Explore Health Insurance

Joshua MalinWritten by Joshua Malin
Reviewed by Lana Hambilton
Last updated 18/12/2023

Key takeaways

A single parent health insurance policy makes it easier to stay on top of your kid’s healthcare needs by giving you the option to avoid public hospital waiting lists, save on dental check-ups and more. Here are some things you need to know about health insurance for single parent families.

  • There are two types of health insurance, hospital and extras. You can choose the one that best suits you or get the best of both worlds with a combined policy.
  • While single parent health insurance will likely cost more than singles health insurance, you might qualify for a higher government rebate.
  • How long your dependants can stay on your health insurance depends on your policy but it could be anywhere between 18 and 31 years old.

Do I need single parent health insurance?

Health insurance for single parents can ensure that you and your children have access to both private hospital services and out of hospital extras services. With a health insurance policy, you can take advantage of great benefits such as:

  • Cheaper private hospital visits and the ability to avoid public waiting lists
  • A choice of treating doctor and your own private room (subject to availability)
  • Claim a rebate on a range of valuable out of hospital services that Medicare doesn’t pay a benefit towards


Choosing cover as a single parent

If you’re a single parent looking for a health insurance policy that works for you, one of the best things you can do is compare your options. With that in mind, here are a few things you might want to look for while you browse:

  • There are some policies that have added benefits for children, like no excess hospital admissions or no gap dental for kids.
  • If you don’t already have a separate ambulance cover policy or subscription, you may want to consider whether you need a policy that includes cover for non-emergency and/or emergency ambulances.
  • Many family policies include annual policy limits for certain extras. This means the claim limit is shared by everyone covered on the policy.

Executive General Manager of Health Life and Energy

Expert tips for finding the right single parent health insurance

Our health insurance expert, Steven Spicer, has put together some tips on how to find great value cover as a single parent.

Shop around and do your research

Prices vary from fund to fund and there are plenty of cover options to choose from. If you need assistance, speak to one of our experts, they are here to help!

Tailor your excess

An excess is an amount that you agree to pay towards the cost of hospital treatment in exchange for lower premiums. The great news is, there are some products that don’t charge an excess for a dependant if they’re admitted to hospital. This isn’t available on all policies, so it’s best to speak to an expert or your health fund for more information.

Check how long dependants can be covered

Some health funds will allow your dependants to stay on your policy longer than others, with a few covering your dependants until they’re 31, even if they’re not studying full time. Depending on your dependents age and situation, keeping them on your policy may come at an additional cost.

Types of health insurance

Single dad with health insurance for single parents

Hospital cover

From bumps and tumbles to chronic or unexpected illnesses, there’s always a chance that your child may end up in hospital, no matter how careful you are. Having an appropriate level of private hospital cover gives you peace of mind and choice if something happens.

The hospital services you’ll be insured for will depend on your level of cover. Hospital cover is divided into four tiers: Basic, Bronze, Silver and Gold, each covering a broader range of clinical categories (e.g. a standard Bronze hospital policy includes 18 unrestricted clinical categories and 3 restricted clinical categories, while a Gold hospital policy includes all 38). Certain policies may also include select categories from the tier above, and these are known as ‘Plus’ or ‘+’ policies (e.g. a Silver Plus policy could cover joint replacement, but not weight loss surgery).

Keep in mind that your health insurance will not cover private emergency room fees since you’re not technically admitted to hospital. Your single parent health insurance will come into effect once you’re admitted to the hospital or need further surgery following your emergency room visit.

Extras cover

As a single parent, it can be hard to predict your child’s needs as they grow. You might need to pay for out of hospital services such as glasses, speech therapy, physiotherapy or even orthodontic work. These upfront costs can be substantial, and since they don’t require inpatient hospital treatment, a hospital insurance policy will not pay a benefit. However, extras cover (sometimes called general treatment) may help with these costs.

Thankfully, some general dental costs for children are partially covered by Medicare until they turn 17.1 However, you might still want to consider extras cover for preventative or major dental, which could save you money in the long run.

Extras family cover is subject to various limits such as per person and annual limits, so make sure you know exactly what’s included before claiming for extras services, as there is a good chance you’ll still have some out-of-pocket costs.


Costs and rebates

Do single parents pay extra for health insurance?

Yes, private health insurance policies for single parents will cost more than single adult policies. This is where single parent health insurance differs from a family policy, since couples can often add dependents at no additional cost. However, health insurance for single parents still typically costs less than a two-parent family policy.

Can I get rebates for my single parent health insurance?

When you take out private hospital or extras cover in Australia, you may be eligible to claim the Private Health Insurance Rebate, depending on your income. This rebate allows you to either receive a lower premium for your health insurance or claim a percentage of your premiums back at tax time.

The rebate you’re entitled to is based on the income threshold you fall under and your age. As a single parent, your income is tested by the family thresholds, so if you earn under $186,000, you’ll be eligible for the highest possible rebate for your age.


More information

Single mother and daughter with health insurance for single parents

What should I do if I’m separating from my partner?

If you’re separating from your partner and you’re on a family policy, you’ll both need to move to singles policies instead. However, for dependant/s to be covered, one of you will need to take out a single parent policy. You can then request an additional membership card to give to your co-parent so they can take your child to any medical appointments like dentists or the physio.

If you’re in the process of separating from your partner, there are a couple of other things you should keep in mind regarding health insurance:

  • Waiting periods. You won’t need to re-serve your waiting periods when you switch to an equal (or lower) level of hospital insurance cover, provided you’ve already completed those waiting periods previously and you switch to your new policy within a set number of days as nominated by the fund.
  • Switching could save you money. Moving from a family health insurance policy to a single parent policy can typically be done through a simple phone call and won’t incur any additional fees. Switching to single parent cover could also affect your eligibility for the Australian Government Rebate, as you’ll still fall under the family income threshold but your partner’s income will no longer be combined.

Are my children covered under my singles health insurance?

Your health insurance can cover your children, but you’ll have to change to a single parent policy if you currently have singles health cover. If you’re looking to switch over, an easy way to do this is by using our free health insurance comparison service.

Can I get health insurance just for my children?

Some health funds might offer policies just for your children. However, you should consider including yourself in any policy you purchase since your health is also important to your family. What’s more, most health insurance providers offer policies for single parent families, so this would probably be a simpler option than children-only cover.

How long does my single parent health insurance cover my children?

This will depend on your policy, but your children can often stay on your single parent health insurance cover until they turn 21. However, some health funds allow dependants to stay on their parent’s policy up to the age of 31.

In some cases, your dependent child must be studying full-time to be covered for the maximum age limit without incurring an additional cost, so it’s a good idea to check with your health fund for the terms and conditions that apply to you.

Executive General Manager of Health Life and Energy

Meet our health insurance expert, Steven Spicer

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.

Steven has 20 years of experience as a people-first business leader, with a focus on creating services that put customers first.


1 Australian Government Department of Human Services. Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

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