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? Good. Chances are you’re not going to need a hip replacement in a hurry.

Roughly 11.2 million Aussies had some form of private health insurance in 2019, according to the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA).[i] However, consider that young Aussies only represent 10.92% of all insured persons (excluding extras):

Proportion of single young Australians with private hospital or combined hospital and extras cover

Sources: Private Health Insurance Membership and Benefits Statistics September 2019. Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, Australian Government. 2019.
31010.0 Australian Demographic Statistics: TABLE 59. Estimated Resident Population By Single Year of Age, Australia. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Government. 2019.
2071.0 Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia – Stories from the Census, 2016 – Snapshot of Australia. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Government. 2017.
Note: couples in ABS data are defined as “two people usually residing in the same household who share a social, economic and emotional bond usually associated with marriage and who consider their relationship to be a marriage or marriage-like union. This relationship is identified by the presence of a registered marriage or de facto marriage.”[2] As such, unregistered social relationships and dating aren’t taken into account, which can affect statistics.

As the table shows, 42.38% of single Australians aged 20 to 30 years old have private hospital insurance or a combined hospital and extras policy.

So, you might ask, as a young single person, do you need health insurance? We’d be happy to explain why it’s a smart idea!

Why get health insurance when you’re young and single?

Say you play basketball. You pivot on the court and your cruciate ligament tears. Ouch! Your GP refers you on 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 the waiting list.

If you’re covered by private hospital cover, you can avoid public queues and jump straight into treatment as a private patient. You know what that means? Less waiting (potentially), and you could get back in shape faster.

A young single looking at health insurance on a laptop

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). Without private hospital cover, say goodbye to the ability to choose your surgeon!

Extras cover also helps pay your bills for certain things that Medicare doesn’t cover; like dental, optical, physiotherapy and more. Look at it this way: depending on what extras policy you choose, you might be able to grab a new pair of trendy prescription glasses each year, and your insurer helps cover the cost (if not, the entire thing).

Insurance isn’t too expensive for young Aussies

One thing we hear from many young Australians is, “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, you could save up to 10% off your hospital policy.
  • Whether or not you have the age-based discount, you’ll receive a Government rebate on your insurance premiums, provided you earn less than $140,000per year.
  • Taking out and maintaining a hospital policy by your 31st birthday will help you avoid the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading being applied to a hospital policy if you wish to take it out later in life.

For roughly $20 per week*, you could have a level of hospital cover that includes cover for Bone, Joint and Muscle treatment, 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. Policies included Basic +, 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 25.059% are included in the price. Accurate as of 22/1/20.

What about out of pocket expenses?

Even with high levels of cover, you could face out-of-pocket expenses when paying for medical treatment 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 know 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 which combines both hospital and extras cover together?

If we look again at APRA’s Private Health Insurance Membership and Benefits Statistics report, we can see that, as of September 2019, the majority of Australian singles (3,282,049) opted for extras cover only.[3] Many also chose a combined hospital and extras cover policy (2,647,496), leaving only 4,051 Australian singles who took out a hospital only policy.

Young singles insurance level ratios

Source: Private Health Insurance Membership and Benefits Statistics September 2019. Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, Australian Government. 2019.

With extras cover helping out with common medical expenses like dental, physio,  psychology, prescribed medications that aren’t on the PBS, optical and even gym memberships, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular product.

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, and that might mean you don’t necessarily just go for the cheapest policy.

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.

What about ambulance cover?

Imagine if you slip down the stairs or had a fall when hiking, and you needed to get to hospital immediately. You might think that ambulances, just like hospital treatment through the public health system, don’t cost you anything – but that isn’t typically the case.

Queenslanders have 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 cover 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. 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.

Compare health insurance through our free comparison service today.

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 would 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.

Compare health insurance through our free comparison service today.

Can a young single parent get singles health insurance?

Health insurance for single parents is actually 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.

As all different family types, 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 more expensive than singles health insurance. This does mean that your child won’t be able to use the benefits of your private health insurance.

Compare health insurance through our free comparison service today.

Is couples health insurance cheaper than singles?

Couples health insurance usually isn’t any cheaper or more expensive than singles insurance, 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 insurance, life insurance, and even income protection insurance may have a disparity in premium prices between woman and men, health insurance premiums are the same for both genders.

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.

Here’s to gender equality in health insurance!

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.


[1] Private Health Insurance Membership and Benefits Statistics September 2019. Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, Australian Government. 2019.

[2] Couple relationships. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Government. 2016.

[3] Private Health Insurance Membership and Benefits Statistics September 2019. Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, Australian Government. 2019.

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.

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