Bronze Cover Health Insurance

Bronze, silver, gold. They might sound like Olympic medals, but in Australia, they’re also used to describe different levels of Private Hospital Cover. Bronze Cover is the third tier – read on to learn what it does and doesn’t cover.
health insurance bronze cover

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Updated 17/11/2023
What changed?
Included new section on “Who is Bronze Cover suitable for”, new table on inclusions, checked sources and reference to ensure they are up-to-date.
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Written by

Liv Steigrad

Updated 17/11/2023

What changed?

Included new section on “Who is Bronze Cover suitable for”, new table on inclusions, checked sources and reference to ensure they are up-to-date.
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.

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In Australia, there are four tiers of Private Hospital Insurance – Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Basic –  dictated by the Australian Government. All Health Insurers have to stick to these tiers, and each tier includes specific minimum requirements.1

What is Bronze Cover?

Bronze Cover is the second lowest of the four tiers of Hospital Cover. It’s generally a more affordable option than Silver or Gold, but also provides fewer benefits, so it’s really important that you are absolutely clear on what a Bronze Policy will cover you for, and just as importantly, what it won’t.

To put it into perspective, Basic, the lowest tier, is only required to include cover as a private patient in a public hospital for rehabilitation, hospital psychiatric services, and palliative care – and that’s it.

Bronze Cover is a decent step up from Basic. Bronze includes those three categories as well as 18 others, including joint reconstructions, gynaecology, chemotherapy, diabetes management, brain and nervous system, eyes, and tonsils.

The Silver and Gold tiers cover an even wider range of treatments. A Silver policy will include all the services you’ll find on a Bronze policy, along with more complex services like treatment for the heart and vascular system, and back, neck and spine.

The Gold tier is the bells and whistles of hospital cover, and includes all of the previously mentioned services and more, such as joint replacements, weight loss surgery, pregnancy and birth.2

What is Bronze Plus Cover?

While insurers have a minimum list of services they must include under each policy tier, they are welcome to add extra services at their discretion. If they add several extra services, then they’ll generally add a ‘plus’ to the policy name.

Some insurers offer such a level of cover in between Bronze and Silver, called Bronze Plus. Because there are no rules about which additional treatments insurers can include, what’s covered under Bronze Plus with one fund could be quite different from what’s covered by another.3

AHM’s Core Bronze Plus, for example, covers all the minimum Bronze treatments, plus additional procedures like back, neck and spine, and lung and chest.4 Bupa’s Bronze Plus Simple Hospital, on the other hand, doesn’t cover back, neck and spine, but it does include sleep studies.5

Who is Bronze Cover suitable for?

Because Bronze Cover doesn’t include many treatments, it’s not going to suit everyone. If you're young and healthy (lucky you!) and want some peace of mind, but you’re more concerned about budget than high coverage, then Bronze could be a great choice. It has provisions for some conditions you might want to be prepared for just in case, like tonsilitis and joint reconstructions.6 But if you have health needs that are a little more complex, like asthma or scoliosis, Silver could be a better fit for you.7

How much does Bronze Cover cost?

Different Insurance Providers have different prices for their Bronze Cover. As a rule of thumb, a Bronze policy from a particular provider will cost more than their Basic policy and less than their Silver policy. There’s a good reason for this, though – the more expensive the tier, the more treatment categories it covers. And so by the same logic, a Bronze Plus policy will generally cost more than a straight Bronze policy.

But remember, the price of Bronze policies between insurers can vary quite a bit, which is why it pays to shop around! And there are a bunch of things that can change how much you’ll pay for a Bronze policy, such as which state you live in, how old you are and your taxable income.

What does a Bronze tier policy cover?

As you can see in the table below, Basic Cover only has to includes three categories, while Bronze includes several more, and Silver and Gold more again. The categories are either marked as unrestricted, which means you’ll be treated as a private patient in a private hospital and most or all of your treatment will be covered, or restricted, which means you’ll have some out-of-pocket expenses and you’ll usually be treated as a private patient but in a public hospital.8

 If categories are marked as optional, that means an insurer has the option to cover them but doesn’t have to in that level of cover.

Hospital treatment by clinical category Basic  Bronze  Silver  Gold 
Rehabilitation Yes (restricted) Yes (restricted) Yes  Yes 
Hospital psychiatric services Yes (restricted) Yes (restricted) Yes Yes
Palliative care Yes (restricted) Yes (restricted) Yes Yes
Brain and nervous system Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Eye (not cataracts) Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Ear, nose and throat Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Tonsils, adenoids and grommets Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Bone, joint and muscle Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Joint reconstruction Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Kidney and bladder Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Male reproductive system Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Digestive system Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Hernia and appendix Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Gastrointestinal endoscopy Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Gynaecology Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Miscarriage and termination of pregnancy Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Pain management Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Skin Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Breast surgery (medically necessary) Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Diabetes management (excluding insulin pumps) Optional (restricted) Yes Yes Yes
Heart and vascular system Optional (restricted) Optional Yes Yes
Lung and chest Optional (restricted) Optional Yes Yes
Blood Optional (restricted) Optional Yes Yes
Back, neck and spine Optional (restricted) Optional Yes Yes
Plastic and reconstructive surgery (medically necessary) Optional (restricted) Optional Yes Yes
Dental surgery Optional (restricted) Optional Yes Yes
Podiatric surgery (provided by a registered podiatric surgeon)
Optional (restricted) Optional Yes Yes
Implantation of hearing devices Optional (restricted) Optional Yes Yes
Cataracts Optional (restricted) Optional Optional Yes
Joint replacements Optional (restricted) Optional Optional Yes
Dialysis for chronic kidney failure Optional (restricted) Optional Optional Yes
Pregnancy and birth Optional (restricted) Optional Optional Yes
Assisted reproductive services Optional (restricted) Optional Optional Yes
Weight loss surgery Optional (restricted) Optional Optional Yes
Pain management with device Optional (restricted) Optional Optional Yes
Sleep studies Optional (restricted) Optional Optional Yes

Source: – Product tiers

What’s not included in Bronze Cover?

While the Bronze tier includes many more treatments than Basic, it doesn’t cover as much as a Silver or Gold policy.

Bronze doesn’t usually include:9

  • heart and vascular system
  • lung and chest
  • blood
  • back, neck and spine
  • plastic and reconstructive surgery (medically necessary)
  • dental surgery
  • podiatric surgery (provided by a registered podiatric surgeon)
  • implantation of hearing devices
  • cataracts - gold
  • joint replacements
  • dialysis for chronic kidney failure
  • pregnancy and birth
  • assisted reproductive services
  • weight loss surgery
  • insulin pumps
  • pain management with device
  • sleep studies.

Insurers have the option to include additional treatment categories in a Bronze policy if they want to, but they’re not required to.10

Where can I compare Hospital Cover?

When it comes to finding the right Health Insurance to suit your needs, it’s worth doing your research. Lower levels of cover might appear to be more affordable, but they also come with a wide range of restrictions and exclusions that could end up costing you more in the long run.

Before you decide on the type of cover you need, you’ll probably want to ask questions, learn what each level of cover offers and get good advice.

If you need more information on Bronze Hospital Cover or want to find out more about Private Health Insurance, you can compare online or call 1800 784 772 and chat with one of our friendly team!

1  Product tiers
2 As above
3 Department of Health and Aged Care – Hospital cover and product tiers
4 AHM – Core bronze plus
5 Bupa – Bronze Plus Simple Hospital
6  Product tiers
7 As above
8 As above
9 As above
10 As above

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