Are you turning 31 soon and don’t have health cover?
If you decide to take out cover later on in your life, you may have to pay more.
This extra cost is called the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading. This surcharge is designed by the Government to encourage Australians to take out private hospital cover earlier in life, and to hold their cover continuously.
See whether you’re affected by Lifetime Health Cover loading by using our handy calculator. Calculate your LHC.
How can the LHC loading affect me?
- LHC loading starts at 2% of your health insurance premium, and increases by a further 2% each year before you take out private hospital insurance. For example, if you take out hospital cover at age of 40, you’ll pay 20% more for your policy than you would if you’d joined 10 years earlier. The maximum possible LHC loading is 70%, reached after 35 years of no cover.
- Just one day can make a difference. Even if you’re a day late (2 July after your 31st birthday), you’ll start paying more for health cover if you decided to take it out. If you have to pay LHC, you will need to continuously hold a health insurance policy for 10 years before you get to pay the normal price again. Taking 5 minutes now to explore your options could save you money in the long run.
- Private health insurance could become unaffordable when you really need it. At this point in your life, you might not need health insurance. But is it going to be the same when you start a family? Or when you turn 50? Or if you need a hip replacement or heart surgery? If you decide that you need to take out health insurance later on, it might be unaffordable with the added LHC loading. If you plan for the future now, you might be better off.
Are there any exemptions from LHC?
You won’t need to pay the LHC loading in several circumstances. However, these only apply to a small number of Australians.
We’ve listed the following groups of people who do not need to pay LHC:
- Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card holders
- Current Australian Defence Force members
- Anyone born before 1934
- New migrants aged 31 or over.
Will I pay more if I don’t get health cover?
No, you only have to pay LHC if you take out hospital cover for the first time after 1 July following your 31st birthday. If you want peace of mind, and the ability to skip public hospital waiting lists in the future, you should consider taking out cover as early as possible.
It’s easy to compare your options now. If you need help, you can use our handy comparison tool, or give our health experts a call and let them handle the finer details.