Need to know
- You may qualify for a discount of up to 12% on your private health insurance and not know about it
- Cheaper premiums are available for people under 30 and those over 65
- Many health funds give you a discount if you prepay or pay by direct debit
A range of health funds in Australia offer discounts and you could easily qualify for one without knowing it. With private health insurance legislation allowing funds to give discounts of up to 12% off the cost of your premium, here are some of the ways you can access cheaper health cover.
- Employers, super funds, associations, clubs and mutual banks can provide corporate discounts.
- Many health funds give you a discount on your health insurance if you pay by direct debit or prepay your annual premium.
- Australians under 30 qualify for a youth discount up to 10% from many health funds, while older Australians 65 and over get a higher health insurance rebate.
Although discounts can help with the cost of cover, it's still a good idea to shop around for a better deal – you might find a suitable policy that's cheaper from a fund that doesn't give discounts.
Since sifting through thousands of policies isn't anyone's idea of a good time, our experts built a tool to help you compare health insurance and make sense of your options (with no sponsored results in sight).
Some jobs come with free health insurance while some employers may pay part of your health insurance, such as your hospital policy, and ask you to fork out for your extras cover. But if your job doesn't come with these perks, you may still qualify for a corporate discount from a health fund.
Corporate discounts may be available through...
- Your employer: Many companies have arranged discounts for their staff with health funds. Ask your employer whether they offer this.
- Your super fund: A number of super funds have arrangements with health insurers.
- Associations and clubs: Some clubs offer health insurance discounts to their members.
- Your mutual bank: Some credit unions and mutual banks have negotiated a discount for their shareholders or customers.
Bupa and Medibank corporate discounts
Bupa and Medibank both offer discounts to eligible employees of hundreds of different businesses, and they each have a designated website where you can check the name of your employer to find out whether you can get a discount:
Both funds also have promotions from time to time for free cover for the first few weeks of corporate cover.
For Medibank, various discounts apply to eligible employees of:
- Accor Hotels – 7%
- ANZ – 7%
- BHP –9%
- Coles – 9%
- Commonwealth Bank – 5%
- Hilton Hotels – 7%
- NAB – 7%
- NSW government departments – 7%
- Telstra – 11%
- University of Melbourne – 7%
- Wesfarmers Ltd – 9%
- Woolworths Ltd – 5%.
Bupa doesn't publish the amount of discount you get, but it generally ranges between 4% and 8% for eligible employees of:
- Accor Hotels
- BHP National
- David Jones
- Department of Social Services
- Hilton Hotels
- South Australian Government
- Wesfarmers Federation Ins Ltd
- Westpac group
- Woolworths supermarkets
- University of Queensland.
But be sure check the discount websites for each fund for a full list of employers.
Some super funds may also give health insurance discounts to their members, and these include Care Super (GMHBA, HCF and NIB) and Telstra Super (HCF).
Some professional associations, membership organisations and clubs like motoring clubs have arranged discounts from health funds for their members, such as:
- Australian Dental Association WA – HIF
- Australian Nursing Federation – HIF
- NRMA – Australian Unity
- Police Association of NSW – Bupa
- National Seniors – Australian Unity
- RAC WA – HCF ($400 cash back, no ongoing discount)
- RACQ – AIA ($400 gift card, no ongoing discount).
Some mutual banks and credit unions offer health insurance benefits to their members, such as:
- Bank First – Australian Unity
- Community First Credit Union – Peoplecare (no ongoing discount, one month free cover)
- Credit Union SA – Health Partners
- MyState Bank – St.LukesHealth.
If you need a Gold level health insurance policy, restricted health funds can often give you cover that's substantially cheaper than open funds.
Restricted funds are open to Australians working in many industries, from police officers, soldiers, reservists and defence contractors, to transport employees and forestry, electricity and steel workers. Bank employees, health practitioners, teachers and workers of associated industries are also covered, with families (sometimes even siblings) and former employees also eligible.
Some health funds give you a discount of up to 4% if you pay by direct debit or pay your annual premium in advance. Of the big five funds, though, only HBF and NIB give a discount for this.
- HBF – 4% discount for direct debit and 3.85% if you prepay your annual premium, which adds up to a total discount of 7.85% if you pay your annual payment by direct debit.
- NIB – 4% discount for direct debit.
- HCF, Medibank and Bupa do not give a discount for direct debit or prepayment of your premium.
Higher health insurance rebates for 65 year olds
To help with the cost of health insurance, the Australian government pays a rebate on hospital, extras and combined health cover policies for people 65 and over.
The rebate is income tested and to get the full rebate of 24.6% your family's income must not be over $180,000 (or $90,000 for singles and single-parent policies). The rebate reduces if your income is higher, and no rebate is paid if your family earns more than $280,000 (or $140,000 for singles and single-parent policies).
Once the oldest person on your policy turns 65, the rebate increases. The rebate tiers for couples and families are (until 1 April 2023):
- 28.7% for income up to $180,000
- 20.5% for income between $180,001 and $210,000
- 12.3% for income between $210,001 and $280,000.
Once the oldest person on your policy turns 70, the rebate increases again. The rebate tiers for couples and families are (until 1 April 2023):
- 32.8% for income up to $180,000
- 24.6% for income between $180,001 and $210,000
- 16.4% for income between $210,001 and $280,000.
Some health funds offer discounts to new customers who sign up before they turn 30.
- You can get 2% off your premium for every year you're under 30.
- This goes up to a maximum of 10% for people aged 18–25.
- If you stay on that policy, you'll keep getting the full discount until you turn 41, then it reduces by 2% each year.
- With some health funds, you can even keep it when you switch cover.
Health insurers may offer discounts on only some or all of their policies. Of the five big health funds, Bupa, Medibank and NIB offer youth discounts. HBF and HCF have not introduced them.