Whether you're newly married or simply joining your health insurance plan with your partner's, a couples policy is often a good idea for those in a relationship. The benefits include having just one premium to pay instead of two and one policy to maintain and claim from.
When considering taking out a couples health insurance policy, here are a few things to consider.
Lifetime Health Cover for couples
Lifetime Health Cover is the Government's scheme to encourage people to take out health insurance earlier in life and to maintain it. It rewards those who take out hospital cover before the age of 30 by locking in the lowest base rate premium for as long as you continue to hold your cover.
Those who take out health insurance after the age of 30 are penalised with a 2% age loading on hospital cover for each year of delay, eg. taking out hospital cover for the first time at age 35 will incur a 10% age loading. You have until 1 July following your 31st birthday to lock in the lowest base rate premium under Lifetime Health Cover.
When taking out couples health cover, both parties' Lifetime Health Cover age loadings need to be taken into consideration, if one or both of you took out health insurance after the age of 30. The age loading is averaged between the two partners using this formula:
[partner 1's age loading] + [partner 2's age loading] / 2 = the average age loading
Joan has no age loading because she took out health insurance early in life, but John has an age loading of 14%. The average of their two loadings is 7%, so they will pay 7% on top of the base rate premium for their couples cover.
As with regular Lifetime Health Cover age loading rules, as soon as one partner has held hospital cover continuously for 10 years, their age loading will be dropped and the average loading will be re-calculated.
The Medicare Levy Surcharge for couples
The current Medicare Levy Surcharge threshold for couples is $180,000 (as of 1 July 2014). That means that if your combined incomes are over $180,000 and you don't have hospital cover, you'll be charged between 1% and 1.5% in extra tax in the form of the Medicare Levy Surcharge. This is on top of the 2% Medicare Levy that you already pay.
You can avoid this extra tax by simply taking out private health insurance with a hospital cover component.
The advantages of private health insurance for couples
With private health insurance, you'll have peace of mind knowing that you're covered for those mishaps and accidents that happen in life. You'll also be covered for things you expect to go to hospital for, like having a baby or treating a medical condition. Private health insurance covers you for:
- a range of features both in hospital and ancillary services (extras, like dental and physio)
- hospital accommodation in a private or public hospital
- doctors' fees
- theatre costs
- shorter waiting times for treatment
Compare couples health insurance policies with Choosi
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These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.