Category Archives: lifetime health cover

Your health cover – seven reasons why it shouldn’t be set and forget …

All too often people take out health cover at one life stage and forget to update it as their needs, and the needs of their family, change over time. Peta Gane, from rt’s member services team, shares some expert tips to getting the right kind of cover for your needs – and why your health cover should have an occasional health check!

‘We’ve all heard about people caught without the right level of health cover. It’s really distressing for the person and for us when we find someone is on the wrong cover for their needs. That’s why it’s so important to give your health cover a health check from time to time,’ she says.

Peta says she and the team at rt find people who might be on the wrong type of cover by looking at their age and the level of cover they have, and by comparing it with data that tells them the types of medical treatments people in those age groups are most likely to use.

Taking a proactive approach and reviewing your health cover by talking to a representative will make sure your needs are met. Peta explains saying: ‘It’s important to encourage people to give their health cover a regular check. And, there are a number of life events and stages when checking your level of cover may be especially important.’ These include:

01 You’re turning 31, thinking of dropping your hospital cover or if you’re new to Australia

You may be at risk of getting stuck with a Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading if:

  • you don’t have private hospital insurance before 1 July following your 31st birthday
  • you’re over the age of 31 and have had hospital cover, but let it lapse
  • you’ve moved to Australia and are eligible to receive full Medicare entitlements.

‘The LHC loading is a government penalty designed to encourage people to take out
private hospital cover and to keep it. Once you have an LHC loading, you’ll have to
pay it for ten continuous years, so avoiding it or minimising it as early as possible is
important – the team at rt can show you how,’ says Peta.

02 You’re planning a trip

Australian private health insurance only covers you for treatment you receive in Australia and for products and services you buy in the country. So, if you’re heading overseas for 28 days or more, suspend your cover.

03 You get a pay rise

‘If you’re earning over a certain amount and you don’t have private hospital cover, you’ll be charged an additional tax called the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS). Single people earning over $90,000 a year and couples/families earning over $180,000 are affected. If this applies to you, you’re better off having hospital cover than paying the extra tax – you’ll avoid the surcharge and gain all the benefits of private cover. The income tiers are set by the tax office; the current tiers are in place until 30 June 2018,’ explains Peta.

04 You’re planning a family

‘Having a baby is an exciting time and one of your most important considerations will be where you plan to have your baby and who you want to see you through your pregnancy.’ Peta urges you to check that the hospital cover you have includes pregnancy in a private hospital and remember that waiting periods may apply before you’re covered if you are new to a fund or if you upgrade to a cover that includes pregnancy. ‘If you have a single membership with rt, for example, you’ll need to upgrade to a family or sole-parent family membership at least two months before the baby’s due date. If you don’t upgrade, and your baby needs hospital care following birth, your baby won’t be covered. If you already have a couple, family or sole-parent family membership your baby will be covered if hospital care is needed. Planning ahead enables you to put your mind at ease so you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy and beyond, our team can guide you,’ she explains.

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05 The kids are growing

Got kids who might need orthodontic treatment soon? Get the right kind of extras cover to help during this important (and expensive) time. ‘When your kids reach about 12, think about checking or upgrading your extras to make sure they are covered if they need orthodontic treatment,’ says Dr Lincoln Law, dentist at Healthy Teeth. ‘There’s a waiting period of 12 months before you can claim orthodontics if you’re not already covered, so as with everything that’s important in life, plan ahead!’ adds Peta.

06 You’re celebrating a graduation

With rt, your children can be covered by your family or sole-parent family membership until their 21st birthday. After that, they can stay on your membership until they’re 25 if they’re studying full-time at an approved Australian school, college or university, and aren’t married or living in a de facto relationship. If they aren’t studying, you can keep the kids covered under your membership for an additional contribution that’s a fraction of what they’d pay for their own cover. ‘It’s called ‘family extension and it’s available with rt’s Premium Hospital cover,’ Peta explains.

If you join or are with rt health, your kids are eligible to join, and provided they transfer to their own membership with an equivalent level of cover within two months of leaving yours, they’ll have no waiting periods to serve.

07 There’s a significant birthday on the horizon

Celebrating important milestones in the family is one of life’s greatest joys. But with different ages and stages, come different health needs. As you get older, you’re more likely to need certain types of medical treatment for knees, hips, hearts and more.

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‘No matter what your life stage, think about whether your health cover is working for you right now. And, will it meet your upcoming needs? We’re committed to providing our existing and new members with the best advice possible and matching them with the right cover for their changing needs!’ ends Peta.

Call us on 1300 56 46 46 to join rt health and get the rt health check your health deserves!

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Peta Gane, member services team

 

 

Don’t get slugged with an extra penalty!

Did you know that almost three-quarters of Australians without private hospital insurance don’t know that they could be slapped with a 10-year Lifetime Health Cover loading*?  The statistics are even higher for young Australians (18-31) without private hospital insurance – a massive 80% are unaware of LHC*. Thankfully LHC can be avoided or minimised so read on to find out how!

What you need to know …

Lifetime Health Cover is a government initiative that’s designed to encourage Australians to take out private hospital cover early in life and to keep it. If you don’t have private hospital insurance before 1 July following your 31st birthday, the LHC meter starts running. And, from that point on, hospital cover will cost you an additional 2 per cent on top of the usual price every year you delay, up to a maximum loading of 70 per cent! And, the loading stays with you until you have paid it for ten continuous years.

Not yet 31?

If you take out hospital cover by the time you are 31 (and keep it) you’ll pay the lowest rate offered by the health fund you join. And, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if the unexpected happens, you have choice, security and control.

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Already over 31?

The longer you delay, the more you’ll pay. This can mean that hospital cover ends up costing you thousands of dollars more than you needed to pay. So, for example, if you were to put off taking out hospital cover until you were 40, you’d be paying 20% more than someone who took out the same hospital cover at age 30. This loading could add up to thousands of dollars over a ten-year period! The bottom line is that if you want to avoid getting tripped up by the LHC loading, you have to take out hospital cover sooner rather than later (and keep it)!

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Dropped your private hospital cover?

If you’re over 31 and have held private hospital cover without an LHC loading but you’ve let your cover lapse, you may be subject to a loading when you choose to re-join a health fund later on. Our team can explain the details and why getting hospital cover and sticking with it is so worthwhile.

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New to Australia?

If you’re a new Australian and you hold either a green or blue Medicare card, the LHC loading can be avoided by taking out private hospital cover by 1 July following your 31st birthday. Over 31? Take out hospital cover before the first anniversary of the day you registered for full Medicare benefits. Otherwise, you’ll be charged a 2% loading for every year you are over 31!

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If you want to avoid the LHC loading or minimise it – talk to us today! We can explain the details to you in plain English and you won’t be rushed off the phone. Give our team of experts a call on 1300 56 46 46.

For further information about Lifetime Health Cover see the Australian Government’s Private Health Insurance Ombudsman website.

Daniel Walshaw
Daniel Walshaw – Marketing Communications Content Specialist at rt health fund

 

Disclaimer: This information is brought to you by rt health fund – the health fund for transport and energy industry people. You are welcome to reproduce this article with mention of rt health fund as the source. With all tax-related issues, we strongly recommend you speak with your accountant, financial planner or tax adviser. The information provided here is intended to be for information only and should be carefully evaluated for its source, accuracy, completeness and relevance for your purposes.

*Ipsos/iSelect, June 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be that one in five …

One in five young people don’t know that they could be heading for a 10-year government penalty!

Are you that one in five? Or do you know someone that may be in this boat?

Thankfully, this cost can be avoided …

iStock_000007281377_LargeSo what’s it all about?

It’s all due to a system called Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) – a government loading that hits anyone over the age of 31 with a penalty for not having private hospital cover before the cut-off date (which is June 30 after a person’s 31st birthday). The loading increases annually, potentially adding up to thousands of extra dollars paid for private hospital cover. The government introduced LHC to encourage people to take out private hospital cover early in life, and keep it …

And that’s just the start of it!

By not taking out hospital cover by the cut off date, the loading increases a further 2 per cent for every year over 31 that a person doesn’t have private hospital cover. Scarily, more than one million Australians are paying a LHC loading today.

LHC can add up and up and up

‘Hospital insurance isn’t on the radar – or in the budget – of a lot of younger people. If they do think about it, they think they can wait until they’re ready to start a family or until they’re older and more likely to want private cover. But what many people don’t realise is that by then, the LHC loading has really added up,’ says rt health fund Chief Operating Officer, Simone Tregeagle.

‘If you leave it until you’re 40, you’ll be paying 20 per cent more for your health cover every year for 10 years until the loading drops off. And that easily adds up to thousands of dollars over a ten-year period!’

Read all about it!

Each year the government writes to everyone turning 31 who doesn’t have hospital cover to tell them about the looming LHCiStock_000057180950_Large loading. But the statistics show that awareness of LHC is pretty low. And it’s not just the thirty-somethings that are affected.

A lapse of judgment could cost you dear!

Simone Tregeagle adds, ‘There’s a fairly low level of awareness among older people who have private hospital cover that if they let their cover lapse for a period of time, they may face a substantial LHC loading when they choose to re-join. So getting hospital cover and staying with it really is worthwhile.’

New Australians

The government also wants people who have recently moved to Australia to take up hospital cover. So, if you – or someone you know – receives full Medicare benefits (i.e. holds either a green or blue Medicare card), LHC loading can be avoided by taking out private hospital cover. This needs to be taken out by 1 July following the person’s 31st birthday. If the person is over 31, hospital cover needs to be taken out before the first anniversary of the day they registered for full Medicare benefits in order to avoid the loading.

‘If full Medicare eligibility is kept for a year without taking out private hospital cover, the government will charge a 2 per cent loading for every year that person is over 31. Scarily, if that person is 45 years of age and hasn’t taken out private hospital cover one year after Medicare eligibility kicks in, the loading would be a huge 30 per cent!’ explains rt’s Simone Tregeagle.

So what can you do to avoid being slapped?

Read, read, read …

  • Read the information that’s sent to you by the government
  • Get hospital cover by June 30 following your 31st birthday
  • If you’re older than 31, get hospital cover as soon as you can to reduce your LHC loading
  • Be aware of the consequences if you have hospital cover and choose to drop it after the age of 31
  • If you’re new to Australia, or know someone who is, and they’re 31 or older, give them a heads up and get them to take out health cover to save excess payments
  • Call us – our team can explain the details in plain English. And you can relax and speak for as long as you need – you won’t be hurried off the phone. Rest assure that you can take as long as you need to make the right decisions for you.

To find out more, call us on 1300 56 46 46 or visit www.rthealthfund.com.au/lhc.

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Simone Tregeagle, Chief Operating Officer at rt health fund.