Health Insurance Explained

What are annual limits? Show content

An annual limit is the maximum amount of benefits payable towards services, items or groups of services/and or items within a calendar year. Annual limits are calculated for a calendar year i.e. 1 January to 31 December each year. If you change your cover (or insurer), limits that have been used under your previous level of cover will be carried over and considered when determining the first-year limit on your see-u policy.

What is a combined limit? Show content

A combined annual limit is the maximum amount of benefits you can claim, distributed across a group of services.

What is a sub-limit? Show content

A sub-limit is the maximum amount within an Annual or Combined Limit you can claim towards specific services.

What is a per person limit? Show content

Each person on your cover can claim up to the ‘per person’ limit, except where a family limit applies and has already been reached by the other members on the policy.

What is a per family limit? Show content

This is the total amount that can be claimed by all members on your policy. This applies to any Single Parent, Couple or Family policy.

What is a lifetime limit? Show content

A lifetime limit is the total benefit you can claim for this service in a lifetime.  If you change your cover (or insurer), lifetime limits that have been used under your previous level of cover will be carried over and considered when determining the lifetime limit on your see-u policy.

What is a loyalty limit? Show content

As a way of rewarding our members for staying with see-u, some of our products include loyalty limits.  The annual limit will increase over the first three years by a set amount. The loyalty limits are calculated using the anniversary of you joining the policy.

What is the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance? Show content

The Australian Government offers a rebate to help cover the cost of your private health insurance premium and can be claimed on both Extras and Hospital cover. The amount of rebate you might receive is calculated based on your income. We can apply your rebate directly to your health cover policy to reduce the amount of your premium or you can claim your rebate at tax time.

Do I qualify for the Private Health Insurance Rebate? Show content

If you're eligible to receive Medicare benefits then you may qualify for the rebate. How much you're eligible to receive depends on your income.

Here you can find the rebate levels applicable.

Private Health insurance helps reduce or eliminate your out of pocket expenses for medical treatment in or outside of hospital, while giving you wider access to health care professionals.

While Medicare covers you for treatment in a public hospital, private hospital cover lets you choose when and where you are treated and the doctor you see. Extras cover also helps reduce the cost for many services not covered by Medicare like dental, optical and physio.

What if I decide not to get private health insurance? Show content

If you don’t have Hospital cover, you can still be treated by the public health care system in the event you need to go to hospital. If you require surgery, you will be placed on a waiting list.

It’s important to note, if you’re over 31 years old or earn more than $93,000 p.a. as a single or $186,000 as a couple, you may have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge or Lifetime Health Cover loading if you don’t have Private Hospital Cover and decide to take it later in life.

Health insurers have the option to offer Australians aged 18-29 years of age a discount of up to 10% on their private hospital insurance premiums.

see-u understands that affordability is a major factor in many young Australians being able to take out private hospital cover – so, depending on your age, you may be eligible to receive a 2% discount for every year a member is under 30 years of age, up to 10% for 18-25 year olds who hold eligible see-u hospital products.

The Under 30's Discount does not apply to extras products.

For see-u members, the discount will automatically apply If:

  1. A member chooses (or already has on 1 April 2019) a see-u hospital product that is eligible for discounts; and
  2. Is of eligible age (18-29),

The rate of discounts depends upon;

  • The age the person locked in their discount when they first received discount (if switching)
  • The age that they joined an eligible see-u hospital product that offers am Under 30's Discount.
  • The age the person on an eligible see-u product, on the day the insurer first offered discount (E.g. 1 April for see-u members)
Person's age when they first purchase a hospital product offering discounts Applicable discount
18-25 10%
26 8%
27 6%
28 4%
29 2%
30 0%

Once a policy holder has a youth discount they will retain that discount rate until they turn 41 if they remain on a policy that is eligible for the discount.

If, for that period, the person is aged: Applicable discount
18 or older, but under 41 Person's base percentage
41 Person's base percentage minus 2%
42 Person's base percentage minus 4%
43 Person's base percentage minus 6%
44 Person's base percentage minus 8%
45 or older Zero

When more than one adult is eligible on the policy, the average rate between the two will apply.

A key concern for consumers was the complexity and difficulty of understanding and comparing private health insurance products.

Before the reforms, health funds usually name the hospital benefit category themselves, for example: Heart and Artery related services, Heart conditions, Cardiac Procedures, Cardiac and Cardiac related procedures. This created confusion for consumer as the scope of treatment and benefits paid varied from health fund to health fund.

This is the reason why a standard set of clinical categories has been introduced to define what different products do and do not cover, helping consumers make an informed choice about private health insurance.

From 1 April 2019, all health funds are required to use the standard clinical categories to inform customers of treatments and services included in their hospital insurance policy, making it easier to understand what different products do and do not cover.

A clinical category is defined as a group of hospital treatments/services that must be covered by a Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) item number. This means that if the category is covered, all health funds must cover the same treatments/services for each clinical category.

This will eliminate the confusion of the treatments covered under each product available in the market making it easier to compare and choose the cover that’s right for you.

Starting 1 April 2019 hospital policies will be categorised into tiers with minimum requirements of cover for each level of cover: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic.

Hospital products must now cover certain standard clinical categories depending on the tier it fits into. The higher the tier, the more it must cover.

If a clinical category is covered under a tier, then a health insurer must ensure that all MBS items of the category are covered. Policy names must include the tier category to easily identify the tier.

In addition, an insurer may use the word ‘Plus’ (or symbol ‘+)’ e.g. ‘Silver Plus’ to indicate that the policy covers the minimum clinical categories for a Silver tier hospital product, but it has some additional inclusions.

The new product tiers will give consumers greater certainty about the services covered by each type of hospital treatment product

Following a review chaired by the former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, some natural therapies will be excluded from the definition of private health insurance general treatment, as there is no clear evidence demonstrating their efficacy.

From 1 April 2019 private health insurers will no longer be able to pay benefits for the excluded natural therapies services.

    Not covered from 1 April 2019

  • Alexander technique
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bowen therapy
  • Buteyko
  • Feldenkrais
  • Herbalism
  • Homeopathy
  • Iridology
  • Kinesiology
  • Naturopathy
  • Pilates
  • Reflexology
  • Rolfing
  • Shiatsu
  • Tai chi and yoga

In the case where health professionals provide excluded natural therapies as an element of other treatment, health insurers may pay benefits if the services provided are within the accepted scope of clinical practice. For example, a physiotherapist providing Pilates services.

For additional information on eligibility of services please visit the Department of Health.

Consumers are concerned with the premium increases and affordability. To assist with this, insurers will be able to increase the permitted excesses for private hospital insurance.

Maximum excess levels allowable by the government, will increase from $500 to $750 for singles and from $1000 to $1500 for couples/families.

The Medicare Levy Surcharge is an additional tax charged to people who earn more than the specified threshold and don’t have Private Hospital cover. All see-u hospital policies satisfy the Government criteria to avoid the surcharge (to avoid the tax, you only need Hospital cover, not Extras cover).

Does the Medicare Levy Surcharge apply to me? Show content

The Medicare Levy Surcharge will apply to you if you earn over $93,000 a year as a single, or $186,000 as a couple or family and don't have private hospital cover. The surcharge varies from 1% to 1.5% depending on your income. For families with more than one child, your family income threshold increases by $1,500 for each child after your first.

For more information, visit

What is the Lifetime Health Cover loading? Show content

‘Lifetime Health Cover’ is a Government initiative designed to encourage people to take out private hospital insurance earlier in life and maintain their cover.

People who delay taking out cover will pay a 2% loading on top of their premium for every year they’re aged over 30 when they first take out private hospital cover and the loading applies for 10 years. For example, if you took out private hospital cover for the first time at the age of 40, you would have an additional 20% on your premium every year for 10 years.

I’m turning 31, what should I do? Show content

Consider taking out hospital cover before you’re 31 to avoid higher premiums.

What is a ‘gap’? Show content

A gap is the amount of the medical bill that remains to be paid by the patient after Medicare and/or private health funds have paid their share.

All of see-u Hospital Cover options include ‘gap cover’, which means that if your doctor and hospital agree to treat you on the ‘Access Gap Cover Scheme’ you will have little to no gap to pay.

It’s always a good idea to ask your doctor or medical provider for an estimate of any out of pocket expenses you may incur, particularly if you’re having surgery.

Switching to see-u is very easy. After you’ve chosen your cover options, you’ll be asked to provide your current health insurance policy details in the joining form. We’ll then contact them directly to cancel your policy and to transfer over any waiting periods you’ve served. Simple!

If you’re aware of a medical condition you already have, you can still take out health cover with see-u. You will have to wait 12 months before you will be covered for treatment relating to your pre-existing medical condition unless this waiting period was served with another provider.

What are waiting periods and how do they work? Show content

A waiting period is the amount of time you must wait between taking out a policy and being able to claim. If you’re transferring from another provider to an equivalent level of cover with see-u and you served the waiting period with your previous provider, you will not have to reserve your waiting period.

If you’re upgrading your level of cover from either another provider or from a lower see-u policy, you’ll be covered at the previous level until your waiting period has been served.

The Australian Government sets the maximum waiting periods that health funds can impose on hospital insurance before you can make a claim. The maximum amount of time you'll have to wait before making a claim is:

  • Pre-existing conditions: 12 months
  • Pregnancy and birth: 12 months
  • Other in-hospital treatments: Two months

We also take into account and apply any partial waiting periods served with other providers.