Hhi health insurance review


Hunter Health Insurance (HHI) was formerly known as the Cessnock District Health (CDH) Benefits Fund. The name change was initiated to attract a wider audience throughout NSW and Australia. It’s a not-for-profit community health fund that’s been operating since 1952.

HHI offers six hospital plans, starting with a Basic policy through to a premium Gold plan that offers aged-based discounts. Five extras policies are also available.

Key Points

  • Age-based discounts on Gold plans

  • Hospital plans that are easy to understand

  • In the market since 1952

HHI isn't on our panel but we're confident we can get you a great deal on your health cover.


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.

HHI Health offers six hospital plans to suit every life stage and budget. There’s a basic plan for the budget conscious through to Gold cover with no exclusions for NSW residents. Excess values range from $0 to $750.


HHI’s entry level plan. Everything is restricted, so if you try to use this in a private hospital, you might be faced with significant costs. There’s no ambulance cover with this plan.

Key inclusions:

  • Avoids the Medicare Levy Surcharge

  • Treated as a private patient in a public hospital

Bronze Plus Smart

A budget policy with a large range of inclusions. Designed for young singles who want hospital cover at a lower price.

Key inclusions:

  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets

  • Joint reconstructions

  • Hernia and appendix

Silver Plus Thrifty

A mid-level hospital plan designed for the budget-conscious. Suitable for people who are not currently planning on starting a family.

Key inclusions:

  • Heart and vascular system

  • Lung and chest

  • Back, neck and spine

Silver Plus Young

Mid-range cover for a broad range of common hospital procedures. It includes pregnancy and birth, although not assisted reproductive services, making it suitable for people who want to start or grow a family

Key inclusions:

  • Pregnancy and birth

  • Chemo, radiotherapy and immunotherapy

  • Sleep studies

Silver Plus

A high level of cover with a long list of procedures. It doesn’t include pregnancy, so is suitable for older Australians who don’t need this service.

Key inclusions:

  • Cataracts

  • Breast surgery

  • Pain management with device


HHI’s top level of cover with no exclusions and no excess for kids. It’s only available to people in NSW. Age-based discounts are also available on this plan.

Key inclusions:

  • Pregnancy and birth

  • Weight loss surgery

  • Dialysis for chronic kidney failure

Ambulance cover 

Emergency ambulance cover is included on all hospital policies, except the Basic Plus, after a one-day waiting period. 

Extras cover 

{01 Jan Extras Reset} 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 the 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’s included in each extras policy.

HHI Health offers five extras policies to suit a range of budgets and life stages.

Ideal Extras

Budget cover for services such as general dental, optical, chiro and physio. Lower annual limits and rebates, making it an option for younger, healthy Australians. You can’t take out Ideal Extras on its own - it must be combined with hospital cover.

Classic Extras

A wide range of cover, with a $1,000 limit on general dental, $800 on major dental and a $2,400 lifetime limit for orthodontics after 10 years. Also includes physio, chiro, podiatry, psychology and acupuncture. 

Healthy Extras

A budget plan with lower annual limits than the Classic Extras package. $750 annual limit on dental, but families can get up to 100% back on optical with a $500 family limit. Also includes cover for a wide range of alternative therapies, including acupuncture, naturopathy and remedial massage.

Optimum Extras

Comprehensive cover, including unlimited general dental. There’s a $700 annual limit on physio and non-PBS medicines. Also includes alternative therapies, hearing aids and blood glucose monitors.

Elite Extras

HHI’s top level cover with higher annual limits, although services such as chiro, osteo, psychology and podiatry are combined together under a $600 annual limit. 

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.

Basic, Bronze Plus Smart, Silver Plus Thrifty, Silver Plus

  • 2 months – psychiatric care (if transferring from another fund, even if not previously fully covered for psychiatric)

  • 2 months – rehabilitation, psychiatric and palliative care (even for a pre-existing condition)

  • 2 months – all other hospital treatments

  • 12 months – all other pre-existing conditions

Silver Plus Young, Gold

  • 2 months – psychiatric care (if transferring from another fund, even if not previously fully covered for psychiatric)

  • 2 months – rehabilitation, psychiatric and palliative care (even for a pre-existing condition)

  • 2 months – all other hospital treatments

  • 12 months – all other pre-existing conditions

  • 12 months – obstetrics 

Member benefits

HHI doesn’t offer members special benefits, instead preferring to focus on helping the community and providing good customer service.

How to claim

Claim on the spot through the HICAPS payment system at your provider. You can also claim online or post your claim form.

Hospital agreements

HHI Health has agreements with most private hospitals and day clinics across Australia. When comparing policies, it’s worth checking if your local hospitals and clinics are covered. Our specialists at Compare Club can do this for you. 

Customer service

HHI Health received 0 complaints from 1 July to 30 September 2020. Very few funds achieve this, indicating that their customer service may be good.


1. Is HHI Health a not-for-profit fund?

Yes, HHI, formerly known as CDH, is not-for-profit.

2. Who can apply? Are there any restrictions?

There are no restrictions on joining HHI.

Is it easy to switch to HHI?

HHI isn’t on our panel but we’re confident we can find you a great deal on your health insurance. You’ll need to contact HHI directly if you’re interested in switching to one of their policies.

3. Do I need to re-serve waiting periods?

You can switch to an equivalent or lower level of cover without re-serving waiting periods. You will only be required to serve waiting periods if you have upgraded to a higher level of cover.

4. Can I change my level of cover?

Yes, you can choose a lower or higher level of cover to suit your different life stages. If you move to a higher level of cover, you will usually need to serve waiting periods on the extra services and/or higher benefits.

5. Do I get the government rebate?

For every dollar of private health insurance premiums, the Australian Government provides eligible Australians with a rebate of up to 33.4% (depending on your age and income). To learn what you’re entitled to, use our rebate calculator.

6. Do I have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover loading?

If you’re 31 or over, you usually need to pay 2% loading for each year you’ve gone without hospital cover since the 1st July following your 31st birthday. You can find out more here.

7. When do extras reset?

Extras reset on 1 Jan each year.

8. What age are children covered up to?

HHI allows children to remain on a family policy until the age of 21. Members with Gold policies can purchase a dependent extension up to the age of 25.

Dependents who are studying full time 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. Read our guide to learn more.


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