Explore Health Insurance

Okay, so you’re young, not even thinking about starting a family yet, and – apart from a few bumps and bruises along the way – you’re in pretty good shape. Right? Chances are you’re not going to need a hip replacement in a hurry, but even if you’re young, there’s every chance you’ll still need health insurance at some point.

Roughly 11.4 million Aussies had some form of private health insurance in 2020, according to the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA), but only around 8% of those are ‘young Australians’ aged between 20 and 30.[1]

If you’re a young single person, you might ask yourself: do I need health insurance? We’ll explain the pros and cons of getting health insurance as a young single.

Getting singles cover when you’re young

Say you play a sport. You pivot on the court or field and suddenly your cruciate ligament tears. Ouch! Your GP refers you for surgery. While it’s serious (and painful) enough to require treatment, it isn’t a high enough priority operation to jump to the top of hospital waiting lists.

If you’re covered by private hospital cover, you can avoid long queues at a public hospital and jump straight into treatment as a private patient.

A young single looking at health insurance on a laptop

Health insurance is also useful in cases where you might need treatment from a specialist. With private hospital cover, you can choose your own specialists or stay in a private room for your recovery (provided that one is available).

Depending on your level of cover, health insurance can also help pay your bills for certain extras services that Medicare doesn’t cover, like:

And more. With a good extras policy, you might be able to grab a new pair of trendy prescription glasses each year, and your insurer helps cover part of the cost (if not, the entire thing). But more generally speaking, health insurance can give you peace of mind, even if you think you’ll never need it. Because you never know!

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Insurance isn’t too expensive for young Aussies

A lot of younger Australians tend to say “I can’t afford health insurance”. Sure, you may be studying, or just starting out in your career, and you may not be earning big dollars yet. To you, we say this:

  • In 2019, the Government implemented an age-based discount on hospital policies for Australians aged 18 to 29. Depending on your age at the time of purchase, you could save up to 10% off your hospital policy. If you maintain eligible hospital cover you will retain this discount until you turn 41, when it will be gradually reduced by 2% each year.
  • Whether or not you have the age-based discount, you’ll receive a Government rebate on your insurance premiums, provided you earn less than $140,000 per year as a single or $280,000 as a family.
  • Taking out and maintaining a hospital policy by the 1 July following your 31st birthday will help you avoid the Lifetime Health Cover loading(LHC) being applied to a hospital policy if you wish to take it out later in life. That’s an extra 2% on your premiums every year that you wait before then.

For roughly $20 per week*, you could have a level of hospital cover that includes cover for Bone, Joint and Muscle clinical category, among other things. Isn’t that worth it when one little stumble could not only leave you broken and sore but also out of pocket?

* Average price calculated from policies available through Compare the Market for a 24-year-old single Queenslander earning under $90,000 a year choosing to compare hospital cover for Bone, Joint and Muscle clinical category. Policies included Bronze and Bronze+, using annual premiums which provided an average annual premium that was then divided weekly. Discounts (if any) and the Government Rebate of 24.608% are included in the price. Accurate as of 5/11/21.

What about out of pocket expenses?

Even with high levels of cover, you could face out-of-pocket costs when paying for medical treatments and making a claim. These are often known as gap payments.

However, health insurers have partnerships with certain doctors and hospitals and offer no-gap or known-gap cover. This means that, so long as you are treated by a doctor, or in a hospital, that has an agreement with your health insurer, you will be aware of your out-of-pocket expenses beforehand. You might even have no gap payment at all!

Bear in mind, there might still be other fees, like an excess or co-payment, depending on your policy.

What’s the best health insurance for young singles?

There is no single best health insurance policy for young adults, as there are a lot of options to choose from that provide cover for different treatments and levels of care.

Should you opt for hospital cover or extras-only cover? Or maybe you should go all-in and get a bundled policy that combines both hospital and extras cover together?

With extras cover supporting medical expenses like dental, physio, psychology, prescribed medications that aren’t on the PBS, optical and sometimes even gym memberships, extras-only or hospital and extras cover has historically been more popular than hospital-only policies.

Still, there are benefits to all types of health insurance, regardless of your age, so it’s important to consider what’s best for you.

For example, consider the following:

  • Do you need prescription glasses? Extras cover can help out with optometry needs.
  • Engaged in lots of physical or contact sports? Some sports come with a higher risk of injury, so a combined hospital policy and extras cover which includes physiotherapy might come in handy.
  • Planning a family? While you’re young and single, children might seem far from your mind, but bear in mind hospital cover for pregnancy and assisted-reproduction services have a 12-month waiting period.

Also consider the annual limits and exclusions the policy has.

What about ambulance cover?

Ambulance cover varies across Australia. Queenslanders have access to free ambulance rides across Australia, while Tasmanians get free trips in an ambulance if they are in Tasmania (and a few select other states).

War veterans with a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Gold Card also receive free ambulance services across Australia, while pensioners and concession cardholders get free or subsided ambulance trips, depending on which state they’re in.

For everyone else, ambulances come at a cost, and that cost can be quite expensive.

Regardless of your age, you should consider ambulance cover. Ambulance cover is generally included in a hospital or extras health policy but can be taken out as a standalone private health product with some funds.

Frequently asked questions

Are there waiting periods before I can use my singles health policy?

Waiting periods apply for both hospital cover and extras cover, regardless of whether your health insurance is a young single’s policy or not. Extras cover waiting periods differ between providers, but hospital insurance waiting periods are set by the government.

Depending on the specific treatment, you might face waiting periods of a couple of months or a whole year or more. This information should be provided in the PDS of any policy so you know how long you’ll have to wait before you can make a claim.

There are some health funds that will waive waiting periods on extras cover as a part of special offers, although these are usually for shorter periods (i.e. two months).

I’m on my parent’s policy. Can I get health insurance for myself?

If you’re a young adult on your parents’ family health insurance policy, you may have to be taken off your parents’ policy before you can take out your own cover. This might be necessary if you’re still under the age limit for dependants on a policy, typically 21 or 25, but aren’t eligible due to a change in your circumstances.

Changes like moving into a full-time job or finishing your tertiary studies mean you’ll need to take out your own health insurance policy.

Can a young single parent get singles health insurance?

Health insurance for single parents is covered by a Single Parent Family policy. All health insurers will provide hospital cover and extras for single parents, so the parent and child is covered in the same way as a family policy.

You can still choose to be covered by a single policy if it’s only yourself that you’re wanting cover for (or if your child is already covered on someone else’s policy), as single-parent family policies are usually more expensive than singles health insurance. But this does mean that your child won’t be able to use the benefits of your private health insurance.

Is couples health insurance cheaper than singles?

Couples health insurance usually isn’t any cheaper or more expensive than two identical singles insurance policies, but the added benefit is that it’s just easier sometimes for some couples to share everything – even their health insurance policy.

Covering both partners under one policy and provider means it is easier to keep on top of payments and benefits and gives the added advantage of knowing you’re both covered for the same things when you need to use your health insurance.

Compare health insurance through our free comparison service today.

Are health insurance premiums cheaper for young single males or females?

Although other types of insurance like car insurancelife insurance, and even income protection insurance may have a disparity in premium prices between women and men, health insurance premiums are the same for both genders (in the same state).

If you were to compare health insurance right now for a young single female and a young single male, insurers will offer the same premiums. The only difference you may find between young females or males seeking and comparing health insurance is a variance in recommended policies to cater for your own personal health needs.

A gym with young people keeping fit and focusing on their health

What young singles should remember when choosing health insurance

If you want to get ahead of the game when it comes to health insurance, comparing policies to find a policy that has the coverage you want might help you find a better deal. Reviewing policies sounds like the smart choice, but it also sounds time-consuming and difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be!

Comparing health insurance for young singles with us can save you time and make things much easier. You’ll even see which policies have the age-based discount, so start your search today.

Anthony Fleming, General Manager

Meet our health insurance expert, Anthony Fleming

As General Manager for Health Insurance and Life Insurance here at Compare the Market, Anthony Fleming has a passion for helping people find the right health insurance policy for their needs. With incentives like the Age-Based Discount, he believes young people can find great value in health insurance when an accident or illness gets in the way of them living their best life.

Anthony has over 17 years’ experience working in various roles across the health and general insurance industries. He’s also a Board Member of the Private Health Insurance Intermediaries Association and has appeared on Sunrise and Channel Seven News on behalf of Compare the Market.

Here are Anthony’s top tips for young singles looking for health insurance

1: Look for perks in your policy

Some insurers offer complimentary well-being and discount programs as part of your health insurance. These programs often entitle you to many additional benefits such as discounts on shopping, movies and even flights. These great benefits can help offset some of the costs of your premiums.

2: Can you stay on your parents’ policy?

If you are in the position of coming off your parent’s policy as you are no longer studying, there is the possibility you could stay on longer with an alternative insurer. There are some funds that could cover you until 25 even if you’re not studying full time. It might be worth your parents comparing their options to find a better deal.

3: Consider helping out older Australians

Young people are a critical piece to the private health insurance ecosystem. Their involvement offsets the drawdown by older adults who are more likely to claim on costly procedures (i.e. joint replacements). This means young people are indirectly helping reduce premiums paid by older Australians and reducing the pressure on the public health system at the same time. If this is you, thanks for helping!


[1] Private Health Insurance Membership and Benefits Statistics, Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, Australian Government, 2020.

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