Australians who do not have hospital cover from 1 July after their 31st birthday and only take it out later in life will have to pay an annual 2% cumulative yearly loading on top of their premium for up to 10 years. Yet new findings reveal almost half (47%) of Aussies don’t understand what Lifetime Health Cover is, and almost half of millennials thought it was an unfair policy, compared with 2 in 3 baby boomers who believed it was a positive policy.
Commissioned by leading insurance comparison service comparethemarket.com.au, the figures come from a survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1000 adults who hold private health insurance. The survey asked Australians how much they knew about Lifetime Health Cover loading, and how they felt about its value.
When presented with various definitions for Lifetime Health Cover, 47 per cent of respondents did not choose the right one. Nineteen per cent believed Lifetime Health Cover was tied to income, 16 per cent believed it was something to do with extras policies, and 13 per cent believed it was a loading for people with existing health issues.
Once they were informed of what Lifetime Health Cover loading was, only 51 per cent of respondents saw it as a positive and cost-effective way to encourage younger people to take out health insurance.
The survey results further revealed that knowledge about health insurance seemed to increase with age: 60 per cent of 45 to 54-year-olds and 58 per cent of 55 to 64-year-olds understood how Lifetime Health Cover loading impacted them. This compared with 48 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds, indicating more education about the loading is needed among younger Australians who are most impacted by the Lifetime Health Cover loading.
Sixty per cent of respondents over the age of 65 saw Lifetime Health Cover loading as a positive way to encourage Australians to take out health insurance earlier in life. Again, this compared with just 48 per cent of 25 to 44-year-olds.
Spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au Abigail Koch said: “Lifetime Health Cover loading is a Federal Government initiative to encourage younger people into the private health care system to help level out the cost for older Australians. Older respondents were therefore more likely to see the loading as a positive way to encourage Australians to take out health insurance earlier in life.
“Yet, our results still indicated that almost half of Australians are unsure of what exactly Lifetime Health Cover loading is and how it may affect them after 1 July and millennials are the least aware of all age groups. This means many of them don’t understand the factors contributing to their premiums and may not know how to avoid the loading.
“We recommend that anyone who is turning 31 this year, or who took up health cover after the age of 31, to shop around to ensure they have the most valuable policy for them. Comparison services such as comparethemarket.com.au are the easiest way to compare multiple policies in one place, to find the most suitable and cost effective cover.”
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Comparethemarket.com.au is an online comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We help Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy products from a wide range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool enables consumers to find a product that best suits their needs and their back pocket. We’re also in the business of comparing personal finance products, utilities and can help find the lowest fuel prices in your area. Whether it’s car, health or home & contents insurance, we provide a completely free service, that empowers Australians to make buying decisions with greater trust, knowledge and savings. We’ve got your back, simples.
 Pureprofile 2017