In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.
     
Health Insurance

Turning 31 before June 30?

Find out all you need to know about Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC) and how it could impact you.

Avoid Lifetime
Health Cover Loading

What is LHC?

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is an Australian Government initiative designed to encourage Australian residents to take out hospital cover earlier in life and to maintain cover.

Get a quote

FAQs

Get all the facts on the LHC.

If you have a loading, you’ll pay this on top of the 'base rate' premium or standard premium payable for your hospital cover. The Lifetime Health Cover loading does not apply to extras cover premiums.

Any loading you pay due to Lifetime Health Cover will be removed from your premium after 10 years of maintaining continuous hospital cover.

If you are under 31, take out hospital cover before 1 July following your 31st birthday and maintain your cover from that point onward. After you take out cover, your LHC loading won’t be affected if there are short gaps in your cover – for example, if you switch health insurers – but make sure those gaps don’t add up to more than 1,094 days (3 years less a day) or the loading will apply. These are known as ‘permitted days without hospital cover’.

If you are over 31, you can take out hospital cover as soon as possible to minimise the loading. Each year you delay, your loading will increase by 2%, up to a maximum of 70%.

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading is only applicable to Australian citizens and residents with hospital cover.

In addition, there are situations where you won't have to pay the loading. These include if you:

  • had hospital cover on 1 July 2000 and have maintained it since then; or
  • were born on or before 1 July 1934.
  • Special rules also apply to certain categories, including:
  • new migrants to Australia;
  • people who were overseas on the 1 July following their 31st birthday;
  • people who were over 31 and overseas on 1 July 2000;
  • members of the Australian Defence Forces or those who hold a Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) Gold Card; and
  • Residents of Norfolk Island have been granted an exemption from the loading if they purchase a domestic private hospital product prior to 1 July 2017.

For more information, visit the Department of Health and Ageing website.

Yes. You can still upgrade or downgrade your hospital and extras covers under Lifetime Health Cover (LHC). The usual waiting periods and applicable pre-existing condition rules will still apply where cover is upgraded.

However, because LHC only applies to hospital cover, if you decide to drop your hospital cover and only maintain your extras cover, your Lifetime Health Cover Age may be affected in the future.

For couples, de facto couples, or families, the total loading on their health cover policy is an average of the loading for each adult. Here are some examples of how this works:

Example 1

Lisa and Brian took out a hospital cover of a base rate of $2,000 per year*, by 30 June.
Lisa has an LHC age of 30 and Brian has an LHC age of 32.
Lisa attracts a 0% loading while Brian draws a 4% loading, meaning the total average loading on the policy is 2% (0% + 4% = 4. 4 divided by 2 = 2%).
The LHC on Lisa and Brian’s health cover policy is an additional $40 per year. That’s $400 extra over 10 years based on the current premium.

Example 2

Amy and Steve took out a hospital cover of a base rate of $2,000 per year*, by 30 June.
Amy has an LHC age of 35 and Steve has an LHC age of 37.
Amy attracts a 10% loading whilst Steve draws a 14% loading, meaning the total average loading on the policy is 12% (10% + 14% = 24%. 24% divided by 2 = 12%).
The LHC on Amy and Steve’s health cover policy is an additional $240 per year. That’s $2400 extra over 10 years based on the current premium.

*No rebate applied. LHC is an additional amount that you pay each year that will be applied on top of your premium.

If you are eligible for the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance, this will apply to your base hospital premium only and will not apply to the portion of your hospital premium that relates to the Lifetime Health Cover loading.

Lifetime Health Cover does not apply to extras cover, Emergency Only Ambulance Cover and Premium Ambulance Cover. It only applies to hospital cover.

The Australian Government recognises that there are going to be times when people need to drop their hospital cover. For example, if you are travelling overseas for extended periods of time or are unemployed. To cater for this, people can drop their hospital cover for up to 1,094 days in total throughout their lifetime without having to pay an additional Lifetime Health Cover loading when they are ready to take out hospital cover again. These are known as ‘permitted days without hospital cover’.

Permitted days without hospital cover are only available to those who have held hospital cover on or after their LHC base day and have been assigned a Lifetime Health Cover Age. Permitted days without hospital cover do not count towards your days with continuous cover.

There are certain days that we won’t count towards your 1,094 days, including when you:

  • validly suspended your membership in accordance with fund rules, or
  • are overseas (including Norfolk Island until 1 July 2016) for a continuous period of more than one year and have not returned to Australia for a period of more than 90 days.

Under Lifetime Health Cover (LHC), people are still able to transfer their private health insurance cover between health insurers. All health insurers are obliged to recognise the Lifetime Health Cover Age of a new member transferring from another insurer. Any days that have been accumulated as permitted days without hospital cover will also transfer across to your new insurer. Remember if you have a break between switching from your old insurer to your new insurer, these may be permitted days without hospital cover and will be included in your total of 1,094 days allowed before an additional loading is added to your cover.

All Bupa hospital cover options, except any overseas visitor cover, will enable you to lock in your Lifetime Health Cover Age.

No. To lock in your Lifetime Health Cover Age you need to hold hospital cover.

Under certain circumstances you can suspend your Bupa membership (such as when travelling overseas) without affecting your LHC loading. Call us on 134 135 to see if you are eligible for this type of suspension. If you do suspend your cover, it’s important to remember that this won’t exempt you from paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge* if it applies to you

*The Medicare Levy Surcharge is an additional tax on top of the Medicare Levy for Australian taxpayers who do not have an appropriate level of private patient hospital cover and earn above an income threshold.

Each year, Bupa will send out your tax statement by no later than 15 July, at the same time we’ll issue your Summary of Cover if you are paying the Lifetime Health Cover loading. A copy of your Summary of Cover will be stored in myBupa, along with any other tax statements for up to 7 years. Login to myBupa.

Term/Definition
Lifetime Health Cover loading
Lifetime Health Cover loading is paid if you haven’t taken out hospital cover before 1 July following your 31st birthday – the loading increases by 2% each year, to a maximum of 70%. Any loading that applies will be removed after you’ve held hospital cover continuously for 10 years.
Maximum loading
The maximum loading allowed on top of the base rate is 70%. This translates to the maximum loading for a Lifetime Health Cover Age of 65 and above. However, once you have held private hospital cover for a continuous period of 10 years your loading will be removed.
Lifetime Health Cover Age
Your age on the 1 July before the day on which you take out private hospital cover.
Base rate
The 'base rate' for private hospital cover is the standard premium payable for the cover if no loading applies.
Lifetime Health Cover base day
Your LHC base day is the deadline by which you must have taken out private hospital insurance to avoid incurring a LHC loading. For most people this will be 1 July following their 31st birthday, although there are exceptions to this. If you are a new migrant to Australia, your LHC base day is the later of 1 July following your 31st birthday and the anniversary of when you register for full Medicare benefits.
Term Definition
Lifetime Health Cover loading Lifetime Health Cover loading is paid if you haven’t taken out hospital cover before 1 July following your 31st birthday – the loading increases by 2% each year, to a maximum of 70%. Any loading that applies will be removed after you’ve held hospital cover continuously for 10 years.
Maximum loading The maximum loading allowed on top of the base rate is 70%. This translates to the maximum loading for a Lifetime Health Cover Age of 65 and above. However, once you have held private hospital cover for a continuous period of 10 years your loading will be removed.
Lifetime Health Cover Age Your age on the 1 July before the day on which you take out private hospital cover.
Base rate The 'base rate' for private hospital cover is the standard premium payable for the cover if no loading applies.
Lifetime Health Cover base day Your LHC base day is the deadline by which you must have taken out private hospital insurance to avoid incurring a LHC loading. For most people this will be 1 July following their 31st birthday, although there are exceptions to this. If you are a new migrant to Australia, your LHC base day is the later of 1 July following your 31st birthday and the anniversary of when you register for full Medicare benefits.