Health insurance can be complicated enough without government discounts, loadings and surcharges to contend with. We’ve compiled some of the most commonly asked questions from members under 30 to help you get all the facts about why and when you should consider getting cover.
Before we jump in, let’s take a quick look at the government initiatives
These are designed by the government to encourage people to take out and maintain private health insurance but are available or applied differently depending on your age or income. The good news is, we can work out what applies to you and the best way to keep your cover affordable.
- Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance – this is one that you’ll likely be familiar with as it applies to hospital and extras cover and is an amount the government contributes towards the cost of your premiums. The amount you’re eligible for depends on your age, income and family status, you can learn more here.
- Age-Based Discount – if you’re aged 18-29 you’re eligible for an age-based discount of up to 10% off your hospital premiums on all currently available Phoenix Health hospital covers. The discount is calculated at a rate of 2% per year that you’re under 30, so if you joined when you’re 26 you’ll be eligible to receive an 8% discount.
- Lifetime Health Cover loading – this initiative is designed to encourage people to take out hospital cover earlier in life and maintain it. You have until 1 July following your 31st birthday to take out hospital cover without being penalised. If you don’t hold hospital cover on 1 July following your 31st birthday, for every year that you don’t have cover, you’ll be required to pay an additional 2% on top of your hospital premiums.
- Medicare Levy Surcharge – not to be confused with the Medicare Levy all Australians are required to pay, the Medicare Levy Surcharge is a percentage-based levy Australians earning over $90,000 ($180,000 for couples and families) are required to pay if they don’t have an appropriate level of hospital cover.
I’m young and healthy, why should I consider hospital cover in my 20s?
While hospital cover might not be something you need right now, investing in your health can help provide benefits for procedures commonly claimed by people in your age group such as appendix and wisdom teeth removal and non-emergency ambulance for any sporting mishaps.1
Plus when you take out and maintain hospital cover in your 20s you’ll be able to lock in your Age Based Discount and avoid the Lifetime Health Cover loading.
Another reason people tend to take out cover in their 20s is if a family is something you can see in your future; it’s worth gathering the facts now so you can take out hospital cover and serve any waiting periods before you need to claim.
What happens if I don’t have health insurance by the time I turn 30?
To be honest, nothing. But when you do decide to take out hospital cover you could be faced with a Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading – which means you will pay more for your cover. And you’ll also miss out on any Age Based Discount.
Will these discounts and loadings affect my partner?
Not directly, everyone has their own discount and/or loading. But if you decide to combine cover, any discounts or loadings you have individually will be averaged out across the membership. For example, if you have a 0% LHC loading and your partner has a 10% LHC loading, you’ll have an overall 5% loading on your couple policy. The same goes for any Age Based Discount.
Am I better off to get hospital cover or just pay the loadings?
The bottom line is, it’s up to you. Let’s say you’re looking at a single policy in NSW and your income is $91,000, meaning you’ll be required to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS). Without hospital cover, you would pay a MLS of around $910 a year, or you could take out Phoenix Health Bronze Hospital for $1,093.41 a year.2
While this comparison doesn’t take into consideration any Age Based Discount or LHC loading, for the extra cost of about 3 coffees a month, you can take out hospital cover and invest in your wellbeing rather than your tax bill.
Our Bronze Hospital cover offers benefits for emergency and non-emergency ambulance Australia wide and treatment as a private patient in a private hospital for a core range of services including things like appendix and tonsil removal and joint reconstructions. When the time comes that you do need a more comprehensive hospital policy, you’ll avoid a Lifetime Health Cover loading surcharge and any waiting periods you’ve already served will upgrade with you. Waiting periods apply, see individual cover information sheets for more information.
What about extras cover?
Extras cover provides benefits for services that aren’t covered by Medicare, like dental check-ups, prescription glasses, physio appointments and even remedial massage! It can be added to any Phoenix Health hospital product or taken out by itself, but if you wish to take advantage of the Age Based Discount or avoid the LHC loading or the MLS you will need hospital cover.
We’ve got a range of extras covers with percentage-based benefits, so you’ll always know what you’ll get back.
What happens if I have hospital cover with another fund and switch to Phoenix Health?
Any waiting periods you’ve already served with your current health fund will switch with you so you’re not starting again.3 Likewise, if you have any discounts or loadings with your current health fund, these will be recorded on a Transfer Certificate and applied to your new cover.
Still have questions?
Reach out to the Phoenix Health Team on 1800 028 817 or email [email protected] with any questions or for a quote that includes your any discounts or loadings specific to your circumstances; we’re here to help.