Family Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide

Co-author: Ellie McLachlan

Looking for private health insurance for your family? There are many policy options out there provided by health funds, so what’s best for you?

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The table below features a snapshot of hospital & extras policies on Canstar’s database with links to providers’ websites, sorted by Star Rating (highest-lowest) then by provider name (alphabetically). This has been formulated based on a family in NSW.

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How do I know what family health insurance cover to get?

There are various levels of cover for both hospital and extras cover, depending on the insurer. The most common are a basic level, medium level and comprehensive level, as well as being able to opt for stand-alone hospital and stand-alone extras cover.

Family health cover policies are designed to provide cover for families, both young and old. One of the biggest factors in choosing your family health cover is the age and lifestyle of your kids. If you have young or school-aged children, you’ll probably want to be prepared for all eventualities – little kids can be more susceptible to illness, not to mention more accident-prone! That said, accidents and illness can happen at any age.

It can sometimes be a good idea to take out a higher level of cover just based on probability: the bigger your family, the more likely it is that someone’s going to get sick or injured at some point. Depending on your needs and those of your children, you might opt for one of several degrees of extras.

If your kids are getting older (i.e. teenagers and young adults) then you may need an even greater level of extras cover as their medical needs become more complex (prescription glasses, physiotherapy or dental work). Of course, having a good level of hospital cover still applies.

What does family health insurance cost?

Prices of family health insurance vary between different health funds and the level of cover selected, but Canstar Research has found the average weekly premium for young families with hospital and extras cover is currently $108 as at February 28, 2018.

However, after the Federal Government’s Private Health Insurance Rebate of 25.934% (for families with combined income of $180,000 or less) is applied, this brings the average weekly premium down to $86. The income-tested benefit is a percentage rebate of your health insurance premium. Note, however, that it is means tested.

Furthermore, taking out private hospital cover means you are exempt from paying the Medicare Level Surcharge, which is calculated at a rate of 1% to 1.5% of your income, in addition to the Medicare Levy of 2% paid by most Australian taxpayers.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for hospital & extras policies during various life stages under a family policy:

2017 Health Insurance Premiums – Hospital and Extras Packages

Young Family – Non Obstetrics (<35) $4,301 $2,880 $4,319 $4,138 $4,155 $4,467 $4,117
Couples and Families – With Obstetrics $3,945 $2,910 $4,003 $3,869 $3,919 $4,007 $3,708
Established Families (36-59) $4,670 $3,197 $4,754 $4,476 $4,505 $4,862 $4,479
Based on packaged cover policies considered for 2017 Canstar Health Insurance Star Ratings. Premiums include Base Tier Australian Government Rebate of 25.934%. “Mature” profile only includes products that include cover for cardiac and hip/knee replacements. “Established” profile only includes products that include cover for cardiac.

Please note that these are the average market premiums; it’s likely that you could end up paying more or less than this depending on a variety of factors.

What are some common extras covered by family health insurance policies?

Benefits will vary depending on your health fund and the level of cover you choose, but common ones (in addition to basics such as ambulance and dental) include orthodontics, pharmacy, accidental injuries, podiatry and if your family is about to grow, obstetrics.


How long can my kids stay on my family health insurance policy?

Until your kids turn 18, they can be considered dependents and are automatically covered under your family health insurance policy. Between the ages of 18 and 24, it’s up to your insurer to decide whether or not they qualify, which will usually be subject to certain requirements.

Such requirements could include your child being a full-time student or being financially dependent.

If they don’t qualify, you may be able to keep your kids on your policy in return for a greater insurance premium, the size of which is again up to your health fund. Beyond the age of 25, your kids are considered independent and they’ll need to take out their own health insurance. Check the details of your policy with your health insurer.

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