Health Insurance for single parents

If you’re a single parent, you’ll know exactly how hard it can be to manage work, life and kids all day, every day. To top it all off, cost of living pressures can make the daily grind feel grittier than usual.
young man in kitchen with silver laptop

*iSelect does not compare all providers or policies in the market and not all policies or special offers are available at all times, through all channels or in all areas. Not all policies available from our providers are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements and customer circumstances, not all policies compared by iSelect are available to all customers.  Learn more.

Written by


Edited by

Updated 18/05/2023
What changed?
Update incorrect information: funds can now cover children up to 31; Can a single’s health insurance policy cover my children? What kind of waiting periods might my children have?
Fact checked
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.

Updated 18/05/2023

What changed?

Update incorrect information: funds can now cover children up to 31; Can a single’s health insurance policy cover my children? What kind of waiting periods might my children have?
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.

Edited by

Laura Crowden

Find out more about how we make money.

View our Privacy Policy.

Compare Health Insurance Policies

Save time and effort by comparing a range of Australia's health funds with iSelect*

I need cover for…

So what happens if you or your kids get sick and need to take time off work or school? There are ways to safeguard the health of your family, so you can get the healthcare you all need, when you need it. 

In this article, we’ll explore single parent Health Insurance, including what benefits and rebates may be available for single parent families. 

What is single parent Health Insurance?

In short, it’s all in the name – Health Insurance for single parents and their kids. A single parent family consists of one adult and dependant(s), including child/student dependants. 

Many health insurers offer policies designed for single parent families, which generally have lower-rate premiums compared with standard family cover, which is designed to cover two adults and their kids.  

However, the way a dependent is defined by your policy can vary between providers. For example, some providers may allow dependent children to remain on a single parent Health Insurance until the age of 30, while others waive excess for dependents under 21.

Do I need Private Health Insurance as a single parent?

According to the Private Health Insurance Act 2007, health insurers are able to offer single parents reductions in premiums.1 

Of course, single parent policies will cost more than just a single policy because you would be adding cover for your kids. However, they’re likely to cost less than a family policy as you would be choosing cover for one adult rather than two. 

It still pays to shop around, but generally, any Health Insurance provider that does offer single parent Health Insurance provides a reduced premium for a comparable package as a two-parent family. 

Do single parents pay more or less for Private Health Insurance? 

If you’re a parent, we don’t need to tell you that life is full of surprises. And for a single parent, life with kids can be even more of a juggle.  

With children comes the unexpected, and knowing they’re covered privately – should medical treatment be required – is a huge weight off your mind.  

But it’s not just your kids you need to factor in. For single parents, there is the extra concern of who will look after your kids if you can’t?  So Private Health Insurance could give you invaluable peace of mind knowing that you’ll be covered should anything unfortunate happen.   

What Private Health Insurance rebates are available for single parents? 

The good news is that many people in Australia are eligible for a Government rebate on their Health Insurance costs.  

The Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate is specifically designed to help cover some of the costs of Health Insurance, including for single parents. 

The rebate is income-tested and applies to both hospital and general treatment (Extras) cover. The rebate threshold is increased for each child after the first.

Will my single Health Insurance policy cover my child?

An adult who holds Health Insurance as a single (a singles policy) will only have cover for themselves.  

Adults who have dependents need to let their insurer know that they want to include their children on their policy. The policy will then need to be upgraded to a single parent policy, or family policy, which will cost more than a single policy.

Will my child always be covered under my policy?

Generally, all single parent policies will cover your dependent children until they turn 21. Some health funds that offer single parent cover may cover dependents until the age of 31. 

However, it's important to note that some single parent policies that cover adult children only do so if they are still a student (meaning if your adult child is over 21 and is no longer studying, they may need to take out their own singles cover).   

Other single parent policies will allow adult dependents to remain on your cover regardless of student status for an additional premium. 

This is why it’s important to shop around given there are different options for adult children. 

New legislation

In 2021, the Australian Government passed the Private Health Insurance Legislation Amendment (Age of Dependents) Bill, which changed the maximum allowable age for dependents to be covered under a single parent or family policy from 24 years of age to 31 years of age.2 

Other changes in the legislation include:3 

  • New terminology with ‘dependent non-student’ replacing ‘dependent child non-student’. 
  • A ‘dependent student’ is defined as from 18 to 31 years instead of from 0 to 24 years. 
  • A ‘dependent non-student’ is defined as from 18 to 31 years. 
  • A new dependent person category has been introduced, known as ‘dependent person with a disability’, who is aged 18 years or over, and who may have a partner. 

However, the following conditions remain the same:4 

  • Retain the requirement to not have a partner (i.e. be married or in a de-facto relationship). 
  • Insurers are allowed to have a separately priced product subgroup for dependent non-students. 
  • An insurer can specify requirements and limitations making use of student and non-student dependents from the age of 18 years. 

Does single parent Health Insurance cover pregnancy? 

Yes, all gold covers include pregnancy, including Gold singles cover. It’s important to check that the policy you are interested in is offered at a single parent scale before purchasing. 

What doesn’t single parent Health Insurance cover? 

Private Hospital Insurance only covers in-hospital treatments and services. This means regardless of what type of Private Health Insurance cover you hold, some out-of-hospital medical services won’t be covered, such as:5 

  • GP visits 
  • Consultations with specialists in their rooms 
  • Out-of-hospital diagnostic imaging and tests

These services are covered under Medicare.6 

Some natural therapies might also not be covered in your extras, but it’s best to ask your insurer if you’re interested in these services.7 

This isn’t specific to single parent cover, it’s common across extras cover in general. It’s important to check the policy brochure to understand what your individual policy will and won’t cover. 

What if I separate from my partner?

Separation from a partner is a difficult time for anyone, and Private Health Insurance is probably the last thing on your mind. 

However, it’s worth reviewing your policy as you could save money by shopping around for a cheaper policy. You’ll still fall under the family income threshold, but your partner’s income won’t be combined, so you could actually save on premiums. 

You will need to inform your insurer so that they can make adjustments. Your insurer will then guide you as to whether you can stay on the same policy (and only pay your share of the premium) or whether you will need to take out a single parent policy. 

Separating may also impact your Australian Government Private Health Insurance Rebate. According to the ATO, if you separate from your spouse during the year, then you can only claim your share of the policy and your ex-spouse will need to claim for their share as well.8

Will my child be affected by waiting periods?

Hospital waiting periods typically range from 2 to 12 months, depending on the type of service or treatment that is required.9 

If your child wasn’t previously covered (i.e. your upgrading from a singles policy to a single parent policy), then your child will typically be required to complete waiting periods. There may be exceptions to this – such as newborn babies – so it’s always worth checking with your fund.  

However if your child was previously covered (i.e. you are changing from a family policy to a single parent policy) and the level of cover remains the same or lower  then your child should not be required to reserve waiting periods.   

How can I find suitable Health Insurance for single parents?

We understand that as a single parent you have a lot on your plate, but hopefully this article will have given you a better idea of what’s available. 

So, if you’re a single mum or dad looking for good value cover for you and your family, our team would love to help you tick at least one more thing off your to-do list. 

Compare online, or call us on 1800 784 772.* 

1 Private Health Insurance Act 2007Federal Register of Legislation, Chapter 2, Incentives. 
2 Parliament of Australia - Private Health Insurance Legislation Amendment (Age of Dependents) Bill 2021
3 Australian Government Department of Health Private Health Insurance age of dependents measure – questions and answers, pages 3-4.
4 As above.
5 Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care - What private health insurance covers, What isn’t covered. 

6 As above. 
7 As above. 
8 Australian Taxation Office - Private Health Insurance Rebate Eligibility 
9 Commonwealth Ombudsman for Private Health Insurance - Waiting Periods for Private Health Insurance 

Compare health insurance policies the easy way

Save time and effort by comparing a range of Australia's health funds with iSelect*


Need help with health insurance?

We can help you find a suitbable product for your needs


How users rated our service

Questions? Need advice?

Our team is here to help