What is Lifetime Health Cover?
Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is a financial loading that can be payable in addition to the base rate premium for your private health insurance hospital cover. LHC was introduced into legislation on 1 July 2000 and is designed to encourage people to take out hospital insurance earlier in life, and to maintain their cover over their lifetime.
LHC loadings apply only to hospital cover.
How do I avoid paying an LHC loading?
To avoid paying a LHC loading, you need to purchase hospital cover by 1 July following your 31st birthday. If you purchase hospital cover after this date you may be required to pay a LHC loading – 2% for each year you are over 30. The loading is removed after 10 years of continuous hospital insurance cover.
If you are a new migrant to Australia, and are aged 31 or over, you will not have to pay a LHC loading if you purchase hospital cover within 12 months of being registered for full Medicare benefits.
If you were born on or before 1 July 1934, you are exempt from the LHC loading. You can purchase hospital cover at any time and pay the base rate premium.
How do I calculate my LHC loading?
The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) has developed a Lifetime Health Cover Calculator, which will help you to work out your LHC loading based on your answers to a series of questions.
I would like my LHC loading waived.
Private Health Insurers are legally required to apply LHC loadings to any new policy holders who were not privately insured under an appropriate cover by their LHC base day, which for most Australians is 1 July following their 31st birthday. New migrants to Australia can avoid incurring LHC loadings by commencing appropriate private hospital cover within 112 months of being registered as eligible for full Medicare benefits.
There is no function or clause in the legislation which regulates LHC which allows the Minister for Health, or their delegate, to waive a correctly calculated LHC loading under any circumstance.
I need more information
For more information on LHC, visit the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman website.
If you have a question about your LHC loading, you should contact your insurer in the first instance.
If you need information about registering for Medicare, contact Medicare at https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/how-enrol-or-re-enrol-medicare.
If you are unable to resolve your enquiry, or have a concern around the conduct of your insurer, you should direct your inquiry to the PHIO website
For any other matter, you can contact the Lifetime Health Cover call centre on (freecall in Australia) 1800 307 446