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Tax time: One million Australians paying health cover penalty

        • 380,000 young Aussies only have one week left avoid Lifetime Health Cover Loading
        • Those with health insurance find it one of the most stressful household bills
        • What to consider when choosing a health insurance policy

24 June 2020, Sydney, Australia – Thousands of young Australians only have one week left to take out health insurance to avoid the Lifetime Health Cover Loading penalty, according to new research by Finder, Australia's most visited comparison site.

Finder analysis of data from The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) reveals that over 380,000 31 year-olds don't have private health insurance. These Aussies have until the end of the month to take out hospital cover if they want to avoid the Lifetime Health Cover Loading.

Lifetime Health Cover Loading kicks in when you turn 31 which means you'll pay an extra 2% for hospital cover for every year you don't take it out. So if you waited until 45 years old to take out health insurance for the first time, the Lifetime Health Cover Loading would add an extra 30% to the price of your policy.

The average cost of single hospital cover in 2020 is $1,977 per year according to Finder research, so if you add an extra 30% to that cost with a loading penalty for someone aged 45 the extra cost would be $593. Over 10 years of the loading period that's an extra $5,931.

Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder urges young Australians to take out cover.

"If you're 31 and you've yet to take out cover you only have one week to do so - get in quick if you don't want to end up paying more than you need to on your future premiums."

"You only need to take out a basic hospital policy to avoid the penalty - it doesn't apply to extras cover. A bronze hospital policy starts from $100 a month on average across Australia."

"Lifetime Health Cover Loading can add up to 70% on top of your premium. For some this might mean thousands of dollars extra on their health insurance later in life. And at 30 while many of us might be fit and well, you may need that cover as you get older and may not be working."

According to a Finder survey conducted last year, 61% of Gen Y - equivalent to 3.4 million people - don't understand the Lifetime Health Cover Loading penalty.

"The research shows that more education is needed. The government sends out a yearly reminder, but that's not enough and unfortunately many Australians are still unaware."

Some Australians might not even realise they're paying a penalty, says Browne.

Finder analysis of APRA data shows that almost one million Aussies (882,791) are already paying the Lifetime Health Cover Loading.

The research found that 8% of Australians aged 31-65 are paying Lifetime Health Cover Loading, potentially paying hundreds extra on their premium each year.

Browne urges young Aussies to compare based on ongoing cost rather than discounts or offers.

"At this time of year many insurers are trying to entice new customers with waived waiting periods and months free."

"Health insurance is a big expense so don't be tempted by these offers into signing up for a policy you won't be able to afford in the long run."

Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker revealed that those with health insurance find it one of the most stressful household bills, second only to rent/mortgage.

"You're not locked into your health insurance policy so if you are feeling the heat start comparing your options and switch to a better deal."

"Aussies that used the Finder app to compare their health insurance have found an average potential savings of $61 each month - that's $753 in one year."

If you're not sure whether you need cover take Finder's health insurance quiz.

How to save on your health insurance:

  • Review your cover. If you're taking out health insurance for the first time do your research and make sure you're not signing up for a level of cover you don't need - if you're not planning on starting a family anytime soon you don't need to pay for pregnancy.
  • Compare policies online. Check out Finder's comprehensive comparison tool to help you find the best deal on your health insurance, or download the Finder App and we'll hunt down the best deal for you.
  • Mix and match policies. You can save money by choosing one insurer for your extras policy, and another for hospital cover.

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Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

Every month 2.2 million unique visitors turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, Finder has helped Aussies find what they need from 1,800+ brands across 100+ categories.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and the United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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