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Best health insurance extras

Our extras recommendations can help you find the best value policy, the best cover on a budget, and the best policy for seniors.

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Last updated: 09 February 2021


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Our experts have reviewed health insurance extras policies from 36 health funds to find the best ones. We've found the best extras on a budget, the best balance of cover and price, and the best cover for seniors.

Jump straight to our recommended extras policies (members-only content) to find the best policy for you.

Who should buy extras

Extras insurance is for people who want help managing predictable healthcare costs. If you know how much you're likely to spend on things like dental checkups, physio sessions and glasses, you can use extras to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. If you claim back more than you spend on the policy, then you've got your money's worth.

Don't buy extras if you aren't prepared to put the effort in to claim. If you keep paying your premium and don't claim it back, it's the same as that gym membership you never use: a waste of money. 

How health insurance extras works

Extras policies give you discounts on health services that aren't covered by Medicare. These include dental costs, glasses, and allied health care like physiotherapy, chiropractic and podiatry. You can also claim for appliances like hearing aids, orthoses and blood glucose monitors.

Extras isn't insurance in the traditional sense of the word, where you buy it "just in case". Think of it as more of a book of discount vouchers. By paying a monthly premium you can use it to spread your expenses more evenly over the course of the year. Used correctly it can even reduce your health costs.

Don't buy extras if you aren't prepared to put the effort in to claim

Most people bundle an extras policy with their private hospital cover. This isn't necessary: you can buy hospital cover on its own, and you don't need extras to avoid the tax penalties the government imposes on people without health insurance.

General, major and preventative dental

When is dental care not just dental care? When it's covered by your extras policy. Depending on your policy you might be covered for just the basic services, or the whole range of out-of-hospital dental treatments. Many insurers will have different annual limits for simple and complex treatment. 

  • General dental is covered by just about every extras policy on the market. It includes all the basic, routine dental treatment you know and love, like x-rays, fillings and simple extractions. 
  • Preventative dental refers to regular checkups and cleans. It falls under general dental but sometimes insurers won't count those items toward your annual limit.
  • Major dental includes bigger jobs like surgical tooth extractions and crowns. 
  • Endodontic (root canals) is often bundled with major dental but is its own category, meaning insurers can have a separate limit for it, or exclude it entirely. 
  • Orthodontic (braces) almost always has separate limits.

We've listed the cover each recommended policy offers for a regular checkup, which consists of periodic oral exam, scale and clean, and fluoride treatment. These are itemised separately on your bill, and your policy will have individual benefits for each. We've summed the three amounts to make it easier to compare.

Ready to find the best extras cover?

Log in to see our pick for the best extras on a budget, the best balance of cover and price, and the best cover for seniors. These results are for members only. 

Non-members can see our extras insurance buying guide for more information on choosing extras cover.

Our buying guide will explain how to work out if your current extras insurance policy is right for you, what level of extras cover you need, and how much you can claim.

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Best extras on a budget

Policies in this category are worth considering if you're only after a couple of dentist visits a year and some physio. If you also need cover for glasses, you might be better off looking at the Best Value category below.

We've selected policies that offer the best level of cover for less than $20 a month (before the 25% government rebate).

Recommended budget policies

AHM Black 50 Saver and Bupa Orange 50 both cover 50% of your basic dental services, as well as physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic. AHM covers up to $400 a year for dental, plus a combined $300 for the rest. Bupa has simplified things further with a $500 limit for everything, which increases $100 for every year you stay with them, up to $700.

HCF Starter Extras has a $350 limit for general dental, and has a $150 limit for the same additional services, plus remedial massage and acupuncture. For a few extra dollars a month you can add on $100 of optical cover. The downside is that it offers dollar limits instead of percentages, which might be a red flag if your dentist or physio is expensive.

HBF Basic Extras has a bit more meat than the other policies, which pushes it above our $20 limit in most states. Additional cover includes health checks, flu vaccinations and weight loss programs. Annual limits increase the longer you stay with the policy, although the per-visit limits for things like physiotherapy and chiropractic could be higher.

HBF Basic Extras is a beefier product than others in this category, with $160 for optical cover, health checks and flu vaccinations, and annual limits that increase the longer you stay with the fund. Rebates for individual visits to the physio, chiro and osteopath aren't that competitive, which is why we've only recommended it in cheaper markets. But if you're happy to use HBF's preferred dentists, the 75% rebate on preventative dental might make it worth your while.

Note: extras policies are complex, so we've only listed a few of the policy details below. Check the fund's website for full details.

Best value for money extras

These policies are the all-rounders: buying them won't break the bank, but they still offer decent cover for the most popular services. Worth considering if you want to claim a couple of dental checkups, a pair of glasses and a few sessions at the physio.

We compared policies on their level of cover compared to price. In order to be recommended in this category a policy must cover major dental, optical, physiotherapy, chiropractic and remedial massage. 

Recommended policies – best value

HBF Flex 60 is a policy with easy-to-follow limits. You get 60% back on all claims except optical and healthy living programs. Optical has a separate $220 limit, and everything else is bundled under a single $1000 annual cap. Preventative dental doesn't have an annual limit so won't contribute to that limit.

AHM Black 60 and Suncorp Everyday Extras also cover 60% of your bill, up to the each category's annual limit. AHM covers fewer services, but has higher limits for dental and remedial massage. Suncorp spreads itself out, covering more with lower limits. The optical benefit is also 60%, meaning you'll need to spend over $330 to claim back the full $200. Many insurers are moving toward no-gap optical claims, so this catch is something to watch out for if you need optical cover. Both of these are underwritten by NIB.

Phoenix Health Everyday Extras 60 is for those who want higher annual limits than the other 60% policies in this category. There is no annual limit on general dental, plus you can claim 100% back on two checkups a year. It costs a bit more than other policies on our list, so you have to be prepared to make claims throughout the year or risk wasting your money. It also contains that unfortunate 60% benefit on optical claims.

At the other end of the scale is Queensland Country Health Young Extras. Don't let the name fool you, they cover people all over Australia (in NT they operate as Territory Health). Check this one out if you're mostly after dental and optical.

HCF Vital Extras is a strong performer in dental, optical and physio, even though it's a policy with set dollar benefits instead of percentages. Don't rely on it to be great value in a couple of years though — set benefits rarely increase at the same rate as premiums. We've only recommended it in a couple of states, as it was too expensive elsewhere.

Note: extras policies are complex, so we've only listed a few of the policy details below. Check the fund's website for full details.

Best extras for seniors

This category is for people who are looking for a policy with good cover for hearing aids. We compared policies in this category on price and cover, particularly for services commonly claimed by people over 65.

In order to be recommended in this category a policy must cover major dental, optical, physiotherapy and podiatry. They must also offer at least $1000 every three years for hearing aids.

Keep in mind: in years when you don't make a hearing aid claim, you will have to work hard to claim back the full premium for these policies.

Recommended policies for seniors

Some of our recommendations come from restricted membership funds, and it's worth investigating whether you're eligible – it's often not as restricted as it seems.

Westfund Esteem is a good all-rounder, with benefits comparable to the Best Value policies plus $1400 for hearing aids. It covers a broad range of services, but has lower limits for individual claims. It's also the cheapest in this category, so if you're looking for basic cover with decent benefits for hearing aids, it's worth a look.

GMHBA Mid Extras 65% Benefits is a bit more expensive, with a slightly lower hearing aid benefit but 65% back on all services. A useful policy if you're likely to do a lot of claiming on clinical treatments like physiotherapy and podiatry. 

Phoenix Health Complete Extras 70 has high annual limits and 70% back on everything — the exception is preventative dental, for which you won't have to pay a gap or worry about an annual limit. The $2000 limit on hearing aids is the highest in our list, but keep an eye on the price because you'll have to claim back a lot to make it worth your while.

If you're in Tasmania, St.Lukes Super Extras should definitely be on your radar. This policy is much more expensive outside St.Lukes' home state, which is why we've only recommended it here. It has very good cover for dental and optical, and although it doesn't have percentage benefits, you'll still get a good chunk of your bill back on clinical services.

Navy Health Premium Extras is worth a look if you need to claim more on a range of services — for the hefty price tag it comes with high benefits for individual items, as well as annual limits that you would have to work hard to claim all of. 

Defence Health Value Extras is at the other end of the price spectrum — you won't be able to claim as much back on individual treatments, but the comparatively low premium means you'll have a lower target to claim the full premium back. Their optical benefit is a bit complicated: you can claim up to the limit if you get glasses from their partner chains, but go elsewhere and you'll run into sublimits on frames and lenses.

CBHS Top Extras comes with a $1600 limit for hearing aids and good cover for dental and clinical services. Unfortunately, like Defence Health it has similarly complex optical cover, meaning you won't be able to claim the full annual limit on most types of prescription glasses.

Note: extras policies are complex, so we've only listed a few of the policy details below. Check the fund's website for full details.

Open funds
Restricted funds

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