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Should you choose Gold, Silver or Bronze hospital insurance?

We help you decide which of the four health insurance tiers is best for your needs.

gold silver and bronze health insurance tiers
Last updated: 15 December 2020
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Fact-checked

Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Take our quiz

We can help you choose a policy. Take our quiz to find out what level of cover is best for you. 

This quiz doesn't provide medical or financial advice. See your GP or health professional for medical questions and make your own enquiries with health funds before buying a policy. CHOICE isn't liable for any medical, financial or other outcomes arising from your use of this tool.

What is Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic health insurance?

  • Gold – full or top health insurance cover in a private hospital
  • Silver – medium cover
  • Bronze – low cover
  • Basic – very little cover, if any.

Silver Plus, Bronze Plus and Basic Plus policies cover at least one service more than normal Silver, Bronze or Basic policies.

For example, a Bronze Plus policy could include cover for lung-cancer surgery or dental surgery such as wisdom teeth removal in hospital – services normally only covered under Silver policies.

CHOICE tip: If you have specific health needs, ask your doctor which Medicare item numbers your treatment falls under. Then you can easily clarify with your insurer if your new policy covers this.

medal star rosette gold

Gold policies

Gold policies will work for you if:

  • you need cover for IVF, pregnancy and birth
  • you need cataract eye surgery
  • you need a hip or knee replacement
  • you have chronic health issues and may need pain management with a device, insulin pumps or gastric-banding surgery
  • you need private treatment for psychiatry or rehabilitation.

But Gold policies won't work for you if you need to keep your ongoing insurance costs low.

CHOICE tip: If you're taking out Gold cover for a joint replacement, cataract surgery or pregnancy, you could consider downgrading to Silver or Silver Plus later once your needs change or the surgery has finished.

medal star rosette silver

Silver policies

Silver policies will work for you if:

  • you don't have any chronic or major health issues
  • you want cover for heart attack, cancer surgery and plastic surgery (after a burn or accident).

But Silver policies won't work for you if you need:

  • private treatment for psychiatric care or rehabilitation
  • private cover for IVF, pregnancy and birth
  • cover for a hip/knee replacement or cataract eye surgery
  • cover for chronic health issues such as type-1 diabetes.
medal star rosette RGB bronze

Bronze policies

Bronze policies will work for you if:

  • you want health insurance mainly for avoiding tax and surcharges
  • you're healthy but want back-up cover for broken bones, flu and diabetes treatment (although insulin pumps are only covered in Gold or Silver Plus cover).

But Bronze policies won't work for you if you need:

  • private treatment for psychiatric care or rehabilitation
  • private treatment for major illnesses such as heart disease or lung cancer
  • private cover for IVF, pregnancy and birth
  • private treatment for a hip/knee replacement or cataract surgery.

Basic policies

Basic policies will work for you if:

  • you want health insurance mainly for avoiding tax and surcharges
  • you live in a regional area with no private hospitals, but you still want to choose which doctor treats you in a public hospital. In this case, instead of choosing a more expensive Gold policy with full cover, you could try to find a Basic Plus policy that covers everything in public hospitals.

But Basic policies won't work for you if you need:

  • cover for stroke treatment, cancer surgery, heart disease, flu, asthma and most of the therapies available in private hospitals
  • specialist in-hospital treatments for services such as rehabilitation and psychiatric care – for example, for postnatal depression or eating disorders
  • private cover for IVF, pregnancy and birth.
We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE