Private health insurance waiting periods

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A guide to private health insurance waiting periods

Updated 2 April, 2024
Written by Joshua Malin
Reviewed by Steven Spicer

Waiting periods explained

Waiting periods explained by Dr Ginni Mansberg.
Dr Ginni Mansberg

How waiting periods work

When you first join a health fund or upgrade your policy, you will typically have to serve a waiting period before you can claim on your private health insurance policy for the services you gain.

While hospital waiting periods are standard across the industry, waiting periods for extras services vary between insurers, so refer to your policy documents for times you’ll have to wait before claiming on these.

Why is there a waiting period for health insurance?

How to use your private health insurance immediately

Waiting periods when you switch health insurance

Who sets the maximum private health insurance waiting periods?

Are there health funds with no waiting periods?

How do pre-existing conditions affect waiting periods?

Hospital cover waiting periods

The maximum waiting periods for hospital cover are set by the Australian Government and are typically the same across all health funds. It’s worth knowing what these waiting periods are so you know exactly when you can start claiming on your hospital policy.

What are the waiting periods for hospital cover?

Hospital insurance without waiting periods

How do waiting periods affect obstetrics?

Extras cover waiting periods

Waiting periods for extras cover are decided by the individual health funds, meaning they could vary greatly between insurers. Health funds may waive some extras waiting periods to encourage new members to sign up, so keep an eye out for these promotions.

What are the waiting periods for extras cover?

Extras insurance without waiting periods

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.

1 Private Health Insurance Ombudsman – ‘Waiting periods for private health insurance’ Accessed February 2023