The Australian Government may subsidise the cost of your health cover, depending on your age and how much you earn. This is called the Australian Government Rebate (AGR). If you're eligible for the AGR, it can be claimed in one of two ways:
- As an upfront reduction on your premium, or
- At the end of the financial year, when you lodge your tax return.
Get cover sooner to avoid extra costs
Once you turn 30, a 2% loading is added to your hospital cover premiums for every year you’re without cover. This charge is called Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading. The good news is you have until July 1 following your 31st birthday to sign up, and keep up your hospital cover, and avoid an LHC loading.
Avoid government charges
Having hospital cover could save you money. If you don’t have private hospital cover and you earn more than $90,000 (or $180,000 for families), the Australian Tax Office may add an extra charge to your tax bill. It’s called the Medicare Levy Surcharge and it could be up to 1.5% of your income. This may end up being more than the cost of getting hospital cover.