Private Health Insurance: The easy guide to taxes and offsets

Private health insurance and taxes

Find out whether private health insurance could help you get a tax rebate.

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  • Piggybank and a coin

    Save up to 1.5% in tax

    Depending on your income, not having hospital cover can cost you 1%, 1.25% or 1.5% of your annual income. Don't get stung by the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS).

    Key points about the MLS

    Prefer a detailed breakdown?

  • Bar graph with arrow showing an increase

    Stop your premium rising by 2%

    If you don't have hospital cover by 1 July after your 31st birthday, your premiums will go up by 2% per year because of the Lifetime Health Cover loading (LHC).

    Key points about the LHC

    Prefer a detailed breakdown?

  • Curved arrow around a dollar sign

    Get a tax rebate of up to 33.88%

    Take out private health insurance and, depending on how much you earn, get nearly 34% of your premiums back thanks to the private health insurance rebate.

    Key points about the rebate

    Prefer a detailed breakdown?

Earn over 90k?

What does the Medicare Levy Surcharge do?

If you don't have hospital cover you'll pay:

  • 1% for singles earning over $90,000 ($180,000 for families)
  • 1.25% for singles earning over $105,001 ($210,001 for families)
  • 1.5% for singles earning over $140,000 ($280,001 for families)

How do I avoid it?

To avoid the MLS your policy must:

  • Be an appropriate level of hospital cover
  • Be provided by a registered Australian health fund
  • Have an excess of $500 or less for singles and $1,000 or less for all other policies

How is it calculated?

The MLS takes into consideration:

  • Your taxable income
  • Your total reportable fringe benefits
  • Any amounts on which family trust distribution tax has been paid

Final points to keep in mind

Remember that:

  • Extras cover does not exempt you from the MLS.
  • Income thresholds for families increase by $1,500 per child after the first child
  • The higher your excess, the lower your premiums

Turned 31 this year?

What does the Lifetime Health Cover Loading do?

  • Adds 2% to the cost of your health insurance premium for every year that you don't have hospital cover once you turn 31
  • Caps at a maximum increase of 70%
  • Stays in effect until you hold hospital cover for 10 consecutive years

How do I avoid it?

  • Take out an appropriate level of hospital cover
  • The policy must be provided by a registered Australian health fund

How long do I have after I turn 31 to take out cover?

Are there any special exemptions?

  • Australians who were born on or before 1 July 1934
  • Serving members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) Gold Card holders
  • Learn more about LHC exemptions and special conditions

Private health insurance rebate

Why was the Private health insurance rebate introduced?

  • To make private health insurance more accessible to Australians.

What's the eligibility criteria for the rebate?

  • You must fall under the age and income thresholds
  • You must be a green or blue Medicare cardholder
  • You can still claim the rebate with extras only cover

How do I claim the rebate?

  • Through tax when you fill out your annual return
  • Or as a premium reduction when you take out health insurance

Private health insurance rebate levels

Age 65-69
Age 70+
Age 65-69
Age 70+
Data source: | Applicable from April 1 2019 to 31 March 2020.

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