"Do I Need Health Insurance?" service

Hi everyone, Justin here from CHOICE.

We quietly released a new tool last week called Do I Need Health Insurance?

Understanding the value of private health insurance is tricky, and this is especially the case for younger people, where the incentives for taking out private health insurance are more financial than health related.

By answering a few questions in the tool, we tell users if they’ll save money with private health insurance and cut through the jargon like:

  • What Medicare does and doesn’t cover,
  • What changes tax-wise when you turn 31, and
  • How to avoid wasting money

You can get to it by going to www.doineedhealthinsurance.com.au

This is the first version of the tool and we we will continue to refine it over the coming months as we learn how it’s being used.

Check it out - we’d love to hear what you think.



@JustinFarrell it’s a very neat site and very easy to use with lots of readily accessible cross referenced material. Congratulations! One thing I didn’t see was reference to industry funds e.g. If you a teacher your spouse, children, parents and grandchilren can join Teachers Federation Health which is quite competitive.

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I used the tool and found it quite helpful with much of the information usefully explained.

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I used the tool on my phone. I found it answered the question " do I need health insurance for tax purposes " rather than whether I would actually benefit from the insurance itself. This is useful but not the same thing perhaps.
Also the question " do you have health insurance now " (I forget the exact wording) confused me a bit as we have extras but not hospital ( though I agree with


Hi Albie - it’s a very good fund. I am a member. Just a couple of points - it is called Teachers Health Fund (no “Federation” in the name). Also, all who work in education are eligible to join - not just teachers and their families. Cheers.

@rod63 Cool. Thanks for the additional information. What I was trying to get across was that it was not just for teachers but their close relatives as well. So more fuel for the fire! Thanks again!

Thanks for the feedback everyone, glad to hear people found it useful. If anyone is looking for CHOICE’s reviews of restricted fund policies you can find them here [$].

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for your feedback, it’s helpful to hear about your experience using it and what you were expecting.

Quick note to jenmdean regarding the other benefits of insurance. Below the main answer we’ve compared other reasons you might want to consider private health insurance, including choice of doctor and shorter waiting lists. It also runs through a few of the common myths related to health insurance such as pregnancy and extras.

Once again, thanks for the feedback. We’ll keep it in mind for future versions of the tool.


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I just went through your tool, already knowing that I cannot get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions and that I would get a hefty age penalty as I am an old-age pensioner and way over 31. It actually told me that maybe health cover would be a good idea for me! I doubt I could even afford the premium!


I’ve recently received an e-mail from Medibank telling me they are putting up my premiums yet again. This time I am seriously questioning whether I should opt out. So am looking forward to using your tool.
I’m now retired, so not the young person you think will benefit from this assessment. What I am asking myself is why would I choose to go to hospital; it feels like choosing to become sick! What need will I have to attend inpatient other than a crisis, and if so what are the pros and cons of going private? Surely Medicare, rather than Medibank, will be my crisis choice? On Radio National only a couple of days ago, they were saying that having private health cover for non hospital use (Ancillaries), is a no brainer, don’t do it! This is where the insurance companies know they will make money, ie, like casinos it is a guaranteed loser for punters!
Would welcome your thoughts.

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Tool works well on a tablet and agrees with our old-fashioned calculator and notebook assessment.


Hi @longinthetooth, apart from our www.doineedhealthinsurance.com.au tool, we’ve also set out some pros and cons of health insurance that might help. Best of luck getting it sorted.

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Hi everyone,

With health insurance premiums on the rise again, now’s a good time to retake our quiz at https://www.doineedhealthinsurance.com.au/

We launched an updated version of the tool in February and we’ll make more updates in the future, so please leave a comment if you have any feedback on how we could improve it.



Check out the CHOICE site https://www.doineedhealthinsurance.com.au/

From the ACCC Media Release:

Australians exiting private health insurance as price rises bite
26 November 2018
Many people are either abandoning their private health insurance policies or downgrading to lower-cost, lower-benefit products as premium increases continue to outpace inflation and wage growth.

In its annual report into the private health insurance industry, the ACCC found Australians are increasingly dropping their hospital cover, instead opting for just extras cover. Many people are also choosing policies with higher excess payments in an attempt to keep policy premiums to a minimum.

“People are increasingly feeling the pinch of private health premium increases and growing gap payments. In response, many are shifting to cheaper products with reduced coverage, and some are dropping their cover altogether,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The affordability of private health insurance has been an increasing concern for consumers in recent years.

Many insurers will be updating their policies ahead of the Australian Government’s private health insurance reforms, which aim to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable, and come into effect on 1 April 2019.

The ACCC is warning private health insurers they must provide clear, prominent and timely communication with customers regarding changes.

Read more at the link above. Page contains a link to “Private health insurance report 2017-18”.

It makes for interesting reading … I hope it isn’t ironic that the reforms happen on 1 April 2019 …


An article regarding NIB refusing to pay for surgery on a young child.

You have got to love the comment from NIB.

'Mark Fitzgibbon is the managing director of Ms Catterick’s old health insurer NIB, the fourth-largest health insurer in the country.

He said people are looking at health insurance the wrong way.

“It’s not there as a savings plan,” he told 7.30.

"You shouldn’t be thinking about how much I put in versus how

"It’s there to protect you in the event of misadventure or serious disease or accident.

"We exist to pay claims, we exist to keep people healthy.

"And we believe that we do a good job at that” '.

I don.t know what they are smoking but it can’t be legal.