If you currently have private hospital cover, and have continuously held hospital cover since 1 July following your 31st birthday, you’ll avoid paying a loading on your premium known as Lifetime Health Cover (LHC).
LHC is a Federal Government initiative to encourage Australians to take up and retain hospital cover.
If you continue without hospital cover, you'll pay an additional 2% on top of your ‘base rate’ premium for each year you’re aged over 30, up to a maximum loading of 70%.*
David is 36 years old. He has never held private hospital cover before, but decides to take out cover this year.
If his base rate premium is $1500, David must also pay a LHC loading of 12% (2% x 6 years) bringing the total cost of his policy to $1680.
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.
* The loading applies only to the hospital component of your cover (or on your share of a couple or family premium) – not to extras covers.
Does the 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 or to apply for an exemption, please refer to our Application for exemption from Lifetime Health Cover Loading form or the Department of Health website – www.health.gov.au
What if I stop my hospital cover?
You can stop your hospital cover for a total of 1,094 permitted days during your lifetime without any change to your LHC loading status. If you don’t have hospital cover for more than 1,094 total days, you'll likely 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 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 to Australia of less than 90 days at a time)
- if your health fund has agreed to a period of suspension