Age of dependents raised to 31: Has your health fund changed?
Health funds have been able to increase the age of a dependent to 31 since June last year, but only 2 have introduced changes.
Last year, legislation was passed that allowed health funds to increase the age you could be considered a dependent from 24 to 31 years old.
While health funds initially welcomed the changes, nothing much changed – until recently.
The former will introduce the change from April 2022. Health Care Insurance's increase came into effect from 1 November 2021.
Unfortunately, no other insurers have increased their dependent age to 31.
However, CEO of Members Health Fund Alliance Matthew Koce suggested that some funds won't launch until after 1 April as this is when many release or change products.
Who is eligible?
Both Teachers Health and HCI are part of the Members Health Fund Alliance, the peak industry body for not-for-profit health insurance funds.
First, you can only join Teachers Health if you're a current or former member of the education community. Family members are also eligible.
As for dependent eligibility, your child can be on your membership as a student dependent from age 21 until their 32nd birthday with Teachers Health if they:
- Are a full-time student, trainee or apprentice
- Aren't married or in a de facto relationship
With HCI, an eligible dependent must be primarily reliant on the HCI member for maintenance and support. For example, they can't have a spouse or be living in a de facto relationship. They can continue to be a dependent between 23 and 31 years of age if they:
- Are studying full-time
- Reside with the HCI member but are not a full-time student
What if you're not eligible?
With most funds, you generally aren't able to stay on your parents' health insurance after you turn 22 or are employed full-time. The only exception is if you're a student – in which case, you can usually stay on a family policy until you're 25.
If you're approaching 30 and aren't eligible as a dependent, it might still be worth taking out individual health cover. This is because the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading kicks in if you don't have hospital cover over the age of 30.
If you can't stay on your parents' policy any longer, there are policies from around $17 per week. You can compare health insurance policies here.