If you want to be treated as a private patient in a public hospital or be treated in a private hospital, you need Hospital Cover. But what if you just want to visit the dentist for your yearly check-up and cleaning? Or you suspect your child may need glasses to see the blackboard at school? Or you’ve put your back out and need to visit the chiropractor?
All of these medical services happen outside of a hospital, and they can be expensive in Australia, depending on what you need. That’s where Extras Cover health insurance comes in handy.
What is Extras Cover?
Extras cover is a type of health insurance policy that provides a benefit towards the cost of general treatment outside of a hospital, including medical services and some non-medical or allied health services. Depending on the level of cover you choose, a typical Extras Cover policy may include a benefit for dental, optical, physiotherapy, and/or chiropractic care.
Extras Cover is different to Hospital Cover, which covers the cost of treatment in a hospital. Find out more about the different types of health insurance and what they cover here.
What extras are included in an Extras Cover policy?
The extra treatments and medical services that are covered by an Extras Cover policy vary widely from policy to policy and from insurer to insurer.
We’ve summarised what the different types of medical services and benefits usually mean in the table below. Not all policies cover all benefits. Read the product disclosure statement (PDS) for a policy to find out what cover that particular policy includes.
|Dental||Check what type of dental is covered:
|Chiropractic||Manipulation and realignment of bones, especially around the spine|
|Physiotherapy||Physical rehabilitation for people with chronic conditions, injuries, or physical disabilities|
|Osteopathy||Manipulation of bones and muscles through massage and stretching exercises|
|Antenatal and Postnatal||Sessions with a registered midwife:
|Natural Therapies (a.k.a. Alternative Therapies / Alternative Medicine)||Benefit may include:
|Healthy Living / Well-Being||Usually only applies to patients referred by their GP as part of a health management program, weight management program, or chronic disease management program. Benefit options may include:
|Pharmacy Medicines||Covers prescription only medicines prescribed by a GP, where the drug is TGA approved but is not listed on the PBS|
|Dietary||Advice from a recognised dietitian (a health specialist in diet, weight management, and digestion disorders)|
|Psychology||Counselling from a registered psychologist in one-on-one sessions, group sessions, couple’s counselling, or family counselling|
|Podiatry||Benefit towards cost of seeing a registered psychologist in one-on-one sessions, group sessions, couple’s counselling, or family counselling|
|Speech Therapy||Assessment and treatment of a communication disability regarding speech, hearing, using and understanding language, or reading and writing|
|Eye Therapy||Physical therapy for the eyes and brain to develop eye coordination and treat visual problems such as crossed eyes, lazy eye, or double vision|
|Occupational Therapy||Training people for their daily activities such as work or living independently after injury, illness, psychological or social disability, or learning difficulties|
|Home Nursing||Nursing care after discharge from hospital or instead of admission to hospital – benefit may include:
|Health Aids and Appliances||Benefit may include:
|Travel and Accommodation||Travel and overnight accommodation (outside of hospital) for essential medical or hospital treatment if you are unable to access this treatment where you live|
|Emergency Ambulance Services||Riding in an ambulance to hospital, and emergency treatment by paramedics before and during transport to hospital|
Do extras cover policies all provide the same level of cover?
No. Extras policies typically come in three different levels of coverage, depending on your choice of policy (Health.gov.au):
What is the gap payment for Extras Cover?
There is often a gap payment required as an out-of-pocket expense with Extras Cover, when a health provider charges more than the benefit paid by your insurer. For a list of the common out-of-pocket expenses you can expense in Australia for extras medical services, read this article.
Always contact your insurer before receiving a new medical service or treatment, so that you know ahead of time how much you will back as a benefit and can estimate how much your out-of-pocket expenses will be for that service or treatment. Different insurers and different policies will provide higher or lower benefits for the same services or treatments, so it’s worth doing your research on Extras Cover policies before choosing one:
How to buy an Extras Cover policy
Extras policies can be added to Hospital policies or purchased separately as Extras Only policies.
You can get a quote to sign up for an Extras Cover policy through the Canstar website. Canstar regularly researches and rates Extras Cover health insurance for different profiles such as young singles, couples, older singles, families, and more. We compare different health insurance policies and providers for price and value for money, coverage and benefits, and terms and conditions of coverage.
The many benefits of taking out private health insurance should be quite clear, but it shouldn’t cost the moon to get a policy that covers what you need. Don’t settle for average cover at an expensive price – look for an Extras Cover policy with our 5-star rating for outstanding value: