Going overseas? We're here to help

You can temporarily suspend your HBF health cover if you’re headed overseas.

Suspending your cover while overseas

You can put your cover on hold so you don’t have to pay premiums while you’re away.

Here are a few reasons why suspending your cover may be a good option:

  • You won’t need to pay for your health insurance while you’re travelling outside of Australia
  • You’ll keep your length of membership when you return
  • You won’t need to re-serve waiting periods already completed
  • If you’re over 31 and have eligible hospital cover, you won’t incur Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading while suspended

How long can I suspend my membership for?

You can suspend your membership for a minimum of two months and up to a maximum of three years.

If you plan to be overseas for less than two months, it’s important you maintain your existing HBF membership.

Am I eligible to suspend?

You can suspend your membership if:

  • you have held an eligible cover* with HBF for at least 12 months
  • your membership is paid up until your departure date
  • it has been at least 12 months since your last suspension
  • you have notified us of your suspension date before you head off overseas

Before you go overseas, contact us

Call us

Call us on 1300 729 423

Chat online

Manage and update your account via myHBF

Visit a branch

You can talk to us in person at your nearest branch

Suspension FAQs

What do I need to do when I come back?

You need to contact us within two months of returning to Australia to re-activate your cover. You will need to provide us with proof of travel in the form of e-tickets or boarding passes detailing the dates for both your departure and return flights into Australia. We may request an International Movement Record, this is available from the Department of Immigration.

If your policy isn’t reactivated within the required time frame or fails to meet the resumption requirements, your suspension will be cancelled, and we’ll offer a new membership where all applicable waiting periods will apply.

Can I suspend other members on my policy?

Yes, suspensions can apply to all members listed on a policy or for a person(s) under a partial suspension. The suspension applies based on the level of cover held as at the effective date of the suspension and premiums must continue to be paid for those members who remain active on the policy. Where a remaining active member(s) are under 18 years of age an authorised adult must be nominated on the membership.

What happens if I don’t resume my cover when I return?

If your cover isn’t resumed within the required time period, we may not be able to grant your full length of membership benefits and your suspension will be cancelled. A new membership may be offered and you will need to re-serve waiting periods.

Also, if you don’t resume your cover, every day from the day you return will count towards the Australian Government’s Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading .

LHC loading is an extra cost applied to the price of hospital cover. Each year you wait to get hospital cover after the age of 31, you’ll pay an extra 2% for your cover. 

What happens if I am overseas for longer than three years?

We can only suspend your cover for a maximum period of three years. If you are unable to resume your policy within this time period, the suspension will be cancelled.

Can I keep the same cover when I return to Australia?

While you are suspended there may be changes made to your health insurance product, HBF membership rules or the way in which you claim or use your cover. If your product is no longer available when you resume your membership, HBF will offer the health insurance product most closely approximating your current product.

Will the Medicare Levy Surcharge still apply?

While your policy is suspended, if you earn above a certain income threshold, the Medicare Levy Surcharge may apply. To find out if the surcharge will apply (and whether it would be better for you to continue to pay for your cover while you’re overseas rather than suspend), you need to contact the Australian Taxation Office or talk to your tax adviser.

Do you offer any other types of suspensions?

In addition to suspensions for overseas travel, members can apply to suspend their policy for a minimum of two months up to a maximum of three years, while they are serving with the Australian Defence Force or for imprisonment. Members have two months upon completion of service or release to resume their policy.

For members with Overseas visitors health cover, you can have one period of suspension every three years, for any period from two to six months. So, if you want to return overseas for a short period of time, it’s important you maintain your existing HBF membership as part of your visa condition in maintaining adequate health cover while in Australia.

If you’re experiencing financial hardship there are ways we can help you. Give us a call and depending on your current situation and how long you’ve been a member with HBF, we can discuss your options.