Tags: Health Relationships Future security

If your child is taking out a separate policy for themselves, their separate needs should be analysed. They are the best judge of their own health.”—Swati Kakkar, Customer Solutions Team Leader, Australian Unity

Key points

  • Most young adults are no longer covered by their parents’ policy after a certain age, even if they live at home.

  • If you’re encouraging your child to get private health insurance, focus on the real-life benefits rather than worst-case scenarios.

  • An individualised approach to health insurance is important—young adults need to decide what’s important to them when it comes to getting cover that suits their needs.

Every parent wants to do the best by their kids. You want them to become happy, healthy and confident humans—and helping them to get to grips with the responsibilities of “adulting” is one way you can support them as they grow and learn. Health insurance, which can protect your kids’ wellbeing in the event of an accident or health problem, is one of those responsibilities.

In this article, our Australian Unity insurance experts discuss how you can help your kids navigate and understand health cover, and why taking a personalised approach really matters.

The rules

Past a certain age, children are no longer covered by their parents’ health insurance policies, explains Swati Kakkar, Australian Unity’s Customer Solutions Team Leader.

“Each health fund has different rules, at Australian Unity we cover dependents up to the age of 31,” explains Swati. “This means if your child is under 31 they may be eligible to be covered on your family policy, provided they’re not married or in a de facto relationship. But, it’s best to call and check first.”

The conversation

Whether your kids are coming to an age or a life situation where they're no longer covered by your health insurance policy, or you're simply ready for them to start taking greater responsibility for their lives, it’s worth sitting down and having a discussion.

But explaining the value of health insurance to a young adult isn’t always easy. This is, after all, an age where most people are convinced of their invincibility. What’s more, they’re unlikely to be flush with cash and probably have other more pressing (and fun) expenses front of mind.

“They’re getting out in the world and learning to make a living for themselves and be independent,” admits Swati. “At that point of time, health insurance is not on the top of their priority list and they may choose to fully rely on the public system.”

To communicate why health insurance is worth considering, Swati’s advice is to avoid talking about theoretical possibilities and worst-case scenarios that “might” happen somewhere down the track. Instead, she recommends dealing with the real-world benefits of insurance that could make a tangible difference to their lives in here and now.

Radeyan Sazzad, Senior Manager – Strategic Initiatives and Support at Australian Unity, agrees. First up, he suggests, encourage your kids to consider why getting health insurance may actually prove a cost-effective measure.

“We know that with everything going on currently with affordability, it's a hard time for young people and there are a lot of considerations,” says Radeyan. “The first thing to be aware of is how having private health or not having private health will impact you from a tax point of view. There are some government tax breaks for having public health insurance, so really understanding that is important.”

Once your child is tuned into the potential benefits of private health insurance, they may want the same coverage they received under their parents’ policy. But that is not always the best fit for them as an individual. It’s why Swati recommends a personalised approach.

If your child is taking out a separate policy for themselves, their separate needs should be analysed,” says Swati. “They are the best judge of their own health and what works for them when it comes to preventative care.”

The details

When it comes to working out the right health cover option for young adults, Swati suggests starting with a basic-to-mid range policy option, then building up to a higher level of cover as their needs change.

But to ensure your child has chosen the right plan, it’s essential for them to reflect on their personal lifestyle. For example, if they still play football or other contact sports, they’ll be more susceptible to physical injuries compared to someone who pursues more sedentary pursuits.

“At the end of the day, they need to own the situation and tell us what their health is like, and if there is anything pre-existing we should consider,” says Swati.

“With extras cover, I think having good dental health at that age is really important,” says Radeyan. “But things like physio, chiro and dietetics will be more important for some people than others based on their lifestyle.”

He continues: “It’s where chatting to someone from our call centre is valuable because you can discuss these things and they can find the right cover to suit your needs.”

The most common claims Radeyan sees from young adults are teeth-related injuries among people who play contact sports. Other typical claims include women seeking assistance with gynaecological or assisted-reproductive procedures, plus a growing number of mental health claims.

Ultimately, however, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. The bottom line is if your kids are going to get health insurance, they should make sure they have the right cover for their own situation and needs. Or as Swati puts it: “You want to have a safety net to make sure that you're covered.”


Information provided in this article is of a general nature. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest.