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Updated 26/05/2024
What changed?
Reviewed by Dr Jill Gamberg and tip added and referencing style updated. Elective surgery wait time statistics and rebate income thresholds also updated
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Fact checked
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Written by

Francis Taylor

Updated 26/05/2024

What changed?

Reviewed by Dr Jill Gamberg and tip added and referencing style updated. Elective surgery wait time statistics and rebate income thresholds also updated
Our aim is to help you make better informed decisions. That’s why iSelect’s content is produced in accordance with our fact-checking and editorial guidelines.

Find out more about how we make money.

View our Privacy Policy.

Check out our range of private health funds

iSelect does not compare all providers in the market or all policies offered by our partners in your area. Not all policies or special offers are available to all customers and some may only be available over the phone or on the website. Learn more.

Health Insurance for Seniors

Quite often, the older we get, the more we focus on our healthcare and the quality of treatment we receive. Keep reading to learn more about Health Insurance that may be suitable for seniors in Australia. As you get older, there are a couple of things to consider when it comes to Health Insurance. Firstly, your health needs may become more complex.

As a result of that, you may also need more frequent trips to the doctor or various specialists, which can take up a lot more of your time and resources. If you haven’t thought about Health Insurance or you haven’t checked your cover in a while, now could be the time to look into it.

What are the different kinds of Health Insurance policies that may be suitable for Seniors?

Almost all private Health Insurance policies fall into three different categories – hospital cover, extras cover, or a combination of both.

Singles in their early 20s, families, and people heading into retirement all have different health and lifestyle needs. That’s why it’s important to consider what type of cover you want now and in the future.

While there’s no Private Health Insurance products called ‘seniors health insurance’, some policies may be more suitable than others, especially if they cover health concerns more common in senior years. 

Once you have an idea of your needs, iSelect can try and help you find a suitable health insurance policy for your lifestyle and requirements from our range of policies and providers.

Hospital Cover

There are four general tiers when it comes to hospital cover – Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic.

Depending on the level you choose, hospital cover can offer choice of doctor/surgeon and potentially help cover you for a wide range of private in-hospital treatments, such as:

● Rehabilitation
● Hospital psychiatric services
● Palliative care
● Heart surgery
● Dialysis for chronic kidney failure
● Treatments for the brain and nervous system
● Cataract surgery
● Joint replacements (hip, knee etc)

Bear in mind that, as a senior, a basic level of hospital cover might not be adequate for people who have complex or ongoing health needs.

For example, if you require treatments for joint reconstructions, or the ears, nose and throat, or kidney and bladder, then a Bronze level of cover may be all you need.

However, if you require treatment for issues such as dialysis for chronic kidney failure or joint replacements, then a higher level of cover might be a better option for you.

Extras Cover

Extras cover, on the other hand, can help cover services that take place outside of the hospital and are not covered by Medicare. Depending on your policy, these might include:

  • Dental treatment
  • Visits to the chiropractor or physiotherapist
  • Podiatry
  • Medical devices such as hearing aids
  • Occupational therapy
  • Optical
  • Prescription medication not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

Helpful Tip

Some Extras policies include benefits for home care. This can involve services that are not usually covered by Hospital policies like wound management and administering medication. You will usually find these benefits in more comprehensive Extras policies, but the inclusions can still vary from plan to plan. Give your policy of choice careful consideration and decide which benefits are a must for you!

Dr. Jill Gamberg

GP and Lifestyle Coach

How can Seniors save on Health Insurance?

Here are a few ways you can make the most of and potentially save on your Health Insurance.

Rebates

The Australian Government offers a Private Health Insurance Rebate to help cover some of the costs of their insurance premiums.

The Private Health Insurance Rebate is income tested, and generally, eligible policyholders over the age of 65 will receive a higher rebate.

From 1 July, 2024, those rebates are calculated in the table on the right:

Source: PrivateHealth.gov.au – Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate

Public waiting times

When it comes to elective surgery, waiting times can be long in the public system.

According to the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, in 2022-23, 90% of patients admitted to hospital from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists waited for 361 days or less, while 50% of patients waited for 49 days or less1https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/themes/hospital-access.

One possible benefit seniors may value from Private Health Insurance could be potentially shorter waiting times for elective surgeries.

Depending on your policy, hospital cover could help you schedule a procedure as early as possible, and help you avoid lengthy waiting times. If you’re struggling with a health condition, like needing a joint replacement, receiving treatment sooner rather than later can mean better quality of life.
Taking control of your treatment time could put the cost of Health Insurance in perspective.

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Where can I compare options?

At iSelect, we compare a range of different policies and providers to help people find a policy that’s suitable for their lifestyle and budget. Just give us a call on 1800 784 772 and someone from our team will take you through your options today.

iSelect does not compare all health insurance providers or policies in the market. The availability of policies will change from time to time. Not all policies available from its providers are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements, your stated needs and circumstances, not all policies compared by iSelect are available to all customers. Some policies and special offers are available only from iSelect’s contact centre or website. Click here to view iSelect’s range of providers

  • 1.
    https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/themes/hospital-access