Silver hospital cover health insurance explained

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Depending on your budget and specific healthcare needs, you might’ve already familiarised yourself with other tiers of private health insurance in Australia, such as Basic and Bronze policies. Silver hospital cover sits in that ‘sweet spot’ for many people – offering a balance of affordability and heaps of benefits. But is it the right option for you and your family?

Let’s find out by explaining everything you need to know about Silver hospital cover. From what it includes to who it’s best suited for, we’ve got the info to help you make the most informed decision about your healthcare cover.

What is Silver hospital cover?

Silver hospital cover sits between the basic and more comprehensive tiers. Think of it as something of a middle ground in terms of the cost and services/procedures covered. Most of these policies include a wide range of hospital treatments and services, which makes it a popular choice for singles, couples and families who are after pretty broad cover without the high premiums of the Gold tier.

With Silver hospital cover, you can expect cover for all the most common hospital procedures, surgeries, overnight stays and consultations with specialists. It also includes lots of extra services that are only included in higher-tier policies – not Bronze or Basic. Exactly what is and isn’t included, as well as any limitations or exclusions, will obviously depend on the provider, so make sure you read the PDS and speak to your preferred insurer to make sure you’re getting everything you need.

What does Silver health insurance cover?

Most Silver health insurance policies will include everything that a Basic and Bronze policy has, as well as another ‘rung’ of inclusions. For example, do a quick comparison online and you’ll find that many Silver policies include treatments for major health conditions like cancer, heart and vascular issues, lung and chest surgeries, bone-marrow transplants and more. Having this level of cover can give you peace of mind knowing that you’ll be financially supported in the event of a serious medical problem.

Here are some of the services that might be covered under your favourite Silver health insurance policy:

  • Heart and vascular surgery.
  • Surgery for all types of cancer, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • Lung and chest surgeries.
  • Medically necessary plastic and reconstructive surgery.
  • Bone-marrow transplants and other blood-related treatments.

As with any tier of health insurance, we recommend you spend a bit of time reviewing the fine print of each policy so you understand exactly what’s covered and excluded.

How much does Silver hospital cover cost?

Silver hospital cover costs will vary depending on things like your age, whether you’re single or in a family, where you are located around the country, your preferred insurance provider and of course the level of cover you end up choosing (e.g. Silver or Silver Plus). While some lower-end Silver policies can start at around $29 a week for singles, they might be more limited in terms of their cover compared to other Silver policies.

If you’re looking for more complete cover, you’ll likely be paying higher premiums. The cost of your Silver hospital cover will also go up if you add any extras or increase your benefit limits. Factors such as your age and health history can also influence the cost of your premiums.

Your best bet is to compare policies from different providers to find the best health insurance for your needs. Weigh up things like limits to the cover, waiting periods and out-of-pocket expenses when comparing. By shopping around and always reading the PDS, you’ll be able to find a Silver health policy that gives you the right balance of cover and affordability.

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What is Silver Plus cover?

Silver Plus cover is an extra tier (or, really, a sub-tier) of private health insurance that packs a bit more punch. In short, you pay slightly higher premiums and get more extensive cover than standard Silver policies. Silver Plus typically includes all the benefits of a standard Silver policy, but then goes a step further by providing extra cover for specific treatments and procedures.

One of the biggest drawcards of Silver Plus cover is that it includes extras that aren’t covered under regular Silver policies – but still aren’t as expensive as Gold cover. These extras will change from provider to provider, but they might include services like joint replacements, kidney dialysis, cataract surgery, insulin pumps and pain-management treatments.

Silver Plus policies are therefore great for adults who might be approaching retirement age and starting to have more issues with their bodies. In other words, it’s a level of enhanced cover for people who require more extensive medical treatments or have specific health needs. While Silver Plus means you’ll pay higher premiums compared to a standard Silver policy, the additional benefits could deliver everything you need.

Who is Silver hospital cover best for?

We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: it depends! Someone who just finished high school and has a very tight budget, for example, might not get much out of an expensive Silver policy, whereas a young family who are planning a pregnancy might get some real value if the policy includes obstetrics.

On the whole, Silver hospital cover is best suited for those who want a good balance of cover with relatively affordable premiums – at least compared to Gold tier. It’s a great choice if you anticipate needing specific hospital treatments beyond basic procedures, but also don’t need the highest level of cover.

Let’s put it another way: if you have ongoing health concerns or expect to need medical care in the future, such as if you’re planning for childbirth or managing a chronic condition, then Silver cover will give you access to the necessary hospital services that aren’t covered under Basic and Bronze policies.

Is Silver hospital cover enough compared to Gold?

For some people, yes! Silver hospital cover will have enough inclusions and be more affordable compared to Gold. While Gold policies do indeed provide much higher benefits and have a broader range of treatments and services, Silver could be ‘just right’ for you and your family in terms of the amount of financial protection it offers.

Bear in mind that Silver policies will include cover for all the most common hospital procedures and treatments, as well as plenty of additional extras. By contrast, Gold policies tend to include cover for everything – but if you don’t need access to all of that, then the sky-high premiums might not be worth it.

Whether Silver hospital cover is enough compared to Gold ultimately depends on your own healthcare needs and – most importantly – your budget. If you need something a little more than Silver but can’t quite justify the costs of a Gold policy, then Silver Plus might be a good middle ground.

Final word

Here’s the reality of the situation: while Bronze offers basic protection and Gold provides the most comprehensive cover, Silver strikes a balance between the two. Whether or not Silver is the right choice will depend on you, your family and your current circumstances.

In all things, it’s essential to look at your healthcare needs and budget to figure out the most suitable option. Then it’s time to jump online and start comparing private health insurance policies to find one that fits best! Remember, regardless of the tier you choose, having private health insurance will mean you always have access to quality care when you need it most.

Simon Jones
Written by
Simon has spent more than 15 years covering the technology and finance sectors as both a journalist and content marketer. He is fascinated by the convergence of AI and big data, and spends what little free time he can scrape together either wrangling two kids or expanding his gin collection.

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