Edit: New readers to this topic can join it as of January 2023 by clicking here.
Choosing health insurance is one of the most complex areas for consumers. A lot of people waste good money on health insurance because they don’t use it, or they haven’t chosen the right policy for their needs.
So, we’ve created a comparison tool that provides easy to understand personalised results. We don’t give each policy an overall score, but a “match” score to indicate how well it matches your needs as entered in the tool.
Please let us know what you think. Your feedback will help us make our health insurance comparison even better.
Find the best match for you. Compare health insurance (member only content).
The tool compares to the “compare policies” at privatehealth.gov.au, The Choice tool is certainly “slicker” but does not appear to provide anything additional.
The inclusions at Choice are “pretty printed” while privatehealth.gov.au just displays the statutory summary page, and both seem to deliver the same/closely similar information.
Privatehelath.gov.au has a filter to show “additional policies” that might not precisely tick the boxes selected, to show “near misses” that could still be one’s top choice on a price/performance basis. Choice shows scores that probably displays the same function in a different way.
Privatehealth.gov.au can compare “their policies” from a search to your actual current cover product for those looking to shop or confirm from their current cover.
In the end one needs to read the details of any cover and both are excellent places to start.
I used privatehealth.gov.au a few months ago and the policy it showed as being one of the tops for us likewise came in at the top group with the Choice tool.
I don’t see Defence Health in the comparisons … or did I miss it?
Hi @draughtrider, we’ll be adding restricted funds, including Defence Health at the end of July. I’ll update this post when new features like this are released.
@draughtrider - you may have already seen this but just in case, we also have this review of restricted health funds (member content).
@draughtrider we now include restricted funds in the tool if you’d like to see how Defence Health compares in our health insurance comparison
I love this. If I could put my current policy up alongside the others it would be worth the Choice membership cost on its own. (Yes I know I can look at my policy’s SIS, but the benefit here is the side-by-side, apples-to-apples comparison.)
I have some questions though:
- in, for example, “Medibank Growing Family 60 Extras”, the cover for braces is 100%, with an annual maximum of $100 per person. Really? So the actual cover is $100. Or are braces excluded from the $100 limit, perhaps? How can I find out?
- also in orthodontic, is “lifetime limit” per person or per policy? Someone with more than one or two kids could burn through a $1200 lifetime limit on orthdontic pretty quickly.
- my current hospital cover’s SIS says “almost 9 out of 10 medical services paid for by this provider…have no out of pocket expenses.” I suppose this corresponds to the “gap cover” rating in the Choice chart. How does it compare?
- all the per month costs have an asterisk * but I can’t find what the asterisk means. Before rebates?
Thanks for the kind words, @MichaelAB! We agree that a compare my policy feature would be great; it’s definitely on our vision board.
I’ve written a piece on orthodontics in health insurance which should be going online this week (and in the August magazine along with our recommendations for the best extras for braces). Hopefully it’ll be useful for you, but to answer your questions:
Medibank’s orthodontic benefits increase the longer you’re with the policy. In year 2 (3 if you have to serve the waiting period) you can claim $200, $300 in year 3, etc eventually up to $1200. This practice is pretty common, but we can’t capture it in our database, and in any case we think you shouldn’t have to stick with a policy for a decade to receive the full benefit - who knows what the premium will be like then! That’s why we show the benefit you can get in the first year. We put the 100% in because sometimes funds have extra sublimits (60% up to $X, for example).
Lifetime limits are per person. However, they do take into account any claim you made on a previous policy, so don’t think you can max out a claim on one policy and switch over to another. Even with one kid I’m pretty sure you’ll burn through that $1200 pretty quickly! (Some policies do have per policy annual limits, which can trip you up if you’ve got two kids on braces at the same time - these are rare but something to look out for.)
That “9 out of 10” figure uses the same underlying data as our gap cover rating. We think the SIS simplifies it a bit, because “almost 9 out of 10” gives no context around whether this is good or bad compared to other funds. It sounds pretty good, but let’s say you’re in Tasmania, where 90.1% of services have no gap - suddenly that’s pretty average. Our ratings take into account how the fund performs against the market - we think it’s important to have that context rather than a rough figure with nothing to compare it against.
If you’ve answered the questions about the rebate in the questionnaire it will show you the price with the rebate applied. I think the asterisk was a holdover from before we were calculating the rebate and now doesn’t refer to anything - thanks for bringing this to my attention, I’ll remove it.
Worth the price of entry right there.
Only problem is, it bundles cover for cancer treatment in with ‘general hospital’ which can itself be extremely variable. With one in three people getting cancer, it feels like it should be it’s own subsection.
On a related note, it would be nice if the comparison section for general hospital cover did at least say something like ‘30/150 possible treatments covered’. That seems like it would help narrow down which further policies should be examined?
Thanks for the feedback @Vonnible, I’ll be sure to pass it on to our staff working on health insurance.
Hello Choice. I have just spent 15 mins on my health fund web site (HCF) to try to identify the new rating for my policy (gold, silver or bronze). I cannot find it. How do I check this out ?
By the way, my policy is Mid Hospital $500 Excess With HCF Lifestyle Extras. Is there an easy way to find where this policy rates in your comparison ?
LOL! I just used the tool. No results at all for my needs. I guess I’m too decrepit for anyone to want to insure me!
Hi @mike111 your current policy is still in the old system so that’s why you can’t see which tier it belongs to. We’d recommend contacting HCF to find out when they’ll migrate your policy and to what tier. All policies need to be in the new system by 1st April 2020.
You won’t be able to find your exact policy in our health insurance comparison tool because we only display policies in the new system but you’ll be able to see comparable hospital only policies by selecting ‘Specific cover for my health needs’ and choosing treatments that you want cover for.
We’ll be adding extras policies to the comparison tool in a few weeks time.
Hi @SueW what would you like cover for?
Its easier to say what I don’t need: gynaecological stuff, and psychiatry. Oh and anything to do with gym/health memberships.
Hi @SueW cover for hospital psychiatric services is only covered under gold tier policies. All bronze, silver and gold policies include cover for gynaecology even if it’s something you don’t need to be covered for. There are basic policies which may not include cover for gynaecology but then you may not be covered for treatments you do need.
Gold even though it may cover these services may be the most appropriate one for you if you think you may need joint replacements, and many other age related services. I still see all PHI as a national waste of money but that is another matter covered elsewhere on this site.
Yeah I only used the tool out of curiosity. I did not think for one minute that I would find anything useful. I have been paying for own dentistry and optical for years, ditto physio as needed, and other than that its medicare. Age pension isnt the best for affording PHI, otoh having a card means i get other benefits. If ever I need my hip replaced, I will be on avery long waiting list. Thats why I try to prepare in advance for medical stuff when I see it looming.
Hip replacement if you really think it is needed (hopefully talking never or sometime way distant time in to the future) can many times be accelerated as for Waiting Times by having contact with firstly the Hospital complaints management and then contact with your State member. Most here though are dealt with reasonably quickly once a person gets over about 60…maybe because of grey power but whatever reason it seems to happen.