Why does CHOICE review health insurance?
CHOICE exists to serve Australian consumers. It's been at the heart of our mission for more than 50 years. Completely independent and nonprofit, we review, advise and campaign on issues as diverse as banking, travel, fridges – and health insurance.
Choosing health insurance is one of the most complex areas for consumers. A lot of people waste good money on health insurance because they don't use it, or they haven't chosen the right policy for their needs. We don't want you to be one of those people.
Why do I need to be a member to compare policies?
CHOICE is proudly nonprofit and unbiased. Any money we make goes directly back into our work supporting Australian consumers. We test hundreds of products a year in our labs and we buy everything we test off the shelf at full retail price – so you can trust that our results are fully independent.
Similarly, we don't take commissions from health funds to review their services or products – again, so we remain 100% independent. We rely on the generous support of our members, rather than sponsorship or advertising, to keep doing what we do.
When you become a member, not only will you be able to find the best health insurance policy for your needs, you'll also get instant access to over 5000 product and service reviews by our CHOICE experts.
Where does CHOICE get the health insurance data?
We get our data from the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) database, which has information on every health insurance policy available from every registered health fund. We've been given permission by 23 out of 24 open health funds and 11 out of 12 restricted health funds to include their policies in our health insurance comparison. The two funds that declined to be included were both small players with <0.5% market share: Onemedifund and Reserve Bank Health Society (the fund for employees of the Reserve Bank).
How does CHOICE select the right policy for me?
Our health insurance experts have drawn on their years of experience and knowledge to create a scoring system that we apply to each policy, assessing it for cover, cost (the premium), value for money, hospital out-of-pocket expenses, extras annual limits and limits per visits or therapy, number of hospital agreements, gap cover, restrictions and exclusions, and much more. We don't give each policy an overall score, but rather a "match" score just for you – which indicates how well it matches your needs as entered in our easy-to-use and informative health insurance comparison tool.
We search more funds than any other health insurance comparison site, we ask you the right questions, and we don't take commissions from health funds – so you can be confident you'll find the best-value, best-match policy for you.
If you'd like to know more about our scoring, we provide more detail in How we review health insurance.
Do you review all funds?
There are 38 health funds operating in Australia. Most of them are "open" funds, which means their health insurance policies are available to everybody. Some are "restricted" funds, which are set up for specifically for employees and their families of certain industries or organisations (e.g. navy or defence forces personnel, nurses or teachers), and then there's one "corporate" health fund, used by companies to provide health cover for employees.
Our comparison includes 23 out of 25 open health funds and 11 out of 12 restricted health funds (Onemedifund and Reserve Bank Health Society declined to be included). We don't include the corporate fund at this stage.
Are there any types of policies you don't compare?
Although we compare more open funds than other health comparison websites, and we compare the vast majority of policies available through open health funds, we've had to exclude a small number of policies:
- policies that funds have asked us to exclude
- overseas visitor policies
- corporate policies (provided by companies to employees)
- children-only or single/couple-any-dependants policies (for people who have children 18–25 living at home)
- policies that limit the number of days in hospital
- hospital or combined policies that won't exempt you from the Medicare levy surcharge
- ambulance-only policies – an SIS is not required for these and therefore they're not included in the PHIO database
- "smorgasbord" extras policies, e.g. policies that let you select the extras cover you want to use but give you fewer than 10 choices at any time.
We plan to review this list to see if we can include any of these policies at a later date.
How much money can I save using CHOICE to compare health insurance?
We've crunched the numbers, and found some of you could save up to as much as $1400 a year* in health insurance premiums by switching to a better policy. And we're certain most of you will find a better-value health policy by comparing health insurance with CHOICE.
With CHOICE membership costing just $23.95 for three months, which includes not just the health insurance comparison but access to over 5000 product and service reviews by our experts, we think you're bound to come out ahead.
*Average saving across Australia when taking out the cheapest top hospital policy (up to $1000 annual excess/co-payment level for couple/family) compared with the most expensive one with comparable cover. Both policies used in our comparison were from open funds.
Can I buy a health insurance policy from CHOICE?
The short answer is no. We're not in the business of selling insurance. Instead, we'll show you the best value policies that match your needs, and give you all the details you need to sign up at a time that suits you.
Do you take money from health funds?
Some insurance comparison websites take commissions from health funds to show the fund's policies in their results. We don't take commissions from health funds, and our results are not influenced by health funds in any way. At CHOICE, once we've recommended a product or service based on thorough testing and scoring, a brand may choose to licence the CHOICE Recommended badge to promote their good result. We receive licensing fees through our CHOICE Recommended program which we use to invest in further CHOICE research and testing.
Have your say
- We know that private health insurance is confusing, which is why we've created our health insurance comparison tool. We'll also be telling the federal government how to make private health insurance simpler, fairer and better value for all consumers. Have your say on the future of private health insurance.
- If you have any questions or feedback for us on our health insurance comparison, please contact us.