With the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimating that there are over one million single-parent families in Australia, it’s unsurprising that health insurance for single parents is on the rise.
As its purpose is to protect your family above and beyond what Medicare provides, it’s important you get the right insurance for you so you’re protected for whatever life brings your way…
What is Single Parent Health Insurance?
Put simply, single-parent health insurance is a health insurance policy designed specifically for single parents. Aside from having one less adult on the policy, they are exactly the same as regular two-parent family health insurance policy.
They allow one adult to be covered with multiple dependent children. It’s worth noting that each health fund classifies “dependent child” differently, and some may allow you to keep your adult children on the policy until the age of 31, so long as they remain in full-time education.
If they are not in full-time education between the age of 21 to 31, some funds may require an extra premium to keep them on the policy.
Thanks to having only one adult on the policy, single-parent families that take out this kind of health cover generally benefit from paying a reduced premium in comparison to their two-parent family counterparts.
What is Hospital Cover?
As standard, most health insurance policies will come with what’s called hospital cover. Principally, this allows you and your children to get treated faster than without insurance.
However, it can also give you access to a private room in a private hospital, as well as giving you a choice over the treating doctor who provides your hospital care (e.g. picking one that’s more experienced or better suited to your needs) and the treatment you get (particularly those not available through the public system).
What is Extras Cover?
Nobody likes an unexpected bill. But nobody likes having things wrong with them either.
Extras cover is designed to be the best of both worlds; covering the things that could come up so you don’t get that unexpected bill.
Extras can include everything from new glasses to general dental checkups and teeth cleaning to physiotherapy and chiropractics – depending on your cover. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to pick and choose which extras are on your cover and which are not, depending on which you think are more likely to be an issue.
Extras can also provide emergency ambulance cover and accident insurance.
Note: if you’re over 31 and want to avoid paying lifetime health cover loading, you’ll need private patient hospital cover rather than general treatment cover (also known as ancillary or extras cover).
Are Waiting Periods Affected?
As it stands, waiting periods are:
- 2 months for most in-hospital rehabilitation, psychiatry and palliative care
- 2 months for new conditions
- 12 months for pregnancies/IVF
- 12 months for pre-existing conditions
The good news is that if you are switching health funds, you do not have to re-serve waiting periods.
Are Pregnancies Covered?
Assuming you have a gold policy, health funds will cover pregnancies on a single-parent health insurance policy. Pregnancies may also be covered under other policies, such as silver plus, so it’s worth checking with the health fund to see what is available.
What Doesn’t Single Parent Health Insurance Cover?
As a general rule, single-parent health insurance doesn’t cover:
- Visits to your GP and consultations with specialists in their rooms
- Outpatient services like blood work and testing
- Non-emergency ambulance services
- Private emergency treatment fees
While not unique to just single-parent health insurance (indeed, a lot of these aren’t typically covered by private health insurance) it’s always a good thing to keep in mind.
What Private Health Insurance Rebates Are Available For Single Parents?
Something a lot of Australian residents don’t realise is that if they earn under the $90,000 per year family income threshold, they’re actually eligible for the Australian Government Rebate scheme.
What this scheme does is help pay for some of your private health insurance premium costs, including those incurred by single-parent policies.
What is The Best Single Parent Health Insurance policy?
Because your identity is not just solely that of a single parent, and each of your dependents is a unique, individual person, there’s no single “best” policy for all single-parent families.
To determine the “best” policy for you, you first need to look at your family and how it’s made up. For example, toddlers are going to have very different medical needs from teenagers. Some of the things you should consider are:
The future is uncertain and difficult to predict, especially when it comes to health. That is why insurance is so important. When something unexpected happens and you or your child find themselves in need of medical care, your health fund will be there to help.
Nothing could be more important than your health or that of your loved ones. If you have children, you’ll want to avoid very long and uncertain waits and delays for care in the public health system – no parent likes seeing their children ill or in need of treatment. This is why it makes a lot of sense to have health insurance for your peace of mind, knowing you have fast access to high-quality care, with a doctor of your choice.
In the private health system, you also have greater control over when and where you are treated, so can reliably schedule your and your family’s care. Because you can choose your own doctor as a private patient, another benefit is better continuity of care. You can see the same doctor for each appointment.
You also need to take into account your own healthcare and think about what you want to be covered for.
Each health insurer also uses its own preferred provider network, so it’s important to look at not only how good they are but also how accessible they are for you and your family.
To access some of the services provided by their network, you might have to go miles out of your way to reach an eligible hospital when other non-network providers are closer, at great expense to yourself, both financially and time-wise.
All the Members Health funds have extensive provider networks that include overnight hospitals, day surgeries and dental and optical providers.
As a single parent, it’s likely that you are working with fewer financial resources than those on a family policy (though not necessarily). As such, you need to make sure you can afford the cover as well as all your other essentials.
Only once you’ve considered all these factors you can effectively find the best single parents health insurance for you.
How Can I Compare Policies?
It is hard to predict future healthcare needs and with so many options available, finding the right health insurance cover can be tricky. Members Health funds are not for profit and member-owned and will always put your healthcare needs first so it is recommended you have a chat with their helpful staff to get expert advice.
An often-told way to compare all the single-parent health insurance policies out there is by using a site like Compare The Market or iSelect.
Whilst these can be helpful, it’s important to make sure that your health insurance provider has your best interests at heart, not just their profits.
Using those tools, in addition to Members Health fund searcher – which allows you to filter results based on both location and occupation – will help you find the best health insurance fund and policy for you.
For example, using our tool you can select a health fund run for people and their families connected to teachers, police, emergency services, doctors, nurses, military. You can also find health funds headquartered in regional communities like The Hunter Valley, Latrobe Valley, Sunraysia and Illawarra.
To make sure you are getting the best possible deal and the right cover for your health needs, always make sure you contact a few health funds for a chat before making a final decision. Members Health does not charge commissions but most other online comparators do, so they can be more expensive or limited in their offerings than going directly to the health fund for a quote.
Can I Stay On My Ex-Partner’s Health Insurance Policy?
As with many things in life, the answer is that it depends. More specifically, it depends on who your health insurance provider is and the specifics of the coverage that you have.
If you have a Couples or Family policy and you and your partner are separate, it’s important to let your health fund know as soon as possible. Your health fund will want to protect both your and your former partner’s privacy and ensure compliance with the health fund’s rules.
Most health insurance will not allow you to stay on your ex-partner’s policy. Most explicitly state that in their rules.
Thankfully, they do give you a grace period – usually 30 days after the divorce/separation – to set up your own cover before it becomes invalid.
Because a growing number of Australians are now divorced/separated, nearly all providers will be able to tell you whether you’ll be able to stay on your ex-partner’s cover or not from a simple phone call.
Remember: it’s better to ask your health fund than assume. You don’t want to think you’re still covered when you’re not and end up in a world of financial pain, nor come off cover that would otherwise still cover you, even as a single parent.
What Happens If or When I Leave My Ex-Partner’s Health Insurance Policy?
If or when you leave your ex-partner’s insurance, it’s important you try to work this out as quickly and as amicably as possible, no matter how nasty other parts of the divorce or separation are.
It’s not difficult to find stories of people removing their exes from their insurance policy with life-threatening consequences for the party who still believed they were covered.
Removing yourself from your ex-partner’s insurance policy is relatively easy and pain-free. You simply call up your provider, explain you’re separated or divorced and request to have yourself removed.
In certain cases, they may need additional information to verify this and who you are, but generally, removing yourself should be fairly straightforward and is something all health funds will be familiar with.
Once removed, you’re now free to get your own policy sorted. You’ll both need to talk to each other about who is going to cover the children, as you both don’t need to get cover; one of you can get single cover, whilst the other can get single parent cover.
Looking for single-parent health insurance? Explore our Members Health Funds today!