age 65, they are struggling to pay their premium. It does not make sense to pay for Hospital Cover clinical categories they will never use such as:

– Pregnancy and Birth
– Assisted Reproductive Services
– Weight Loss Surgery
– Sleep Studies.

In fact, the only Gold Hospital Cover clinical category they might use is Cataracts. So they downgrade to Silver Hospital Cover. They will rely on Medicare for any cataract surgery, even if it involves a long waiting list.

A couple over 70 with an income over $180,000 a year

Miguel and Johann are a couple. They are both in their late 70s. Miguel has some issues with his heart and Johann has diabetes. For years, they have held Bronze Hospital Cover.

They review their policy and discover that it does not include:

– Cataracts
– Heart and Vascular System
– Dialysis for Chronic Kidney failure
– Insulin Pumps.

After deciding they can afford it, they upgrade to Gold Hospital Cover.


What is the best health insurance for couples with different health needs?

If you and your partner have different health needs, you may consider taking out singles policies rather than a couples policy.

A couple in their 30s with different health needs

Veronica and Trevor are a couple. They are both 30 and earn $150,000 a year. They are both keen to take out private health insurance before they have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover Loading.

Trevor is fit and healthy. He is not keen on paying a huge amount for private health insurance. Basically, he sees it as a way of reducing his income tax.

Veronica has a history of health problems. She and Trevor are keen to start a family but Veronica is concerned about her fertility as she moves into her mid-30s. If she has a baby, Veronica wants to be able to choose her Obstetrician. She wants to take out Gold Hospital Cover because it includes Assisted Reproductive Services and Pregnancy and Birth. Veronica also wants to work on her health and wellbeing so is interested in Extras Cover.

They use the healthslips.com.au Calculator to explore their options and discover that couples Hospital Cover is no cheaper than 2 singles policies.

Veronica and Trevor decide to take out Singles Health Insurance. Veronica takes out Gold Hospital Cover and a Basic Extras policy to cover General Dental and Physiotherapy. Trevor takes out Bronze Hospital Cover.

A couple in their 50s with different health needs

Xian and Chen are a couple. They are both in their mid-50s. Xian earns $220,000 a year and Chen earns $182,000 a year. They have a couples Bronze Hospital Cover policy.

Xian is happy with Bronze Hospital Cover as he believes in natural therapies and keeping fit to maintain his health. He has never claimed on the policy and has it primarily for tax reasons.

Chen is concerned Bronze Hospital Cover is no longer adequate for her needs. She has seen friends spend months on public waiting lists for elective surgery and treatments. She thinks she and Xian should upgrade to Gold Hospital Cover.

In the end, they take out 2 singles policies. Xian takes out a singles Bronze Hospital Cover policy and Chen takes out a singles Gold Hospital Cover policy.


How can I compare health insurance for couples?

Use our Calculator to find the best and cheapest health insurance for you and your partner.

We compare every insurer and policy.

We can also give you a personalised price on your Couples Health Insurance because you can calculate whether you:

  • can save on your health insurance because either or both of you are eligible for the Private Health Insurance Rebate and/or the Age-based Discount
  • have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover Loading.

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