Australian Unity review

Australian Unity has over 300,000 customers. Find out more about their policies, member benefits, and how to compare the cover with that of other health funds.

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by Gary Andrews

Last update 1 Sep 2021

Overview

Founded over 180 years ago, Australian Unity is Australia's first member-owned wellbeing company.

It provides health, wealth and aged care services to over 1 million customers, including 300,000 members across the country.

While Australian Unity isn't not-for-profit, as part of the Members Health Fund Alliance, it diverts profits back into the business to benefit members rather than shareholders.

It has six hospital health insurance policies for customers, including Gold, with no restrictions.

That includes three Silver Plus plans designed for different life stages, from young couples, to single parents, to growing families.

There are also six extras plans.

Members also have access to Wellplan Rewards®, a loyalty program with a range of discounts on everyday shopping.

Key Points

Member-owned, with profits going back into the company
No gap preventative dental cover on selected plans
Fast on-the-spot claims through HICAPS and the mobile app

Compare Australian Unity and other insurers on our panel.

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Hospital Cover

Nobody chooses to go to hospital.

But when you do, hospital cover will help you get the treatment you need, where and when you want it.

It also helps to pay the bills, as fees for hospital rooms and specialists can add up.

Think about what services you're likely to need, in line with your budget.

If you earn over $90,000 individually or $180,000 as a couple, you could avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

Australian Unity offers a choice of six plans, from no-frills basic cover through to a Gold plan that covers almost everything.

There's also three mid-level Silver Plus plans, based on the needs of your family unit.

All Australian Unity hospital plans come with:

  • Excess waived for accidents
  • Hospital care and rehabilitation at home
  • Increased cover if injury or illness is caused by an accident for members on basic, bronze and silver hospital covers (but some conditions will apply)
  • Access to the Wellplan Rewards® loyalty program

Simple Hospital (Basic Plus)

Australian Unity's budget cover for accidents and simple hospital procedures, although a lot of services will be excluded or restricted with this level of cover.

It's typically taken out by healthy young singles and couples without children.

Key inclusions:

  • Dental surgery
  • Joint constructions
  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
  • Hernia and appendix

Standard Hospital (Bronze Plus) 

A hospital plan that's a step above the Basic Plus package.

It covers accidents and common hospital services.

It's typically taken out by singles, couples and families.

Key inclusions:

  • Dental surgery
  • Breast surgery (medically necessary)
  • Chemo, radiotherapy and immunotherapy 
  • Gynaecology

Intermediate Hospital (Silver Plus)

A medium level of cover with a wider range of common procedures than the Bronze and Basic packages.

Key inclusions:

  • Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Heart and vascular system
  • Sleep studies

Classic Hospital (Silver Plus)

Mid-lever cover with a broad range of procedures including cataracts and joint replacements that aren't covered in the Intermediate Hospital package.

Pregnancy and birth services are not included, so if you're starting a family, Advanced or Ultimate Hospital cover may be more suitable.

Key inclusions:

  • Joint reconstructions
  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
  • Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Heart and vascular system

Advanced Hospital (Silver Plus)

One of the highest levels of cover for most hospital services, including midwifery and assisted reproductive services.

Ideal for people who are starting or growing their family.

Key inclusions:

  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Assisted reproductive services
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Dialysis for chronic kidney failure

Ultimate Hospital (Gold)

Australian Unity's most expensive plan.

Comprehensive cover for all Medicare recognised hospital services, including pregnancy, the BumptoBaby program for mums-to-be, psychiatry in a private hospital and more.

Key inclusions:

  • Non-restricted hospital psychiatric services
  • BumptoBaby program
  • Heart and vascular system
  • Cataracts
  • Joint replacement

Ambulance Cover

All hospital plans include emergency ambulance trips to hospital (some conditions apply, so check if you're considering this policy).

You're also covered for two ambulance attendant visits per person, per year, where you're not taken to hospital.

Extras cover

From dental, to optical, to chiro and more, extras insurance helps cover the bills for routine treatments with rebates of up to 100%.

While we've summarised the key points of each plan below, it's always worth digging a little deeper into any gap fees, how much you can claim back, and whether your preferred healthcare provider, such as your local dentist, has an agreement with the health fund.

Take time to work out what you need and what you're prepared to pay.

If this feels a bit overwhelming, you can speak to one of our experts who can talk you through what is and isn't included in each extras policy.

Australian Unity has six extras plans to choose from.

There's basic cover for those on a budget, through to a comprehensive plan that offers $8,500 cover per person, per year.

A quick note: the limits below are the cumulative total of what you could claim back if you claimed back the full amount on every extra.

It's not the limit per extra.

Basic Extras

Covers the basics, including general dental, physio, optical and remedial massage, with a limit of $950 per person, per year.

Coverage includes

  • Preventative Dental, General Dental, root canal, gum disease treatments and surgical extractions ($350 combined annual limit)
  • Optical ($150 annual limit)
  • Physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy, remedial massage ($100 sub-limit), myotherapy and acupuncture ($350 combined annual limit)

Standard Extras

Mid-level cover that lets you claim 60% back on general dental, physio, chiro and remedial massage, to a limit of $1,200 per person, per year.

Coverage includes:

  • Preventative Dental, General Dental, root canal, gum disease treatments and surgical extractions ($600 combined annual limit)
  • Optical ($200 annual limit)
  • Physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy, remedial massage, myotherapy and acupuncture ($400 combined annual limit. Note: some sub-limits apply)

Intermediate Extras

Mid-level cover that lets you claim 100% back on optical, and selected dental services through Australian Unity's No Gap Dental Network.

You can claim up to $3,400 per person per calendar year.

Coverage includes:

  • Preventative and General dental ($600 combined annual limit)
  • Root canal, gum disease treatments and surgical extractions ($300 annual limit)
  • Optical ($200 annual limit)
  • Physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy ($400 combined annual limit)
  • Podiatry ($300 annual limit)

Comprehensive Extras

One of Australian Unity's highest levels of cover, designed with families in mind.

Claim 100% back on preventative dental, up to $800 per person, per year.

Family limits apply, but you can claim up to $6,400 per person for the first calendar year of coverage.

Coverage includes:

  • Optical ($200 annual limit)
  • Physiotherapy, myotherapy and exercise physiology ($500 annual combined limit)
  • Chiropractic and osteopathy ($500 per person, up to $1000 per family annual limit)
  • Podiatry ($350 annual limit)
  • Remedial massage ($150 per person, up to $300 per family annual limit)

Classic Extras

A high level of cover for a wide range of extras.

Claim 100% back on combined general and preventative dental up to $800.

Also covers orthodontics, physio, chiro and natural therapies. Claim up to $6,730 per person per year.

Coverage includes: 

  • Preventative and General dental ($800 combined annual limit with No Gap Dental Network)
  • Optical ($200 annual limit)
  • Physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy ($500 combined annual limit)
  • Podiatry and orthotics($350 combined annual limit)

Advanced 80% Extras

The highest level of cover with 80% back on all extras, up to $8,500 per person, per year.

Includes unlimited preventative dental, plus orthodontics, natural therapies and psychology.

Coverage includes:

  • Preventative dental and No Gap Dental Network (Unlimited annual limit)
  • General dental ($1,000 annual limit)
  • Root canal, gum disease and surgical extractions ($500 annual limit)
  • Optical ($300 annual limit)
  • Physiotherapy ($600 annual limit)
  • Chiropractic and osteopathy ($500 combined annual limit)
  • Podiatry and orthotics ($600 combined annual limit)
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Waiting periods

To stop people signing up, claiming, then cancelling their health insurance, all insurers apply waiting periods.

Generally, the more expensive the treatment, the longer you'll wait.

But keep an eye out for special deals with waiting periods reduced or waived.

Simple Hospital (Basic Plus), Standard Hospital (Bronze Plus), Intermediate Hospital (Silver Plus), Classic Hospital (Silver Plus)

  • No waiting period -- emergency ambulance or hospital treatment for accidents 
  • 2 months -- psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care
  • 12 months -- pre-existing conditions, excluding psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care
  • 2 months -- all other treatments included in your cover

Advanced Hospital (Silver Plus)

  • No waiting period -- emergency ambulance or hospital treatment for accidents 
  • 2 months -- psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care
  • 9 months -- default (shared room/public hospital) for pregnancy and birth
  • 12 months -- pregnancy and birth in an Australian Unity agreement private hospital
  • 12 months -- midwife in private practice services
  • 12 months -- pre-existing conditions, excluding psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care
  • 2 months -- all other treatments included in your cover

Ultimate Hospital (Gold)

  • No waiting period -- emergency ambulance or hospital treatment for accidents
  • 2 months -- psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care
  • 12 months -- pregnancy and birth in an Australian Unity agreement private hospital
  • 12 months -- pre-existing conditions, excluding psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care
  • 2 months -- all other treatments included in your cover

Member benefits

Along with a broad range of hospital and extras covers, Australian Unity offers members a range of health programs.

Depending on your level and length of cover, you can get free support for mental health, living with chronic conditions, preparing for parenthood, dental health and more.

Members also have access to Australian Unity's Wellplan Rewards®, a loyalty program that comes with a range of discounts at popular retailers.

You'll be able to save on everyday shopping like groceries, petrol, meals and alcohol.

How to claim

Australian Unity offers a range of ways to claim.

You can claim on the spot through the HICAPS payment system at your provider.

You can also claim online, through the mobile app, or by phone, email, mail or fax.

Hospital agreements

Australian Unity has agreements with most private hospitals and day clinics across Australia -- see the scale and lists below.

When comparing policies, it's worth checking if your preferred local hospitals and clinics are covered.

Our specialists at Health Insurance Comparison can do this for you.

NSW – 184 See the full list

Victoria – 149 See the full list

Queensland – 103 See the full list

South Australia – 53 See the full list

Western Australia – 44 See the full list

ACT – 13 See the full list

NT – 3 See the full list

Tasmania – 8 See the full list

Customer service

Australian Unity received 4.5% of all private health insurer complaints in 2021. They have a market share of 2.6%.

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FAQs

Is Australian Unity a not-for-profit fund?

No, but profits go back into the business to benefit members.

Who can apply? Are there any restrictions?

There’s no restrictions to joining Australian Unity. Anyone can apply.

Is it easy to switch to Australian Unity?

Yes, you can sign up right here, right now. We’ll take care of the paperwork.

Do I need to re-serve waiting periods?

No. Providing you transfer to an equivalent or lower cover with Australian Unity within 30 days of leaving your old fund.

Can I change my level of cover?

Yes, you can choose a lower or higher level of cover. If you move to a higher level of cover, you will usually need to serve new waiting periods on the extra or higher portion of your cover.

Do I get the government rebate?

Most Australians are eligible to receive a rebate from the government. This will depend on your age and income.

Do I have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover loading?

If you’re joining for the first time and you’re 31 or over, you usually need to pay 2% loading for each year you’ve gone without hospital cover since your 31st birthday. You can find out more here.

When do extras reset?

Extras reset each 31 December.

What age are children covered up to?

Generally, 23. If they’re studying full time, dependents can be covered as a student under a family policy up to the age of 25. Children must not be married or living in a de facto relationship.

Who underwrites the health policies?

Australian Unity Health Limited is a registered Australian health insurer.

How do I get in contact with Australian Unity?

You can call them with general enquiries on 13 29 29 or via their website form. Members can also contact the fund through their app.

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