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Couples health insurance

Take the hassle out of couples health insurance - compare your options.

You’ve already combined some of your personal accounts, such as Netflix or Spotify, so why not do the same with your health cover? Getting a joint health insurance policy can be a quick and easy way to cut down the paperwork you and your partner have to deal with each year.

Read on to find out what you should look for in a couples health insurance policy.

What is couples health insurance?

Couples health insurance, often called joint health insurance, is a policy that protects both you and your partner. Like any other health insurance, you’ll typically pay a monthly premium and if you or your partner needs private medical care for an ailment (that’s covered in the policy) you can make a claim to meet the cost of your treatment.

Am I eligible?

For purposes of health insurance, a couple is considered any two people who are married, in a registered relationship or in a defacto relationship. You may be required to provide evidence of your status.

Is it possible to combine benefit limits?

Unfortunately, most benefits have “per person” limits. So even on a dedicated couple’s policy, one partner can’t blow through their limits and then tap into the other person’s benefits. So if you were hoping you could both swap your benefits around to make them go farther, you may find you’re out of luck. To get two different levels of cover, you’ll need to apply for two single policies.

What to look for in your couples policy

So you’ve decided to go for it. Having the same level of cover as your partner makes sense, and you’ll take any little convenience you can get. Let’s look at some ways you can get the most bang for your buck:

  • Shop around for a deal. Save some cash or grab some other perks by taking advantage of sign-up bonuses. Insurers will offer discounts, a free month of cover, waived waiting periods and other perks just to get your business. Tell them it’s for a couple and you may get double.
  • Maximise your chosen extras. If you go for any extras, make sure it has something for both of you. You don’t want your partner going without her eyeglasses while you sit back and enjoy your remedial massages.
  • Pay upfront. If the two of you can afford it, then paying for your annual policy in advance could work out a bit cheaper.
  • Look closer to home. If you love your current policy, there’s no use giving up on it. Check if your provider has a couple’s policy, and try to negotiate a discount or other perks in return for bringing your partner to the party.

A few things to know about couples health insurance

There are a few things insurers don’t tell you. When you dig into the details, you’ll find there isn’t much to a couples product that sets it apart:

Money bag A couples health policy may not be cheaper than two singles policies

It’s a mistake to assume that a couples policy is going to cost less than two single policies. Generally speaking, offering you a discount just because you’ve joined someone else’s policy wouldn’t be fair to all the other singles out there.

Thumbs down You could end up paying for protection you don’t need

A couples policy typically requires both people to have the same level of protection. If one of you needs a more expensive policy, then the other person will often have to pay the same rate.

What else should I be aware of?

You can still act on each other’s behalf

By joining a couples policy, you’ll automatically have authority to speak on each other’s behalf and make changes to the policy. But you can do something similar on separate policies. Simply fill out a delegated authority form for each policy, and you’ll be granted with many of the same authorisations.

You can streamline your charges

A combined policy will conveniently send you one combined bill, payable via a combined direct debit. Although you can’t do exactly this with separate policies, you can get close. Just have both bills debited on the day using the same card by requesting that your individual providers change your payment date and funding sources.

You’re not missing out on any mythical “combined extras”

Let’s say you’re more likely to visit the dentist while your partner visits a physio more than you do. It’s tempting to think a combined policy will let you tap into each other’s benefit limits to make them go farther. But that’s not the way it works. With a combined policy, the benefit limits are applied on a “per person” basis.

What if my partner and I break up?

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. It’s likely you’ll be able to switch to a single policy without re-serving waiting periods.

Couples policy vs two singles policies: which is right for me?

Ultimately, whether or not you’ll benefit from a couples policy or not will depend on your individual circumstances and what exactly it is you want to get out of your cover. You may be able to find a more cost-effective deal with less paperwork if you lump for a joint policy. On the other hand, two single health insurance plans might let each of you tailor the policy to your own needs. This could be a better option if you’d both like to get different benefits from your policy.

You can also choose family health insurance if you want your children to be covered.

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