Gold, silver, bronze or basic?

How to find the right health level of private health cover.

Earlier this year, the Australia Government introduced private health insurance reforms which categorise hospital cover into four product tiers: gold, silver, bronze or basic.

The reforms outline minimum requirements for each tier and aim to make products easier for consumers to understand and compare.

Choice insurance spokesperson Jodi Bird said Australians should consider whether private health insurance is right for them.

"Remember, if you’re a permanent Australian resident, you already have health cover with Medicare,” Mr Bird said.

“If you are looking at private health insurance, getting the right level of cover is essential.

“The wrong policy could leave you paying for insurance that won’t help you out when you most need it.”

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said consumers should shop around for the best deal.

“More than 13 million Australians have private health insurance,” Mr Hunt said.

“There are 37 private health insurance funds operating in Australia and I encourage consumers to shop around to get the best deal for themselves and their families.”

Mr Bird said consumers who decide to purchase hospital cover should choose a tier based on their current and future needs.

"Take out gold level cover if you want all the bells-and-whistles,” he said. 

“It includes full cover for rehabilitation, pregnancy and birth, cataract eye surgery and hip or knee replacement.

"Silver cover is the mid-tier range. It covers 26 or more categories of treatments in private hospitals including dental surgery, cancer surgery and heart and vascular surgeries. 

"Bronze cover can work for people who are relatively healthy but want back-up cover for broken bones, flu and some diabetes treatment."

 Mr Bird said consumers should be wary of basic policies.

"Choice recommends that you avoid basic cover policies unless all you’re looking to do is save on tax,” he said.


The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice and does not take into account any person’s particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situations and needs.