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Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is a Federal Government initiative designed to encourage people to take out hospital insurance earlier in their life and to maintain their cover throughout.
In summary, if you don’t have private health insurance by the 1 July following your 31st birthday, you will be penalised with an extra 2% loading on your premium for every year you’re aged over 30. The maximum loading is 70%.
As an example, if you take out hospital health insurance at age 40 you will pay 20% high premiums than a person who took out their health insurance at age 30. After you have had your health insurance in place for more than 10 continuous years, the premium loading will be removed as long as you maintain the cover.
If you are part of a couple or a family policy, your loading will be worked out as an average between the individual loading of the two linked adults. I.e. if one person has 20% loading and the other person has 0% loading, the loading applied to the couples’ policy will be 10%.
What do I do if I’m already beyond my 31st birthday?
The benefit of private health insurance is two pronged; firstly your private cover gives your piece of mind that you will have access to the best possible medical treatment available when and if you need to use it. That’s not to say that the best treatment will be in a public hospital of course, but having private health insurance gives you the choice of both. Secondly, you will avoid the Medical Levy Surcharge; a tax levied on Australian taxpayers who don’t have private health insurance and earn above a certain income.
If you are aged over 31, the sooner you take out the insurance the lower the premium loading will be. Statically speaking, you are also more likely to claim on your policy the older you get so it pays to apply for your policy well before you need it so that waiting periods are not an issue.
I’m over 31 and the loading is really biting. Is there any way to reduce the premium?
Yes, there are definitely ways in which you can reduce your overall private health insurance premiums. Put simply, don’t pay for things that you don’t need!
The following suggestions may help to reduce your insurance overheads:
Be sure to check the market and compare policies to ensure that you are getting the best rate for the type of policy you’re after. There are countless websites available now where you can compare details yourself and prepare quotes. Just be sure to compare apples with apples.
Confirm with your fund what the cheapest premium frequency will be. Some funds offer a cheaper rate for paying annual or half yearly premiums.
Double-check whether your policy has options that you don’t use. Example, if you’ve got top hospital cover but past your childbearing years or don’t intend to have kids, Obstetrics and Reproductive therapies cover are probably unnecessary. Likewise if you never use your extra’s cover because you are super healthy, or for example you work at an allied health clinic and have access to free care, your extra’s cover could be unnecessary.
Check whether you can increase your excess in order to reduce the ongoing premium. For example, you may have a no-excess or $250 excess per hospital admission but pay a higher premium per annum, and your fund pay offer you a cheaper premium for increasing the excess to $500 or $750 per admission.
Will I pay the LHC loading on extras cover?
You won’t pay any LHC loading on your extras cover. The loading only applies to the hospital cover component of your premium.
How do you calculate the loading?
You can calculate your relevant loading by using a handy calculator available at Privatehealth.gov.au.
If you’ve got insurance questions of any description, feel free to phone us on (03) 9999 7200 or contact us here to discuss further.
Disclaimer: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions or consult the advice of an accountant or financial adviser.