Private Health Insurance: Delay and You Could Pay More

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HBA reports that nearly half a million Australians could pay 20 percent more on their health insurance premiums every year because they didn't take out hospital cover before June 30 in the year they turned 31

More than one million Australians are members of HBA and have enjoyed premium increases that have been lower than the national industry average over the past six years.

Each year on June 30, the Federal Government's Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading is applied to anyone aged 31 or older who joins private hospital cover. The loading adds two per cent for each year a person is aged over 31, on top of base private health insurance premiums.

Changes introduced by the Federal Government mean Australians who join later in life and maintain their private health insurance cover for 10 consecutive years will stop paying the loading.

Delay taking out private health insurance until you're 40, and you'll pay 20 per cent more than someone who joins before they turn 31.

HBA Ambassadors Matt Welsh, 30, and his wife Lauren Newton, 28, are urging young people to take the time to understand the benefits of private health insurance. "It's so easy for young people to just put it aside, to say we don't need health insurance and just get on with life," said Matt. "But it's also very easy to see - and we all know people like this - how quickly your life circumstances can change: a sporting or another type of injury, an unexpected illness or even an addition to the family. You just never know," said Matt.

HBA Communications Manager, Julian Murphy says the earlier you take out private health insurance, the better the rewards.

He understands how fit, healthy and active younger people can fail to see the benefits of private health insurance, and says HBA is offering special incentives to new members who join before the crunch time of June 30. "Simply, if you take out HBA hospital cover online before June 30, you'll get one month of free cover; take out Extras cover and you'll get one month free cover on that, as well," Murphy said.

"On top of that, Lifetime Heath Cover rewards member loyalty with ongoing lower premiums than those who join later in life," he said. "More than one million Australians are members of HBA and have enjoyed premium increases that have been lower than the national industry average over the past six years."

HBA members are also covered by one of Australia's most effective gap cover systems; last year more than 89 per cent of all members' hospital claims had no out of pocket costs.

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