When to start with private health insurance as a single

Singles health insurance is insurance for an individual, as opposed to a family or a couple. The decision of when to take out private health insurance as a single depends on your needs and circumstances. You might decide it’s right for you to start singles insurance as soon as you come off your parents’ cover.

Other circumstances that could affect your policy

Remember to take into account the impact of government surcharges and incentives. Over time it could end up being more costly than expected if you go without it.

  • How much you earn – The Private Health Insurance Rebate helps you cover some of the cost of your premiums, including hospital, general treatment, and ambulance policies. It’s income tested, so the more you earn, the lower the rebate.
  • The age you start – The Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) initiative encourages Aussies to take out hospital cover earlier rather than later. The longer you leave it after turning 31 to have hospital cover, the more you’ll pay in premiums (for hospital cover only) when you do start your policy. For every year after turning 31 without hospital cover, you’ll have an extra 2% applied to your premiums (up to 70%). LHC loading stops after you’ve had 10 years of private hospital cover.
  • Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) – If you don’t have private hospital cover and you earn above a certain income level, you might need to pay 1% to 1.5% of your income in MLS.

Note waiting periods can also impact your policy and what you’re eligible to claim. However, you should not have to re-serve waiting periods if you’re changing funds at some stage.

Benefits of health insurance for singles

Having private health insurance as a single comes with a lot of benefits. It gives you peace of mind and coverage for essentials like dental work.

  • Discounts – If you’re aged 18 to 29, from 1 April 2019 your insurer might offer premium discounts on your hospital cover, up 10% depending on how early you first started with hospital cover. You could retain this discount on the policy until you turn 41. This could save you hundreds of dollars a year in premiums.
  • Peace of mind – As an independent single, you’ll be responsible your own healthcare costs. What if something unexpected happened? Whether it’s a hospital visit, elective surgery, or some other treatment, having health insurance could mean getting quality treatment from the doctor or specialist you prefer. You could be treated in the facility you choose in a timely manner and not be left out of pocket for thousands of dollars. You could avoid long public hospital wait times and enjoy a quicker recovery.
  • Specific needs – Because singles cover is for one person only, you can easily choose the level of coverage to best suit your needs at your life stage.
  • Extras cover – Extras services might not be a life-or-death matter, but it can enhance your quality of life. Dental, optical, physiotherapy, and much more – the right level of private health insurance could give you better access these treatments, which aren’t covered by Medicare.
  • Children – If you’re a single parent, private health cover could enable you to access the quality of obstetrics, childbirth, and maternity care you want.

Starting a relationship: when should you change policies?

If you’ve started a relationship, you might want to switch to a couple’s or family policy at some stage. You don’t have to switch to a couple’s policy just because you’re married or in a relationship. However, having one policy could make it easier to manage. It could also help you take advantage of combined limits, which can be a good thing if one partner uses a lot of one type of service.

Taking advantage of a couple’s or family policies can also make it easier when eventually you need to add children to your policy. This is because often funds will let you add children at no extra charge whilst you might have to pay more for adding children to a single’s policy.

Having private health as a single can give you peace of mind and save you when it comes government incentives and policy premiums. If you start a relationship, you might decide to keep your policies separate or maintain joint cover as a couple. By understanding how factors like government incentives work, you can make a smart decision about when to start and what type of cover to get.

Ready to take the next step with your health insurance? Curious about the best cover for you? Get in touch with the It’s My Health Insurance team today.