What is Lifetime Health Cover?

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is an Australian Government initiative designed to encourage people to get their hospital cover early and keep it up.

How does Lifetime Health Cover work?

Once you turn 31, a 2% loading is added to your hospital cover premium for every year you’re without hospital cover. This is called the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.

To avoid this loading, you can take out hospital cover by July 1st following your 31st birthday, which is called your base day.

For example, if you wait until 35 to get hospital cover, your loading will be 10%. So, a $100 monthly hospital premium would become $110 with the added loading.

If you’re on a combined cover, the LHC loading is only applied to the hospital portion of your premium.

On a couple or family cover? The loading is calculated by taking an average of the loadings applied to the adults on the hospital cover. So, if one person has 18% loading and their partner has no loading, or 0%, the loading applied is 9% overall.

Does Lifetime Health Cover loading apply to everyone?

Well, no. There are a few groups of people who are exempt from the LHC loading. Some veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force may avoid having LHC applied. People born on or before 1 July 1934 won’t have LHC applied.

To learn more about LHC exemptions, visit: www.privatehealth.gov.au.

If you think you might qualify for an LHC exemption, you can apply using the LHC Exemption form.

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Why should I consider hospital cover with Medibank?

Getting hospital cover doesn’t just mean you could avoid paying LHC loading after turning 31. Hospital cover could give you peace of mind in your day-to-day and help if the unexpected happens.

Find out more about hospital cover with Medibank.


Can my LHC loading be removed?

Once you have an LHC loading, it can only be removed once you’ve paid the loading for 10 continuous years. After this time, the loading may be reapplied if you drop your hospital cover and then take up cover again.

What if I switch health funds?

When you move funds, your LHC loading goes with you. If you’re switching to Medibank from another fund, it’s a good idea to maintain your hospital cover up until the date that you transfer, to avoid using up any of your permitted days without cover unnecessarily.

Permitted days without hospital cover

If you have hospital cover on or after your base day, you are entitled to 1,094 days without hospital cover that won’t affect your LHC loading status.

What if I drop my hospital cover?

If you exceed your 1,094 permitted days without cover, you’ll probably have to pay an LHC loading once you take out hospital cover again. If you were already paying an LHC loading, the loading will be higher.

What if I’m going overseas?

If you’re away from Australia for more than one continuous year (including visits back to Australia less than 90 days at a time, as you’re still considered to be living overseas) these days may not count towards your 1,094 permitted days without hospital cover.

What if I suspend my hospital cover?

If your health fund agrees to suspend your membership, this period isn’t counted towards your 1,094 permitted days without hospital cover. If you have a loading, it’s not going to increase while your cover is suspended.

If you’re ready to talk about hospital cover, call our team on 132 331

Or visit us in store.


Useful resources 

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What are the common hospital procedures for someone like you?

Our interactive tool reveals the common procedures, what you might pay out-of-pocket and how health insurance could help manage the costs.

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How much extra tax could you pay without hospital cover?

Use the Medicare Levy Surcharge Calculator to find out if you're eligible, or discover how much extra tax you may be paying by not having Hospital cover for a full tax year.#

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Understanding Health Insurance

Health insurance can be tricky to understand. To help, we have put some handy guides together to get you started.

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Things you need to know

# Where annual income for Medicare Levy Surcharge purposes is over $93,000 as a single (or $186,000 as a couple/family).

Medibank Private Limited cannot advise on financial or tax matters. Any information provided to you is general in nature and does not take account of your individual circumstances. You should obtain your own independent financial advice.

For independent private health insurance advice, visit privatehealth.gov.au.