What is the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading?

If you take out private hospital cover before July 1 following your 31st birthday, you can avoid paying Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.

This LHC loading was introduced by the Australian Government in July 2000 to encourage people to take out private hospital insurance at a younger age and maintain it over time.

Turning 31




Your Lifetime Health Cover
base day is the 1st of July
following your 31st birthday.

Lifetime Health Cover Save




The sooner you get
hospital cover, the less
LHC loading you'll pay

Ten Years




Stop paying LHC after
10 continuous years
of hospital cover

Does Lifetime Health Cover loading apply to you?

The LHC loading applies if you didn't have private hospital cover

  • Before 1 July 2000, OR
  • Before 1 July following your 31st birthday, whichever is later

There are some exceptions to the above, for example if you have recently migrated to Australia or were overseas on 1 July following your 31st birthday. And if you're an Australian citizen or permanent resident living on Norfolk Island, you have until 1 July 2017 to take out private hospital cover without incurring LHC loading.

You can call Australian Unity on 13 29 39 or refer to the ATO website for more information about all exclusions and special considerations that apply.

How much does the loading cost?

You’ll pay an additional 2% a year for every year you don’t have private hospital cover after the age of 30 (up to a maximum of 70%).

For example, if you take out hospital cover for the first time when you’re 40, you’ll pay 2% x 10 years, so that’s an extra 20% you’ll be paying for your hospital cover!

Note that the loading applies only to your private hospital cover premiums, and is not applied to premiums for extras cover.

How is LHC calculated for couples/families?

Your LHC is calculated by averaging out the loading for each adult.

For example, if you have 0% loading and your partner has a 10% loading, you’ll pay a 5% loading on a couple or family policy.

Does LHC last forever? Or can you pay it off?

You stop paying the loading after you’ve held hospital cover for ten continuous years. It is important to know if you cancel your private hospital cover and repurchase again at a later date, the LHC loading may apply.

Note that extras only cover does not count towards your 10 continuous years.

What happens if you suspend your hospital cover?

Only the days on which you are paying the LHC loading count towards your 10 continuous years. This means that any period during which you suspend your cover (for overseas travel or financial hardship) is not counted towards your accumulated LHC period.

Can you switch to a different health insurer if you’re paying LHC?

Yes. When you switch health funds, your previous insurer provides a document called a Transfer Certificate. This certificate provides details of your previous cover, including information needed for your new health fund to calculate your premiums with the appropriate LHC loading.

Australian Unity members can authorise us to request a Transfer Certificate from their previous fund on their behalf by logging in to Online Member Services or by calling us on 13 29 39.

Which hospital covers can help you avoid or reduce LHC loading?

All of Australian Unity’s hospital and combination covers can help you to avoid Lifetime Health Cover loading

Find out more

  • Visit the ATO to find out more about Lifetime Health Cover loading
  • Call Australian Unity on 13 29 39 if you have any questions about how the loading affects your health insurance premiums, or if you’d like us to request a transfer certificate from your previous health fund
  • Contact your registered tax agent if you have any specific tax-related questions



Important Note: This information is provided as a summary only about the Australian Government Rebate, Medicare Levy Surcharge and Lifetime Health Cover loading information relevant to Private Health Insurance cover. Health Insurers are not permitted to provide tax advice. For tax advice or more detailed information please contact your registered tax agent or the Australian Taxation Office at ato.gov.au or visit the Australian Government’s website at privatehealth.gov.au