Do you need private health insurance in your 20s?


4 minutes

10 January 2022

Two young woman hugging and having fun on a colourful street

Is private health insurance worth it for you? Here’s what HBF members in their 20s claim for the most on hospital and extras cover.

In your 20s, private health insurance might not be something you’ve given much thought to – and that’s understandable.

But for many people in their 20s, private health insurance does have some definite advantages.

Plus, depending on how much you earn, it could also help you save on tax.

In this article

Your health in your 20s

To decide if private health insurance is worth it for you, it can be helpful to look at some of the common health considerations for your age group.

For young Australians, some of the top health risks include mental health and accidents and injuries, according to government statistics.1

People in their 20s may also be planning a baby, so this may also be another factor in your decisions about your health.

So how could private health insurance help you? Let's take a look at what other people your age are claiming for. 

Popular hospital claims

For HBF members in their 20s, some of the most common hospital cover claims include:2

  • Hospital psychiatric services. Nearly one in two Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.3 HBF members in their 20s and 30s claim for hospital psychiatric treatment – which includes treatment for mental illnesses, eating disorders or addictions – significantly more than any other age group.2
  • Bone, joint and muscle. With accidents and injuries among the top health risks for young Australians, this category – which includes hospital treatment for injuries and conditions of the musculoskeletal system – may be worth considering. 
  • Pregnancy and birth. Thinking about a little bundle of joy? If you’re planning a baby and want to give birth as a private hospital patient, it’s important to know that you will need to be covered for this for 12 months before your due date.
  • Digestive system. This category includes hospital investigation and treatment of conditions that affect the digestive system – for example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects around three in 10 people.4
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy. Similarly, this covers investigation and treatment of the inner parts of the digestive system using an endoscope (a long, thin tube with a tiny camera attached – fun!).
  • Ear, nose and throat. This category includes things like sinus surgery and surgery to fix a deviated septum.

Other benefits of private hospital cover

Of course, you can access these treatments in a public hospital too, and for many people in their 20s this can be a good option.

However, there are a few perks of being treated in a private hospital. For example:

  • You can choose your doctor or specialist. In the public hospital system, you don’t have this choice.
  • You can often get treated more quickly. Public hospital waiting lists for some procedures can be lengthy, which in some cases may mean living with discomfort or stress for longer while you wait for treatment.
  • You can get a private room, if one’s available.* Having a room to yourself can make your hospital experience that little bit more comfortable.

Plus, depending on your income, having private hospital cover can mean you avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

This is a tax applied to high income earners (over $93,000 for individuals or $186,000 for couples and families) who don’t have an appropriate level of private hospital cover.

Popular extras claims

The other big part of private health insurance is extras cover.

This can give you benefits towards some out-of-hospital health services that Medicare generally doesn’t cover.

For HBF members in their 20s, some of the most used extras services include: 2

  • Dental (Preventative and Restorative). Keep your smile bright with benefits for regular check-ups and cleans, plus things like fillings and extractions (including wisdom teeth removal in the dentist’s chair – which can often cost up to $400 per tooth.5)
  • Optical. See clearly and look great with benefits towards prescription glasses and contact lenses – which can be handy if you’re among the one in two Australians who needs them.6 
  • Physiotherapy. If you experience aches and pains or mobility issues, physio can help keep you moving and feeling well.
  • Chiropractic. Many people like to see a chiropractor for help with health problems related to the skeletal or muscular system – for example, back or neck pain.
  • Remedial massage. This can help aid recovery from exercise, injuries or illness through soft tissue manipulation.

For parents

Got young kids? Private health insurance can also come in handy if the little ones need medical treatment. 

Popular hospital claims

A few common HBF hospital claims for children include:2

  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
  • Dental surgery
  • Bone, joint and muscle

Extras cover claims for things like dental, optical, chiro and speech therapy are also common for young children.2

It’s important to know that not all levels of hospital and extras cover include the treatments and services described in this article. To find out more about levels of cover, check out HBF cover options.

Extras explained – how much do I get back?

Certainty feels good, that’s why we’ve created a line-up of extras options that give you a guaranteed % back^ on your visits to popular services like Physio, Chiro, and Dental.

Explore HBF Extras


  1. 1Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – Health of young people (2020)
  2. 2HBF claims data, 2019-2021
  3. 3Australian Government Department of Health– The mental health of Australians 2 (2009)
  4. 4HealthDirect – Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (2020)
  5. 5Commonwealth Ombudsman – Average dental costs
  6. 6Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – 1 in 2 Australians affected by eye problems (2015)


This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.

*For the treatment of included services at Member Plus hospitals only.

^Annual limits and waiting periods apply. Percentage back benefits are payable for services, programs and providers approved by HBF, when provider charges in accordance with the Member Plus schedule fee. Excludes Basic Extras and closed products.