What is private hospital cover?

Average customer rating: 4.3/5
Written by Joshua Malin
Reviewed by Steven Spicer
Updated 9 April 2024

Why take out hospital cover?

If you’re still unsure if a hospital policy is the right product for you, here are some of the common reasons Australians choose to take out this type of private health insurance cover.

  • When you have an elective surgery in the public system you will have to join a waiting list which, depending on your condition, could have you waiting more than a year for treatment.
  • While you could go to a private hospital without hospital insurance, the cost of hospital accommodation, theatre fees and doctors’ fees can be prohibitively expensive.
  • Depending on your health fund and policy, you could have access to a range of additional features like cover for in-hospital family accommodation/meals, or even travel expenses for essential treatment not available close to home.

Choosing your hospital cover policy

Once you’ve decided that a hospital policy is the right type of private health insurance cover for you, all that’s left to do is compare your options and find a policy that suits your personal circumstances.

Here are a few things you might like to consider while you browse:

  • If you’re under the age of 29, you might be eligible for an age-based discount, which is a discount that applies to your policy depending on the age you were when you first took out cover.
  • Hospital insurance isn’t the only type of private health cover in Australia, you might also want to consider extras cover. If you want the benefits of both hospital and extras, you can look into a combined policy.
  • Just because hospital insurance tiers are standardised in Australia, doesn’t mean all policies are the same. Health funds can still differ in their gap cover schemes, additional benefits/inclusions and whether they’re a for-profit or not-for-profit fund.

Expert tips for hospital cover

Our health insurance expert, Steven Spicer, has some tips on how to find a hospital insurance policy that works for you.

Steven Spicer
Executive General Manager – Health, Life & Energy

Don't skimp on cover

It can be tempting to get just ‘the basics’ when taking out health cover for yourself. To ensure you don’t find yourself underinsured, consider any previous hospital admissions you’ve had and your family’s medical history when looking at different levels of cover. Instead of sacrificing inclusions on your cover, consider increasing your excess to lower premium costs.

Compare your options

Shop around and do your research. Prices vary from fund to fund, and there are plenty of options to choose from. If you need assistance, speak to an expert, they are there to help!

Look for ambulance and accident cover

Many health funds cover hospital treatment as the result of an accident, along with ambulance cover with a zero or one-day waiting period after starting your hospital policy. It’s always a good idea to check the fund’s policy brochure for more details on their coverage and waiting periods.

Hospital cover

How does hospital cover work?

What does hospital cover include?

What is not covered by private health insurance?

Types of cover

What is the top hospital cover tier?

What is basic hospital cover?

Is ambulance covered by private health insurance?

Hospital insurance costs

Are there out-of-pocket costs with hospital insurance?

What is hospital cover excess?

What are hospital cover co-payments?

Is private hospital cover worth it?

Whether private hospital cover is worth it to you will depend on your individual circumstances. However, here are some of the main factors you’ll want to consider when deciding if you should take out cover.

You could be eligible for a rebate

Avoid extra tax

Avoid Lifetime Health Cover loading

Peace of mind

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.