Can my adult children stay on our family health cover?

Chris Stanley

Chris Stanley

Updated 01/09/2023

Health insurers are following a federal government initiative that allows young adults to remain on their family’s health cover up to the age of 31. But which insurers offer this and does it make more sense to stay on a family policy or go it alone?

Can my adult children stay on our family health cover?

A Guide To Health Insurance For Parents & Children

Most young adults dream of the day they can be financially independent from their parents. But health insurance can be a real drain on their bank balance and it can be easy for twentysomethings to decide they can do without cover.

The good news is that some health funds let adult children stay on your family policy well into their twenties. 

While this varies between insurers, it can be a cost effective solution for budget-conscious families, especially when it comes to saving money on items like dentist visits, new glasses and contact lenses.

The federal government has now raised the age limit to 31. So does it make financial sense for a young adult to stay covered by their parents’ policy? Here's all you need to know.

Key Points

  • Young adults may be able to stay on a family policy until they’re 31, as more health insurers are adding Extended Family Cover.

  • The age limit is a guideline from the government. The cut-off ages still vary between health insurers. 

  • Comparing policies can help families work out what cover offers them the best value for money.


What’s the age limit for a young adult to remain on their family’s insurance policy? 

This varies from insurer to insurer, but many health insurers are implementing the changes recommended from the Government by increasing the age of dependents to 31.

Some major health insurers, such as BUPA and HCF, are following the new guidelines from the government and have implemented a new type of cover called Extended Family Cover. 

This means that if you’re a parent and are paying a little extra for your family cover, your adult children can stay on your current policy up until the age of 31.

What is Extended Family Cover?

Extended Family Cover is a new type of loading that health insurers are adding so families who want to add their adult children to their current policy can do so.

Depending on your level of cover and your insurer, you may be able to add your adult children to any level of cover.

Can my adult child re-join my current policy?

Yes, they can. As long as you pay for Extended Family Cover, your adult child is able to re-join your eligible policy until they turn 31.

However, some insurers, such as Medibank and AHM, require adult children to re-serve their waiting periods before being able to fully use their parent’s cover.

Each insurer will have different requirements for adult children re-joining their parent’s policy, so doing your research beforehand can pay off.

Can my child remain on my policy as an adult if they have a disability?

There’s no age limit for adult children with a disability to remain on their parents’ policy. This allows them to access their family’s cover indefinitely. 

What if my child is a full-time student?

The new changes mean that depending on your health insurer, all adult children may be covered up to 31. But, as we’ve already noted, not all insurers are choosing to raise their limits to 31.

If your child is a full-time student, you can still add them to your family policy through Extended Family Cover, if your health insurer offers this type of coverage.

However, different funds may have different age limits for non-students. As ever, it’s worth checking and comparing. And if it gets confusing, just get in touch and let us do the hard work for you.


Do all health insurers allow children to stay on a family policy until they turn 31?


No. The 2020 federal budget allowed insurers to extend the age for coverage but didn’t make it compulsory. Most insurers have opted not to extend the age limit for adult children.

At the time of writing, HCF, BUPA, AHM, Australian Unity, Teacher’s Health and are implementing the changes, all with different age limits and restrictions .

Some insurers are offering Extended Family Cover as an option, whereas others are letting you add your adult child to your current policy free of charge.

Compare Club’s specialists can help find policies with higher age limits, if you’re keen to keep your children covered when they reach adulthood.

What happens when my child turns 31?

This is the age when the government’s Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading kicks in.

Anyone over 31 will accrue a 2% surcharge. The maximum this surcharge can rise to is 70 percent by the age of 65. This surcharge or loading applies for up to 10 years of health fund membership.

The LHCL is designed to encourage younger Australians to take our private health cover and ease the burden on the public system. 

By raising the age limit to 31, the government aligned the cut-off age from a family membership with the beginning of the Lifetime Health Cover loading period.

Can people aged 18 and above still get their own health insurance policy?


Anyone over the age of 18 can choose to come off their family policy and take out their own health insurance.

If that’s you, you might want to read our guide to health insurance for young singles.


Do young adults get any discounts on their health insurance?

Many health insurance providers offer incentives in the form of “age-based discounts” for young adults who choose to take out their own policy. 

This can be as much as 10% discount on yearly premiums for anybody aged between 18 and 25.

Can I cover my adult child’s partner on my health insurance?

The short answer here is no.

You may be fond of your child’s other half, but health funds will only cover adult children when the policyholder is their parent or permanent legal guardian.

If your child gets married or is in a de facto relationship, they’ll also need to take out their own policy, even if they’re only 18.

At this stage, it’s worth considering if it’s cheaper to get a couples policy or two separate singles cover policies.

Should I keep my kids on my family policy or ask them to get their own cover?

Choosing whether to keep your adult children on your policy really comes down to what you can afford and whether it makes more sense for your children to take out their own policy

While having your adult kids on your cover could put some financial pressure back on the Bank of Mum and Dad, you'd likely be easing the health cover cost burden on your family overall by contributing to the cost of their dental treatment or other health expenses. In this case, it may make more sense for all of you to sit on one policy.

Essentially, the easiest way to work out whether it’s most cost-effective to have a family policy or a young singles policy is to compare. 

It can be quite time consuming to go back and forth between funds. This is where the team at Compare Club can help. 

We’ll compare policies from a panel of Australia’s leading insurers to find out the right combination of policies for you and your family.


How much will it cost to keep my child on my policy once they turn 18?

This varies from insurer to insurer, especially with many health funds increasing the age of dependants to 31. 

With the new changes, it’s easier than ever to see just how much it’ll cost you to keep your family covered with private health insurance, especially if your health insurer offers Extended Family Cover.

This is something Compare Club’s specialists can help with. We’ll look into what you need cover for and whether it’s more cost effective to take out a family policy or to move to separate policies.

What’s the best family health insurance if I have adult children?

The best way to answer this is to compare policies. It’s where Compare Club can help - we’ll help you find a premium that fits your budget and needs from our panel of trusted insurers#.

Plus, if your kids are no longer the little angels they used to be, it’s worth comparing a wide range of policies to understand the best value option for them (and you!) in the long run.


This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

#Compare Club compares selected products from a panel of trusted insurers. We do not compare all products in the market.

Chris Stanley is the sales & operations manager of health insurance at Compare Club. With extensive experience and expertise, Chris is a trusted leader known for his deep understanding of health insurance markets, policies, and coverage options. As the sales & operations manager of health insurance, Chris leads a team of dedicated professionals committed to helping individuals and families make informed decisions about their health insurance needs.

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Chris Stanley

Sales & Operations Manager for Health Insurance