The LHC loading is an extra cost applied to the price of hospital insurance, which makes it more expensive. It only affects people 31 or older who don’t have hospital insurance and decide to buy it. It’s designed to encourage people to buy hospital insurance earlier in life and stay covered.
To avoid the loading, all you need to do is buy hospital insurance on or before 1 July following your 31st birthday.
There are special circumstances where you’d be exempt from the LHC loading; head to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman to find out more.
How is the LHC loading calculated?
For every year over the age of 30 you don’t have hospital insurance, the price goes up 2%. The loading goes up to a maximum of 70%. Basically, if you buy hospital insurance after you turn 31, it could be more expensive than if you’d bought it earlier in life.
To calculate your loading, head to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman for a loading estimate.
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 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 loading.
What happens if the LHC loading has already been applied to me?
If you’re 31 or older and don’t have hospital insurance, it’s still a good idea to buy it as soon as possible. The LHC loading stops increasing as soon as you buy hospital insurance. That means if you get hospital insurance at 32, you’ll only ever pay an extra 4% on top of the base cost of your premium, so long as 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.
What if the LHC loading applies to me and I need hospital insurance for a couple or a family?
For couples and families, the 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%.
Am I still eligible for the Australian Government rebate on private health insurance if the LHC loading applies to me?
If you‘re paying the LHC loading, you’re still eligible for the rebate. But, you’ll only get a rebate on the base premium of your hospital insurance and not the LHC loading component.
Does the LHC loading still apply when I switch health funds?
Yes, your LHC loading status stays the same even when you switch health funds.
To find out more about how the LHC loading works, head to the ATO’s website.