What is Lifetime Health Cover (LHC)?
Lifetime Health Cover is an Australian Government initiative designed to encourage people to take out private hospital cover at a younger age and maintain it throughout their lifetime.
Does the LHC loading apply to everyone?
Lifetime Health Cover does not apply to Extras cover or Ambulance memberships. If you were born before 1 July 1934, you are not affected and you do not pay a loading. Special rules apply to people who belong to one of the following groups and we recommend that you contact us for more information if you are:
- Leaving the Australian Armed Services or the Antarctic Division
- An immigrant or a refugee
- An ex or current Norfolk Island resident
- An Australian citizen, but you were overseas when you turned 31
- No longer entitled to a Veterans' Affairs Gold Card
I am 30 years old but my partner is 37. How does Lifetime Health Cover affect us?
You will both be assigned a certified joining age. On a couples or family membership the premium charged will be a combined rate that reflects the age of entry of each adult. You will not be allocated a joint entry age. This is how it works:
Let's say the cost of your cover is $1000.
- Your certified age of joining is 30 and you pay the base rate of half that premium, ie $500.
- Your partner will be assigned a certified joining age of 37 and will pay a loading of 14% on top of the base rate ie $500 + $70 = $570.
- The final cost of your couples or family membership would be $500 + $570 = $1070.
Does this mean I have to stay with my present health fund?
No, you are free to choose the fund that best suits your needs. You continue to enjoy any rights and entitlements you have already earned, such as waiving of waiting periods when you transfer to a different fund.
I have had continuous private hospital cover since 1/7/2000. Does Lifetime Health Cover affect me?
No, you will continue to enjoy the benefits of the base premium without any penalty loading, so long as you retain your membership.
I only have extras cover, does that count?
No. Lifetime Health Cover does not apply to extras products or ambulance cover.
Therefore, you need to take out a private health insurance policy that includes hospital cover in order to be assigned a “certified age at entry” and lock in lower premiums for the rest of your life.
What happens if I lose my job and can't afford to continue cover?
To cover small gaps, you are able to be without hospital cover for periods totalling 1094 days (ie three years less one day) during your lifetime, without affecting your loading.
If you have a gap of 1095 days you will pay a 2% loading. For every 365 days without cover after that, your loading will increase by 2%. If you apply to Latrobe to suspend your cover for a short period, and we agree to this, this period of suspension does not affect your LHC loading (you are considered to be maintaining your cover).