Hospital cover that suits your needs

Choose your hospital, choose your doctor, and avoid public waiting lists when you need hospital treatment.

Compare HBF’s affordable options below.

Find the right hospital cover for you

Choose a life stage to see popular hospital cover options.
Or, you can compare all 6 hospital cover options

Basic Hospital Plus

Low-cost hospital cover for the basics, plus accident cover.

Basic Hospital Plus Elevate

Affordable hospital cover for a selection of commonly used treatments, including bone, joint and muscle and gastrointestinal endoscopy.

Cover to suit your needs

Tell us a little about yourself, and in 3 minutes we'll find our best cover to suit your needs.

What is Private Health Insurance and why might you need it?

Why trust HBF for your health insurance

We're not-for-profit

We’re one of the largest not-for-profit health funds in Australia and with no shareholders to pay, we focus on giving more back to our members.

We’ve been in the business of health since 1941

We’ve got over 80 years’ experience supporting our members’ health and wellbeing.

Mix and match

Mix and match our hospital and extras products to create cover that’s right for you.

HBF health members also get access to great discounts and health programs

  • Join the gym for less with discounts on gym membership5
  • Get discounts on movies, adventures, clothes and more3
  • Specialised health support programs for chronic conditions like diabetes and osteoarthritis.4
  • Protect your health with a fully covered flu vaccination every year6

Do you need hospital, extras or both?

Health cover is just an umbrella term for two types of health insurance—Hospital cover and extras cover. Find out what you need with this quick guide.

Hospital cover

Covers you when you’re admitted to hospital, and will help pay for things like specialist fees, accommodation and theatre fees.

View hospital cover

Extras cover

Covers a bunch of everyday health care services Medicare generally doesn’t, like dental, glasses and physio.

View extras cover

Combined hospital and extras

If you’d like cover for hospital and extras, you can mix and match our products to create your own combined health cover.

Build your own cover

Get more with private hospital cover

  • More choice. Choose your doctor and your hospital.
  • A private room. Rest easy in a private hospital room.5
  • No public waiting lists. Avoid waiting lists that can be over a year long in the public system.

Compare cover options

Switching to HBF?

We’ll do the paperwork for you.

Follow the normal sign-up process, and you’ll be given instructions to provide your current membership details.

The process may take a few weeks behind the scenes, but it won’t require much from you at all. Plus, you won’t need to re-serve waiting periods if you’re switching to an equivalent level of cover with us.

View all cover options

Join HBF in 2 simple steps

  1. Choose your cover

    You can browse cover options online, or use our cover recommendation tool for a more personalised experience.

  2. Let HBF do the paperwork

    If you're switching from another health insurer, just tell us during sign up. We'll then contact you to get your member number (or policy number), and we'll contact your health insurer to organise the transfer.

    Getting cover for the first time, or changing your HBF cover? Just sign up below.

Helpful terms to know

Waiting periods

A waiting period is a set amount of time during which you must continuously hold your level of cover before you can claim a benefit. Waiting periods exist to stop people from signing up when they need treatment, claiming and leaving without contributing premiums to the fund which drives premiums up for all other members of the health fund. Waiting periods may apply when you:

  • Purchase health insurance for the first time
  • Change your level of cover and end up with new services that were not on your previous cover. You’ll have to serve the relevant waiting periods for the new services before you can claim any benefits
  • Change your level of cover and end up with higher benefits and/or limits. You’ll have to serve the relevant waiting periods before you can claim the increased benefits and/or limits. During this waiting period, you may be able to claim as per your previous cover
  • Decrease your hospital excess. You’ll have to serve the relevant waiting periods before you can pay the lower excess. During this waiting period, you may be able to claim and the excess on your previous cover will apply
  • Re-join a fund after a break from cover

Where you have continuous hospital cover and switch to HBF, we’ll honour any waiting periods you served on your previous health cover, so you won’t have to re-serve them. If you are part-way through a waiting period, you’ll just have to serve the remainder before you can claim.

Hospital excess

A hospital excess is the amount of money you agree to pay upfront when you’re admitted to hospital for treatment.

With HBF, you’ll only pay the excess once per person, per calendar year, no matter how many times you are admitted to hospital.


An exclusion is a service, treatment or good which is not included on your cover. No benefits are payable towards excluded treatments, services or goods. If you choose to get treatment for an excluded service, you may incur significant out of pocket costs.

For example, if your hospital insurance policy excludes Assisted reproductive services and you choose to get IVF, we won’t pay anything towards the cost of those services.


A restriction is a treatment or service for which your health fund will only pay the minimum default benefit (this is set by the government). If a procedure or service is listed as restricted on your policy, you’ll be covered for it, but only to a very limited extent, leaving you with an out-of-pocket cost to pay.

For example, if you need Hospital psychiatric services but it’s listed as a restricted service on your policy, we will only pay the minimum default benefit for that service. That would leave you to pay the rest of the bill out of your own pocket. You can learn more about minimum default benefits on the Australian Government’s Private Health website.

When you review your cover options, consider your current and future health needs to ensure you get the right level of cover. If a policy has restricted services, think about whether you’ll need that treatment in future. If the answer is yes, you may want to consider a higher level of cover.

Hospital out-of-pocket

An out-of-pocket is the portion of a hospital bill that you pay from your own pocket for which you won’t be reimbursed – by either us or Medicare.

What is hospital cover?

Hospital insurance, also known as hospital cover, helps cover costs when you are admitted to hospital for surgery and other types of medical treatment. It helps cover the cost of doctors’ and anaesthetists’ fees, as well as other hospital costs like accommodation, prostheses and theatre fees.

With hospital insurance, you can go to a private hospital for treatment, choose your own specialist and time of treatment, and gain access to a private room (so long as it’s covered on your policy and there’s one available).

Do I need hospital cover?

It’s entirely up to you. Many Australians initially get hospital cover to avoid government penalties like the Medicare levy surcharge, but the real value of private hospital insurance is in the freedom and control it gives you over your healthcare.

With hospital cover, you can go to a private hospital for treatment and your health fund will help cover some of your costs. You’ll be able to choose your specialist and avoid the public hospital waiting list.

If you don’t have hospital cover but choose to be treated in a private hospital, you will have to fund your own treatment. If you don’t have hospital cover and go to a public hospital for treatment, you won’t have a choice of specialist and will have to wait on the public hospital waiting list— this could mean months, or even years before you receive treatment.

What are the benefits of hospital cover?

While Australia has an excellent healthcare system, there are many benefits to having hospital cover.

Hospital cover helps cover some of the costs when you’re admitted to hospital. It can help cover some of the costs for things like doctors’ fees, accommodation and theatre fees.

With hospital cover, you’ll also be able to choose your preferred hospital and doctor to receive treatment from, avoid long public waiting lists and gain access to a private room*.

*Subject to availability.

What does hospital cover include?

Hospital insurance helps cover the cost of ‘inpatient’ services—these are treatments you receive when you’re formally admitted to hospital for care, e.g. for surgery.

The specific hospital procedures and services you’re covered for (e.g. chemotherapy, a colonoscopy, tonsil removal, knee reconstructions etc.) depends on the level of hospital cover you choose.

Generally, as your level of hospital cover goes up, so does the number of included services.

What does hospital cover not include?

Your hospital insurance cannot cover ‘outpatient’ services—these are treatments you receive when you haven’t been formally admitted to hospital, for example, tests and examinations (like x-rays and blood tests). In most cases, Medicare will help cover these services.

If you visit your doctor or specialist at a hospital, without being admitted, this is classed as outpatient hospital treatment, for which your private health insurance cannot pay a benefit. Please call us to get a quote if you’re unsure.

Depending on your level of cover, you may also have exclusions and/or restrictions. If a service is excluded, it’s not covered at all. Restricted services receive the minimum default benefit, which generally means a large out-of-pocket.

How much will I get back?

Where your treatment is an included service on your hospital cover, your hospital costs will either be fully or partially covered depending on the type of agreement your health fund has with your specialists and hospital.

With HBF, when you’re admitted to hospital for treatment you will get 100% back for the cost of your hospital accommodation and specialists so long as you choose providers that have ‘no-gap’ (otherwise known as ‘fully covered’) agreements with your health fund.

Just be aware of out-of-pocket costs, which can include excess or co-payments, as well any outpatient services.

What are the waiting periods for hospital cover?

At HBF, the waiting periods for hospital services are as listed in the table below.

Waiting periods
2 months
Palliative care
2 months
Hospital psychiatric services
2 months
Pre-existing conditions
12 months*
Pregnancy and birth
12 months
Accident cover
1 day
All other services
2 months+

If you hold an HBF Overseas Visitor cover, you will have different waiting periods. Please refer to your product sheet for more information.

*Hospital psychiatric services, Rehabilitation and Palliative care are not considered pre-existing so only the two-month waiting period applies to these services.

Can I purchase hospital cover only?

Yes. With HBF, you can purchase hospital cover on its own. Hospital insurance helps cover some of the costs when you’re admitted to hospital. It can help cover some of the costs for things like doctors’ fees, accommodation and theatre fees.

Can my partner and I just get two single health cover policies?

Yes. As a couple, you have the option of getting couples health insurance (so you’re both covered on the same policy) or a singles health insurance policy each. It’s entirely up to you and what best suits your needs.

If you need pregnancy and birth cover, you can buy a singles health insurance policy with pregnancy and birth, and one without. When your baby arrives, you can then transition to family health cover, so you, your partner and your new baby can all be covered on the same policy.

When do singles need to leave family cover?

If you’re on your parents’ health cover, we will cover you on their policy until you turn 25 provided you’re not married or in a de-facto relationship and are either:

  • studying fulltime, or;
  • earning less than $24,500 per year.

Get in touch with HBF

We'll help you find our best cover that suits your needs.