Private health insurance

Page last updated: 29 May 2020

New private health insurance information

Private health insurance information for the general public (including the new reforms) is available on our new site.

Information for the private health industry and health professionals remains on this page.

Supporting Mental Health — waiting period exemption for higher benefits


Patients with limited cover for psychiatric benefits can now upgrade without serving a waiting period. The waiting period exemption for psychiatric care benefits can only be accessed by a person once in their lifetime, and is only available after a person has served their initial 2 month waiting period for any psychiatric benefits.

Access to the waiting period exemption for psychiatric care benefits has been available since 1 April 2018. Further information on the waiting period exemption can be accessed on the Supporting Mental Health — waiting period exemption for higher benefits web page.

Private Health Insurance — Prostheses

Private Health Insurance — Prostheses formerly known as Schedule 5 — Benefits payable in respect of surgically implanted prostheses, human tissue items and other medical devices. Under the Private Health Insurance Act 2007, private health insurers are required to pay benefits for a range of prostheses that are provided as part of an episode of hospital treatment or hospital substitute treatment for which a patient has cover and for which a Medicare benefit is payable for the associated professional service.

Prostheses List (PL) Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS)

The PL CRIS provides information on how the Department of Health implements cost recovery for the Administration of the Prostheses List.

Private Health Insurance Premiums

Private health insurers are required to apply to the Minister for Health for premium increases.

Private Health Insurance Circulars

Our private health insurance circulars contain important information related to legislation which governs the operation of private health insurance and the licensing of new private hospitals and day hospital facilities in Australia.

Circulars can be accessed here and are distributed to:
  • Australian registered health insurance funds
  • Australian licensed private hospitals and day hospital facilities
  • Australian state and territory health authorities
  • other Australian health organisations
  • health service providers

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is a mandatory requirement of a Student Visa. The Department of Home Affairs mandates these conditions and requires international students (and their dependents) to maintain adequate health insurance for the duration of their stay in Australia. Only Australian registered private health insurers signed to the Deed for the Provision of Overseas Student Health Cover (the Deed) can offer OSHC products and policies. Further information about OSHC is available from the OSHC page.

OSHC includes cover for Coronavirus (COVID-19) related illnesses, principally "Lung and chest", "Kidney and bladder" and "Dialysis for chronic kidney failure" clinical categories. International students who are stranded in Australia, due to mandated travel restrictions put in place by the Australian Government in response to the global pandemic, are recommended to contact their private health insurer for further assistance to ensure continuity of cover during this time.

International students who are offshore due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) while the holder of a Student Visa are recommended to contact their private health insurer about available options during this time. Depending on the private health insurer, some may choose to offer their policy holders a period of suspension, but they are not required to. If a policy holder requires further information about the options available to them, they should contact their private health insurer for further assistance.

Further information about private health insurance in Australia is available from the Australian health system page.

National Joint Replacement Registry (NJRR) Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS)

The NJRR CRIS provides information on how we implement cost recovery for the National Joint Replacement Registry (NJRR). The NJRR CRIS reports financial and non-financial performance information.

Second-tier default benefits

We have considered feedback from the private health insurance and private hospital sectors on:
  • draft guidelines for administration of second-tier default benefits eligibility
  • a draft application form for hospitals applying for second tier default eligibility
  • draft categorisation of hospitals for second-tier default benefits purposes
These documents have now been finalised and are available on a new Second Tier Default Benefits web page.