If you’re in your twenties, chances are your health isn’t front of mind. In fact, you might not have had any health troubles at all. You’re probably feeling pretty good, happily spending your disposable income to Netflix or that great mid-century couch you’ve been eyeing. But while you’re setting up your life, earning a stable income and planning your future, it’s also a great time to start thinking about health insurance. Did you know that by getting a head start on health insurance before 1 July following your 31st birthday, you could pay less for health insurance in the future and be in for a whole bunch of hospital perks?
Here, we’ll give you a few good reasons to think about getting health insurance before you hit your thirties.
You could get benefits in (and out of) hospital
Private hospital cover can bring with it a whole host of advantages. For a start, you could choose your doctor rather than be assigned one as you would in a public hospital. For elective surgery, there’s also the freedom of potentially choosing your treatment time rather than jumping on a public hospital waiting list and potentially waiting months, or years, for surgery. As you can imagine, that’s no walk in the park when you’re sick or injured.
Where available, you could gain access to a private room, so you can recuperate in your own space.
Keep in mind that different benefits depend on the level of cover you choose – the higher the cover, the more treatments you’ll be covered for. Plus, don’t forget about Extras: Extras cover can help with the cost of health services outside of a hospital, like a trip to the dentist, new glasses from the optometrist, a physio appointment and more.
You could see long-term budget wins
Setting yourself up with health insurance now could help set your budget up for the future. Some products, like ING Health Insurance, might offer an age-based discount which is a premium discount calculated at 2% for each year that a person is aged under 30, up to a maximum of 10% for 18 to 25 year olds. The earlier you take out Hospital cover, the higher the discount you will receive and the best bit – you’ll hold onto this discount until you’re 41, winning! After 41 your discount reduces 2% each year until it’s gone. Keep in mind the discount is not available to dependents on the Policy.
Big ‘3-0’ creeping up? One more thing to plan for is the added cost of lifetime health cover loading or ‘LHC’, which kicks in from 1 July after you’ve turned 31 (so the next financial year after your birthday) if you still haven’t taken out Hospital cover. Taking out Hospital cover after this date means you’ll have to pay a 2% loading on top of what you’ll pay for private health insurance for every year you are aged over 31 (up to 70%). This percentage increases the longer you leave it, so if you wait until you’re in your forties, you could end up paying an extra 20% on the cost of this cover per year for 10 years. This is an Australian Government initiative designed to encourage people to take out health insurance earlier. In short, if you think you might take out Hospital cover one day, getting it sorted earlier could save you some coin down the track.
Could you save during tax time?
We’re super lucky in Australia that a lot of our healthcare is bulk billed to Medicare and the public system. It’s paid for by the taxpayer and it is called the Medicare Levy. However one thing to note as you progress your income is an additional charge called the Medicare Levy Surcharge. This impacts people earning over $90K as a single or $180K as a couple. Because this surcharge is calculated as a percentage of your income, it could put a dent in your tax return.
The Medicare levy surcharge exists to encourage those who can afford it to take out Hospital cover and use private hospitals. Opting for private over public can really help to take some of the strain off our hardworking public health system.
If you are likely to cop the Medicare levy surcharge, you can take out an appropriate level of Hospital cover to avoid it. Always weigh up what is best for you and your financial situation.
Be sure to check the ATO’s special definition of income for MLS purposes to make sure you understand whether you may be eligible for these tax savings.
The information is current as at publication.
ING Health Insurance is issued by nib health funds limited (ABN 83 000 124 381) (nib), a registered private health insurer, and is marketed by ING. ING is an authorised agent of nib and receives commission from nib. An ING Health Insurance policy issued does not represent a deposit with or liability of, and is not guaranteed or otherwise supported by, ING or its related bodies corporate.
ING Bank (Australia) Limited cannot advise on financial or tax matters. Any information provided to you is general in nature and does not take account of your individual circumstances. You should obtain your own independent financial advice.
To purchase ING Health Insurance Hospital Cover or to claim for Hospital or Medical Treatment, all those listed on the Policy must be Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents of Australia or entitled to full reciprocal rights under Medicare, registered for Medicare and listed on an active Medicare card. ING Health Insurance policies are subject to the ING customer eligibility and name screening assessment at inception and while holding the product. Please refer to the Customer Eligibility and Name Screening document.
This is general information only, and does not take into account your particular objectives, financial situation and needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you having regard to these factors before acting on it. Read the relevant Policy Booklet, Target Market Determination, Financial Services Guide and the ING Customer Eligibility and Name-Screening document available at ing.com.au and consider if an ING Health Insurance product is right for you before deciding to purchase or continue to hold the product.
The price we quote is set by the Insurer (nib). Any discounts or offers may change at any time without notice. If the policy renews, the price may exceed the price paid for the previous policy. Base premiums are subject to change. You will be responsible for all applicable GST and other statutory charges.
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