About Lifetime Health Cover (LHC)
What is LHC?
This is a Federal Government initiative where a loading can be applied to your premium if you take out hospital cover later in life. It's aimed at encouraging people to take out hospital cover early in life and maintain it.
When does the loading apply?
The loading generally applies if you don't have hospital cover on the 1 July following your 31st birthday. This means for every year you don't have hospital cover, you'll pay a 2% loading on top of a base rate on your premium (or on your share of a couple or family premium) up to a maximum loading of 70%. The loading applies only to hospital cover or the hospital component of your cover – not to extras covers. Any loading that applies to your premium will be removed after you've held hospital cover continuously for 10 years. However, the loading may be reapplied if you then cease to hold a hospital cover and subsequently take it up again.
Does the LHC loading apply to everyone?
No, the LHC loading doesn't apply to people born on or before 1 July 1934. There are also special rules that apply to people who fall under an LHC exemption category. For more information please refer to the Department of Health and Ageing website – www.health.gov.au
What if I drop my hospital cover?
You can drop your hospital cover for a sum total of three years (1,094 permitted days) during your lifetime without any change to your LHC loading status. If you drop your hospital cover for longer than this, in most circumstances you'll have to pay an LHC loading (or, if you were already paying the loading, it will be higher) once you take out hospital cover again. The following are additional permitted days without hospital cover that won't count towards your 1,094 permitted days without hospital cover:
- if you've been overseas continuously for more than one year (this includes visits back home of less than 90 days at a time)
- if your health fund has agreed to a period of suspension.
What happens if I change health funds?
If you switch to us from another fund we recommend you keep your cover with your old fund until the date you transfer to us. This way you avoid using up any of the 1,094 permitted days you can be without hospital cover during your lifetime. Also, if you already have an LHC loading, it will move with you.