Lifetime Health Cover

If you are 30 or over, and you are not a permanent member of the ADF, you will be impacted by Lifetime Health Cover (LHC). This is Federal Government legislation designed to encourage people to take out private hospital cover earlier in life and to penalise people who don't.

If you take out hospital cover later than the 1 July following your 31st birthday, you will pay a loading of 2% on your premium for each year you are aged over 30. Once you incur a loading, it will not be removed until you have maintained hospital cover for a continuous 10-year period. As an example, a person who first takes out hospital cover at age 40 will pay 20% more in premiums each year than someone who takes out hospital cover at age 30. The longer you leave it, the higher the loading. The maximum loading is 70%.

To cover small gaps in your hospital cover for any reason, you are permitted to be without hospital cover for up to two years and 364 days without incurring a loading.

Lifetime Health Cover for permanent ADF members

If you are a member of the permanent ADF, you're considered to have hospital cover while serving.

If you discharge from the ADF after your 31st birthday, you can take out hospital cover without a loading, unless you already had a loading when you enlisted. But remember if you do not take out hospital cover on discharge, then you will start using your 1,094 permitted days without hospital cover.

If you discharge from the ADF before your 31st birthday, then the usual Lifetime Health Cover rules apply. A Lifetime Health Cover loading will still apply to a civilian partner if they delay taking out hospital cover until after they turn 31. 

What happens if I am switching from another health fund?

You are permitted to have 1,094 days without hospital cover during your lifetime, without incurring a loading. If you are switching we recommend keeping cover with your old fund until the date you transfer to Defence Health, to avoid using up any of the permitted days. If you already have a Lifetime Health Cover loading, it will move with you.

What if I am a new migrant to Australia?

If you are a new migrant to Australia, and are aged over the LHC deadline (1 July following your 31st birthday), special conditions apply. 

As a new migrant to Australia you do not have to pay a LHC loading if you take out hospital cover within 12 months of being registered for Medicare. After this time you have to pay a LHC loading of 2% more for each year you are aged over 30 when you take out hospital cover. 

As a migrant it is a good idea to consider taking out hospital cover in the first year after you register for Medicare.

For more information

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