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Health insurers charging single parents more to insure children: CHOICE

Single parents often face increases of up to 70% when switching to a family policy.

Last updated: 14 September 2023

A CHOICE analysis of private health insurance policies has found single parents pay significantly higher premiums than two parent families when adding children to their policy. 

"CHOICE found that if couples wanted to add children to their health insurance policy, it would only increase their premiums by five to 10% - or in some cases, nothing at all. Unfortunately, single parents aren't given the same benefits, often getting slugged with an increase of 60 to 70% if they want to cover their children," says CHOICE health insurance expert Mark Blades. 

"It's unfair that single parents pay significantly more than couples to add a dependent to their policy. If an insurer is happy to add a child to a couple's policy for free, they should do the same for single parents," says Blades. 

These are the worst health insurance providers for single parents looking to insure their children:

  • St Luke's Health (across all policies)
  • Reserve Bank (Gold) 
  • Hunter Health (no policies specifically available for single parents, which means you have to pay for a family policy)
  • NIB-brand funds (NIB, AAMI, ING, Priceline, Suncorp, Real and Seniors) charge single parents more than couples for Gold Hospital cover policies. This means it costs you more to add a child than an adult to your Single policy.

"These hospital policies all charge unfair pricing for single parents wanting to add children to their policy, with premiums that cost the same as the premium for two adults," says Blades. 

"If you're a single parent considering adding a child to your policy, we strongly recommend doing your research and shopping around to find a policy that suits your needs and gives you a fair deal," says Blades. 

Here are the health insurance providers offering single parents a fairer deal:

  • Medibank Bronze Plus Assured with excess at $500 or $750. Single parents pay a 33%-43% premium increase compared to a singles policy
  • Navy Health Gold, Silver Plus and Bronze Plus policies charge 40% extra on top of standard singles cover
  • HCI Gold charges a 40% premium increase for single parents.

"These policies are worth considering if you're a single parent, but it's important to remember that even if a health insurer charges a smaller penalty, it does not necessarily mean it's the best policy for you. Taking the time to compare health insurance policies will ensure you'll find the best one for your needs," says Blades. 

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