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Should I take out Hospital Cover?

Reviewed and updated 30 June 2023

Whether or not you take out Hospital Cover is a question to consider carefully.

You may prefer to rely on the public health care system. As an Australian citizen or permanent resident with a Medicare Card, you are entitled to receive free health care in a public hospital.

If you go into a public hospital as a public patient:

  • You will be allocated a doctor rather than being able to choose one.
  • If your treatment is classified as ‘elective’ rather than ‘acute’, you will join a waiting list and may have to wait months or years for treatment.

However, taking out Hospital Cover will help you cover the cost of being treated as a private patient in a public or private hospital. This means you can:

  • get faster access to treatment
  • choose the doctor who will treat you or perform your surgery.

When considering Hospital Cover, you should check whether you are eligible to receive the Australian Government’s Private Health Insurance Rebate or the Age-based Discount.

Alternatively, the cost of your Hospital Cover could increase because you are over 30 and will have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover Loading.

Here are some examples of how you might decide to take out Hospital Cover:

Rebecca decides to take out Hospital Cover

Rebecca is 27 and single. She runs, surfs and plays touch football. She is concerned that later in life she may need a hip or knee replacement. If she does end up needing surgery, she wants to be able to choose her orthopaedic surgeon and get the surgery as quickly as possible. Rebecca can also save on her Hospital Cover because she under 30 and earns under $90,000 per year. This means she receives the Private Health Insurance Rebate and is also eligible for the Age-based Discount. For these reasons, she decides to take out Hospital Cover.

Gareth decides not to take out Hospital Cover

Gareth is 43 and single. He exercises regularly and has no major health problems. If he needs elective surgery or any other hospital-based treatment, he is happy to join a waiting list and have the hospital allocate a doctor. In addition, he earns over $140,000 per year and is over 30. This means he is ineligible for the Private Health Insurance Rebate and will have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover Loading. For these reasons, he decides not to take out Hospital Cover.

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