RT Health Insurance Fund Review

rt health was established by way back in 1889 to cater to railway and transport workers. They've stuck to their roots, continuing to provide health cover for today's transport and energy industry employees and their families.

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by Gary Andrews

Last update 15 Apr 2021


As a restricted, mutual not-for-profit fund, profits are reinvested into the business to benefit its members.

rt health offers five hospital plans, starting with two Bronze Plus plans through to a premium Gold plan.

Three extras policies are also available.

All hospital plans come with a free Hospital at Home program, along with a chronic disease prevention and management program.

Key Points

No excess on hospital admissions for children.
Restricted to transport and energy employees and their families.
Australia's longest-running registered health fund.

rt health 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.

Basic Public Hospital

A budget-friendly plan that covers you as a private patient in a public hospital.

If you plan to be treated at a private hospital on this policy then it could end up being quite costly.

Key inclusions:

  • Avoids the Medicare Levy Surcharge
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Restricted access to all hospital cover items

Bronze Plus First Start Hospital

A more comprehensive entry-level plan with a lot of inclusions.

It's a policy that's likely to appeal to younger, healthier Australians.

Key inclusions:

  • Dental surgery
  • Palliative care
  • Gynaecology
  • Hernia and appendix

Bronze Plus Step Up Hospital

Mid-level cover for singles, couples and families.

It's more akin to a Silver policy and has a large number of inclusions.

Choose from a $350 or $700 excess.

Key inclusions:

  • Back, neck and spine
  • Implantation of hearing devices
  • Lung and chest
  • Insulin pumps

Silver Plus Smart Hospital No Pregnancy

A comprehensive hospital cover, with a long list of included services, excluding pregnancy, birth and weight loss, making it suitable for older Australians who don't need these services.

Key inclusions:

  • Cataracts
  • Heart and vascular system
  • Joint replacements
  • Dialysis for chronic kidney failure

Gold Premium Hospital

Top level of cover with no exclusions.

Includes pregnancy and birth, so this plan is popular with people planning on starting or growing a family.

Key inclusions:

  • Assisted reproductive services
  • Pregnancy and birthing
  • Hospital psychiatric services
  • Rehabilitation

Ambulance Cover

Emergency ambulance cover is included on all hospital policies after a one-day waiting period.

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 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.

rt health offers a choice of three extras policies.

There's a limited plan to cover common procedures, mid-level cover and a comprehensive plan with higher benefits on an extensive range of services.

Value Extras

Designed for the young and healthy. It doesn't cover major dental or orthodontics but it does have a $500 annual limit per person on general dental.

It also includes physio and optical, plus limited natural therapies and selected health aids and nicotine replacement products.

Smart Extras

Mid-level cover across a wide range of services, although orthodontics are excluded.

Includes a generous annual limit on major dental. Includes a $1,000 annual limit per person on general dental and up to 100% back on optical.

Physio and chiro plus alternative therapies, speech therapy are also included.

Premium Extras

Top-level extras for people who think they'll be claiming lots and often.

There's unlimited general dental, and a $1,000 annual limit on orthodontics.

There's also high limits on popular services like optical, dental and physio.

Hypnotherapy is also included.


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 Public Hospital Bronze Plus First Start Hospital Bronze Plus Step Up Hospital Silver Plus Smart Hospital No Pregnancy

  • 12 months -- pre-existing conditions (other than rehabilitation, psychiatric and palliative care)
  • 2 months -- all other services
  • 1 day -- accidents

Gold Premium Hospital

  • 12 months -- pre-existing conditions (other than rehabilitation, psychiatric and palliative care)
  • 12 months -- pregnancy and birth
  • 2 months -- all other services
  • 1 day -- accidents

Member benefits

All hospital plans include free health management programs.

There's Hospital at Home, to help you get home from the hospital sooner, plus a chronic disease prevention and management program, to help with conditions like asthma and heart disease.

Newcastle and Sydney residents can also get money off at rt health's optical and dental practices.

How to claim

Claim on the spot through the HICAPS app or payment system at your provider.

You can also claim through the rt health mobile app.

Hospital agreements

rt 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.

See the full list of participating hospitals

Customer service

rt health received 7 complaints from 1 July to 30 September 2020.

That's 0.9% of complaints vs 0.4% market share, indicating customer service may be a little below average.

Source: Private Health Ombudsman



Is rt health a not-for-profit fund?

Yes, rt health is a not for profit fund.

Who can apply? Are there any restrictions?

rt health is a restricted fund. You can only join if you are a current or former employee of any of the below:

  • A land, sea or air transport company
  • A government department that administers the land, sea or air transport industries.
  • Energy companies, including electricity, gas, oil, petrol, coal, nuclear or renewables.
  • A contractor who worked for any of the above
  • A franchisee of any of the above
  • rt health fund
  • MOVE (formerly known as the Railways Credit Union Limited)

Close relatives such as parents, siblings, partners, children and their partners, and grandchildren and their partners are also eligible.

Is it easy to switch to rt health?

rt health 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 rt health directly if you're interested in switching to one of their policies.

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.

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.

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).

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 health cover since the 1st July following your 31st birthday.

You can find out more here.

When do extras reset?

Extras reset on 1 July each year.

What age are children covered up to?

rt health allows all children to stay on family policies up to the age of 21.

If they're studying full time, dependents can be covered as a student under a family policy up to the age of 25.

Selected policies will allow children as adult dependents up until the age of 25.

Children must not be married or living in a de facto relationship. Read our guide to learn more.

How do I contact rt health?

Visit rthealthfund.com.au or call 1300 886 123

Who underwrites the health policies?

Railway and Transport Health Fund Limited is a registered health insurer.


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