Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is an Australian Government initiative designed to encourage people to take out hospital cover earlier in life and to maintain cover.

If you are a new migrant to Australia, then you have until the later of 1 July following your 31st birthday or the first anniversary of your full Medicare registration to take out private hospital cover without incurring a Lifetime Health Cover loading.

As a migrant, your Lifetime Health Cover base day is the 12 month anniversary of your registration for full Medicare benefits (i.e. when you are eligible for a blue or green Medicare card).

If you miss your Lifetime Health Cover base day, you will have to pay 2% more for each year you are aged over 30 when you take out private health insurance. That is some serious money over a period of ten years!

How does it affect you?

If you don't have hospital cover before 1 July following your 31st birthday or as a new migrant, the first anniversary of your full Medicare registration , you could pay an additional 2% for hospital cover every year you delay – up to a maximum of 70%. This extra cost will remain in place for 10 continuous years.

Lifetime Health Cover loading examples:

31? No cover? - LHC loading is 2%

You could pay: $40 extra per year. That's $400 over 10 years!

35? No cover? - LHC loading is 10%

You could pay: $200 extra per year. That's $2000 over 10 years!

(Based on hospital cover that costs $2,000 a year. No rebate applied.)

If you were aged 39 when you migrated and did not get a private cover within a year of getting a Medicare Card then you would end up paying additional 18% for ten years!!

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