Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading is an Australian Government initiative that aims to encourage people to get private health insurance earlier in life.
LHC applies to those who don’t have hospital cover by 1 July following their 31st birthday. If you decide to get health insurance later in life, you’ll be charged an extra fee (called a loading) of 2 per cent to your hospital cover premium.
Most importantly, loading accumulates every year you are over 30 years old without insurance. For example, if you wait until 35 to get hospital cover, you’ll have a loading of 10 per cent. If you have a monthly hospital premium of $200, you’ll have to fork out $220 with loading combined. To avoid this surcharge, it’s advisable to get hospital cover before 1 July following your 31st birthday.
People who are exempt from the LHC loading include new migrants who have registered for full Medicare benefits for less than 12 months, Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold Card holders and members of the Australian Defence Force and people born on or before 1 July 1934.