Understanding health insurance at tax time

Are you getting the most out of your tax refund? Many Australians don’t realise they can enjoy the benefits of private hospital cover for the same price – or less – than they may have to pay in government levies for not having private hospital cover.

The Australian Government wants to relieve the strain on the public health system by encouraging more people to take out private health insurance. That’s why it has introduced incentives and penalties for people that do not have private hospital cover. Find out how they could impact your back pocket below:

Private Health Insurance Rebate

When you take out private health insurance, you may receive a government rebate to help with the cost of your cover. The amount you get back depends on how much you earn – if you’re single and earning under $90,000 or a family earning under $180,000 per year, and under the age of 65, the government will give you back 25.934% of your premium in the form of a tax rebate.* Learn more about the Private Health Insurance Government Rebate.

Most people choose for their rebate to be deducted from their annual health insurance premium; however others prefer to have it factored into their annual tax refund.

* Information retrieved from the Department of Health, current as of 24/02/2017

Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS)

The Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) applies to singles who have a taxable income of over $90,000 and couples and families who have a combined income of more than $180,000 and do not have private hospital cover.

People that earn over these thresholds pay a levy for not having private hospital cover. The amount of ‘levy’ they pay is worked out as a percentage of their taxable income – starting at $900 a year. Good news, by taking out private hospital cover, you can avoid paying this levy altogether!

To find out more about how this works, take a look here.

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC)

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is designed to encourage people to take out private hospital cover early in life and maintain their insurance.

The basic idea behind LHC is that if you take out private hospital cover later in life, then you are levied and have to pay higher premiums. LHC is not based on how much you earn – pretty much everyone has to pay it if they do not have private hospital cover by the 1 July after their 31st birthday.

If you’re approaching 31 and haven’t yet taken out private health insurance, then now is the time to do it as you’ll soon be hit with a 2% loading on your health fund premium each year you didn’t have appropriate private cover. This means, if you decide to take out private health insurance when you’re 40 years old, then you’ll have to pay 20% more than someone that took out insurance when they were aged 30 (2% x 10 years = 20%).

Learn more about how this works here.

See how you’re affected by Lifetime Health Cover by using our handy calculator

So, what are you waiting for?

Call us on1800 304 709   or Compare Now