The LHC loading is an additional cost applied directly to a hospital insurance premium. It only affects people 31 or older who don’t have hospital insurance.
It’s designed to encourage people to buy hospital insurance earlier in life and maintain that cover. To avoid the LHC loading, simply buy hospital insurance on or before the 1st July following your 31st birthday.
What if my birthday falls in the first half of the year?
Say your 31st birthday is on the 21st April 2017 - you have until the 1st July 2017 to buy hospital insurance and avoid the LHC loading.
What if my birthday falls in the second half of the year?
Say your 31st birthday is on the 25th of October 2017 - you have until the 1st July 2018 to buy hospital insurance and avoid the LHC loading.
There are special circumstances in which you would be exempt from the LHC loading – to find out more, head to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman.
How is the LHC loading calculated?
For every year over the age of 30 you don’t have hospital insurance, the price of hospital insurance increases by 2% - that means when you finally decide you need hospital insurance, you could be paying much more than if you’d bought it prior to your 31st birthday.
What if the LHC loading applies to me and I need hospital insurance for a couple or a family?
If you need hospital insurance for a couple or a family, your LHC loading is calculated as an average between the two adults. For example, if one person has a 40% loading and the other person has a 10% loading, the loading applied to the couple’s policy is 25%.
What happens if the LHC loading has already been applied to me?
If you’re 31 or older and have never had hospital insurance, it’s still a good idea to buy it as soon as possible.
The LHC loading is capped as soon as you buy hospital insurance, so if you get hospital insurance at 32, you will only ever pay an extra 4% on top of the base cost of your premium, provided you maintain your cover. The other good news is the LHC loading doesn’t last forever – once you’ve held hospital insurance for a continuous 10 years, the loading is removed.
Better still, the LHC loading does not apply to extras, urgent ambulance or overseas visitors’ insurance. For example, if you buy hospital insurance in addition to extras or urgent ambulance insurance, you’ll only pay the LHC loading on the hospital insurance portion of your premium.
Do I still get the Australian government rebate on private health insurance?
If you‘re paying the LHC loading, you’re still eligible for the rebate; however, you’ll only get a rebate on the base premium of your hospital insurance and not the LHC loading component.
Does my LHC loading status stay the same even if I switch health funds?
Yes, your LHC loading status stays the same even when you switch health funds. To find out more about how this process works, head to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman.