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Elderly people find it hardest to cope with the health insurance price rise

3 min read
25 Apr 2018

New research reveals that many of the postcodes paying the most for their private health insurance are favoured by elderly people who survive on fixed incomes that are less than half the national median income.

We’ve analysed a year’s worth of our sales data across Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, to pinpoint the postcodes that pay the most for their health insurance and yet have some of the lowest monthly household incomes.

For example, Brisbane’s Bribie Island which has a huge retirement community pays 50% more for their health insurance compared to their city’s overall average. Looking to Melbourne, and Dingley Village residents could be paying 45% more for their health cover.

An independent survey of 500 respondents conducted by showed that:

  • 67% of over 65s struggle to afford private health insurance as the cost increases each year
  • 46% say they actively cut back on other costs (such as groceries and holidays) to be able to afford health cover
  • 36% of respondents said private health insurance is more important than their car insurance


Case studies available:

Lynn & Sandra Smith – Toongabbie (near Wetherill Park), Sydney

Lynn and Sandra are a talkative older couple (73 & 70 years old) who are very reliant on their health cover due to numerous operations and surgeries they have had in the past. They are on a limited income and struggle with the cost but have recently managed to save $240 a year by switching policies through They would like to share their advice on how to save with people in similar situations.


Michelle Hanton – Bribie Island, Brisbane

Michelle is in her 60s and lives with her adult children in order to keep costs down so she can help look after her elderly parents. She struggles with the cost of private health insurance but is committed to having top cover as she says her health insurance helped her beat her battle with breast cancer.

Michelle has top cover with Medibank. has found her a similar top level policy with a $500 excess that would see her save $294 per year.


Top tips for seniors include:

  1. Make sure you use government rebates and concessions: As you get older, the amount you receive from the rebate increases. Additionally, once you turn 65, you may qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. This is a concession card for seniors to subside the cost of medical treatments and services.


  1. Shift your health priorities:The older we become, the more our health and lifestyle priorities begin to change. This means our health policy should also adapt to change with us. Services such as pregnancy won’t be applicable to older people and so they should drop this service from their policy and add treatments that they might need to be covered for, which could include joint replacement (hips, knees, etc.), prostheses, and cardiac surgery. Furthermore, pregnancy is usually bundled into top level cover, so it’s important if this service is no longer required to shop around for a policy where it is excluded and save on costs.


  1. Adjust your policy to fit your lifestyle:Take a look at the type of health policy you are currently on; does it reflect your marital status or living situation? For example, if you’re still covered by a family health policy but you’re paying extra to have your children on the policy and your situation has changed, it might be time to consider switching to a couple or singles policy, which may be more affordable.

It’s important to adapt your health cover as your living situation or marital status changes. This can save you a lot of money down the track.

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avatar of author: Hannah Twiggs

Written by Hannah Twiggs

Hannah (or Twiggs as she's known by most of her colleagues) is a non-stop talker, avid snack eater, dog lover and passionate writer. When she's not chatting to journalists or writing up new story angles, Hannah enjoys a good Netflix binge, going away camping with friends and big brunches - preferably with extra bacon.

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