Private health insurance for women’s health

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A guide to health insurance for women

Updated March 19, 2024
Written by Joshua Malin
Reviewed by Steven Spicer

How does private health insurance work?

In Australia, private health insurance is divided into two parts: extras and hospital cover. You can take them out separately as standalone policies or bundle them into combined hospital and extras cover.

Extras cover offers many out-of-hospital health services that Medicare doesn’t subsidise, including dental check-upsopticalphysio and more.

On the other hand, hospital cover can pay towards surgeries as a private patient, such as pregnancy and birth-related services, gynaecology and medically-necessary breast surgery.

Bear in mind that hospital insurance is categorised into four different tiersBasicBronzeSilver and Gold. Both the procedures you’re covered for, and your insurance premiums will differ depending on the level of cover you choose.

You also may have to hold your health insurance policy for a set amount of time, known as a waiting period, before you can claim on the services included on your policy.

Expert tips on health insurance for women

Our health insurance expert, Steven Spicer, has some tips to help women find a health insurance policy that works for them.

Steven Spicer
Executive General Manager – Health, Life & Energy

Consider cover for pregnancy early

If you’re considering starting a family soon, it’s a good idea to take out hospital cover for pregnancy and birth early. This is because you’ll be required to serve a 12-month waiting period for pregnancy and birth-related services, so it’s ideal to have cover in place before you start trying. Having a hospital policy that includes pregnancy and birth can help to pay for the cost of private care such as accommodation, labour ward costs and doctor’s fees.

Health insurance gives you more choice

Private hospital insurance can help improve the quality of your healthcare options. Having cover allows for more choice and control of who, when and where you are treated. This could mean that you don’t find yourself on a lengthy public waiting list.

Consider your options

Shop around and do your research when looking for a policy. Prices vary from fund to fund and there are plenty of options to choose from. If you need assistance, speak to an expert; they’re there to help!

Maternal, sexual and reproductive health

private health insurance plan can make a big difference when it comes to maternal and reproductive health. While it won’t pay towards out-of-hospital tests for sexually transmitted diseases, it can pay a benefit towards inpatient hospital treatment.

The benefits of health insurance for pregnant women

Health insurance for women with fertility problems

Health insurance for women who aren’t planning on having children

Chronic conditions and preventive health

On average, women have the largest percentage of disability-adjusted life years (a measure of the burden of disease) due to living with a disease.5 Of that, nearly half of women’s total burden of disease is from cancer, musculoskeletal conditions and cardiovascular disease. With an appropriate private health insurance policy, you can receive inpatient treatment for these conditions in a private hospital and access some preventative tests, scans and screenings.

Health insurance for women with cancer

Healthy ageing

Older women with health insurance

Because Australian women live longer, it becomes more important to focus on healthy ageing to improve the quality of life during your later years. One of the biggest contributors to your health as you age is your lifestyle decisions while you’re young.

Only two in five Australian women meet the minimum activity requirement recommended by Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, and three in five are considered overweight or obese.5 Also, while women generally drink and smoke less than men, one in nine women still smoke daily and just over one tenth drink enough to put them at a lifetime risk of an alcohol-related disease or injury.

With that said, you might want to consider an extras health insurance policy that offers lifestyle or wellness benefits such as:

  • Gym memberships
  • Approved weight loss programs
  • Programs for quitting smoking
  • Dietitian or nutritionist consultations.

Extras can also cover Cancer Council products, stress management courses and other preventative health benefits, depending on your health fund and policy.

Mental health

It’s estimated that one in five Australian women will experience depression at some point in their lives, while one in three will experience anxiety.5 Women are also more than twice as likely to suffer from an eating disorder than their male counterparts.

With private health insurance, hospital psychiatric services can be included on some hospital policies, while out-of-hospital psychology appointments can be included on some extras cover. You can also take advantage of extras health insurance to help pay for non-PBS pharmaceuticals if you happen to be prescribed a medication that isn’t covered by the PBS.

More health insurance information

Can I get cover if I have a pre-existing condition?

What are the waiting periods for health insurance services?

Does it cost money to add my children to my health policy?

When should you get private health insurance?

Meet our health insurance expert, Steven Spicer

Steven Spicer
Executive General Manager – Health, Life & Energy

As the Executive General Manager of Health, Life and Energy, Steven Spicer is a strong believer in the benefits of private cover and knows just how valuable the peace of mind that comes with cover can be. He is passionate about demystifying the health insurance industry and advocates for the benefits of comparison when it comes to saving money on your premiums.

Want to know more about health insurance?

1 OECD Statistics, Health status, Life expectancy for women born in 2020. Accessed November 2023.

2 Australian Government Department of Health, National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030. Accessed November 2023.

3 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s mothers and babies. Updated March 2023.

4 Health Direct, Abortion – surgical and medical options. Updated September 2023.

5 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The health of Australia’s females. Updated June 2023.