Do you need private health insurance in your 60s?


4 minutes

10 January 2022

A grandfather doing a push-up with two cute children climbing on his back

Is private health insurance worth it for you? Here’s what HBF members in their 60s claim for the most on hospital and extras cover.

In your 60s, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your health, to help keep your mind and body feeling vibrant and well for decades to come. 

Private health insurance can help give you some extra reassurance that if health problems come up, you’ll have more choice and flexibility to manage them.

Here are a few ways private health insurance could help you. 

In this article

Your health in your 60s

In your 60s, your risk of health problems such as cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, kidney disease and osteoporosis increases.1 

That’s why it’s essential to have regular health check-ups and screenings as recommended by your doctor, and try to follow healthy lifestyle routines that keep you feeling well.1

If you’re considering private hospital cover – or reviewing if your level of cover is still right for you – it can be helpful to look at the common services other people in your age group are claiming for.

Popular hospital claims

For HBF members in their 60s, some of the most common hospital cover claims include:2

  • Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer. No one wants to think about cancer, but it’s important to know that risk increases with age – and one in two Australians will be diagnosed with some form of cancer by age 85.3
  • Heart and vascular system. Cardiovascular disease affects one in six Australians, and risk goes up with age.4 
  • Cataracts. Around 50% of people over the age of 50 experience cataracts – a blurring of the lens of the eye.5 Cataract surgery (which replaces the lens with an artificial one) is one of the most frequently performed elective surgeries in Australia.6
  • Digestive system. This category covers investigation and treatment of conditions affecting all areas of the digestive system, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gall stones and haemorrhoids. 
  • Joint replacements. 1 in 5 Australians over 45 has osteoarthritis, the most common reason for a knee or hip replacement.7 This category includes partial or total joint replacement surgery.
  • Kidney and bladder. This covers investigation and treatment of issues affecting the kidney, adrenal gland and bladder – for example, kidney stones and incontinence.
  • Bone, joint and muscle. A popular claim category across all age groups, this covers treatment for injuries and conditions of the musculoskeletal system, such as fractures and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Other benefits of private hospital cover

You can also choose to have these treatments in a public hospital, but there are a few benefits of private hospital treatment you might want to consider. For example:

  • You may be able to get treated sooner. Public hospital waiting lists can be long. In a private hospital, you’ll often be able to book your procedure sooner and choose when it’s more convenient for you.
  • You can get a private room, if one’s available.* For many people, having a private room can make your hospital experience a little more comfortable.
  • You can choose your doctor and hospital. This can give you a bit more choice and a feeling of more control over your treatment.

Having private hospital cover can also mean you avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

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

Popular extras claims

Looking after your health can also include more everyday, non-hospital health services – and that’s where extras cover can help.

Some of the most commonly claimed extras services among HBF members in their 60s are:2

  • Dental (Preventative and Restorative). This covers your regular check-ups and cleans, plus simple dental work like fillings and extractions.
  • Major dental and implants. As you get older, you’re also more likely to claim for Major Dental, which includes more complex work like crowns, root canals, dentures, bridges and dental implants.2
  • Physiotherapy. Around 1 in 4 people in their 60s experiences back pain, a common reason for seeing a physio.8 A physio can also help with things like other aches and pains, mobility issues, and rehabilitation after injury, illness or surgery.
  • Optical. The need for reading glasses (presbyopia) is increasingly common in your 60s and above.9 Optical cover gives you benefits back for prescription glasses and contact lenses.
  • Chiropractic. Chiropractic consultations are popular for helping treat health problems related to the skeletal and muscular system, like back and neck pain.

It’s important to know that not all levels of hospital cover 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.

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  1. 1HealthDirect – Manage your health in your 60s (2020)
  2. 2HBF claims data, 2019-2020
  3. 3Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – Cancer in Australia: In brief (2019)
  4. 4Heart Foundation – Key statistics: cardiovascular disease 
  5. 5Centre for Eye Research Australia – Cataracts (2020)
  6. 6Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care – Cataract surgery hospitalisations 40 years and over
  7. 7Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – Osteoarthritis (2020)
  8. 8Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – Back problems (2020)
  9. 9Optometry Australia – Presbyopia (2020)


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.