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How to avoid the age loading fee on your private medical insurance

We had a really useful entry posted by one of our forum members which I think is really worth sharing on the main pages of getting down under.

Following this advice could save you quite a bit of your hard earned money once you finally make it down under so the entry is worth a read.

I’ve included the full text of the entry below. Thanks for your input Marilyn :)

OK… you’ve spent countless hours doing the research, you’ve spent days filling out form after form, and you’ve spent MONTHS on end waiting (OH the awful waiting) and now you’ve finally got that wonderful visa!!

Well… here is a little tip bit to help you on the process after you land.

Chances are, you will want to get private medical insurance.

When you get your Medicare Card, KEEP the letter it comes attached to.

A few days later, you will get a letter from the Department of Health and Ageing, KEEP this letter too!!

Private medical insurance companies charge a premium if you have not had, and maintained, private medical insurance prior to your 30th birthday. They charge 2% per year for every year over 30.

Thus a 40 year old will pay 20% more than the standard policy rate, and a 50 year old will pay 40% more, the loading charge tops out at 70% for a 65 year old.

BUT… as new immigrants, we are exempt from this loading charge as long as we take out private medical insurance within 12 months of becoming eligible for Medicare.

Proving to the insurance companies that they are NOT allowed to charge us that premium is not easy, as I am finding out. That is why I’m telling everyone I know to keep these various forms and letters and to get insurance within the time limit.

Insurance companies do not know the exceptions that apply to new immigrants. In fact, MOST companies do not know of the various exceptions that apply to new immigrants.

Doing the research to get the visa is NOT the end of the job. We MUST keep educating ourselves so that we are not taken advantage of.

No one does it intentionally; they simply do not know that there are separate rules for new immigrants in some cases. It is OUR job to know what rules apply to us and to have PROOF of those rules and to have the documentation to comply with them.

When you decide what company and what policy you want to purchase, take the time to call them on the phone. They should ask you to fax in a variety of documents; amongst these are the ones I mentioned above.

You see, you have 12 months from the day you get your Medicare Card to take out a private medical insurance policy without being charged the 2% loading fee. That is 2% of the base policy price for every year you’re over 30 years of age. That means that someone who’s 40 is paying 20% more than someone who’s 30.

Written by Mark

As the founder of Getting Down Under, Mark is passionate about demystifying the process associated with a move to Australia.

Having launched Getting Down Under in early January 2006 and made the move to Australia from the UK in the same year, Mark continues to share resources and support for those looking for assitance, Getting Down Under.

If you have a question for Mark, please post in our Forums

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  1. This is a very good information because not many people will tell you about this. I came here in November 2007 and didn’t look into private health-insurance for about 18 months, so I found out the costly way.

    I think our premium would have been around $250 a month if we had applied before the 12 month deadline, but now they want something like $350 a month. That’s an extra $1200 a year!

    If I live until I’m 80, I’m shooting for more, that little error could cost us $36,000. Ouch! But we haven’t signed up yet, still smarting too much.

    • Hi Bob
      Thanks for the information. Sorry about your experience. I spoke to pvt. insurers but they pleaded ignorance about the 12 month deadline. Do you know where I could have evidence or information on this deadline procedure which I can provide for them to process my insurance? (I am within the 12 month – barely just).

      Much appreciated.


  2. Hi there.

    I read Mark’s comment of 2007 in which you paod the dentist Having the $49 consultation fee. I had to go for a hystserectomy and my sister suggested I apply for a GP visit first to do so, rather than go directly to the hospital. She said I would have to may a $50 fee as initial fee. Is this correct? Is tehre a fee to be paid to register and have a initial visit?



  3. Hi Mark.

    Thanks for the information on Medicare and Private Insurance. Has anyone heard of any good Private INsurers? Or nightmare stories? Would be grateful for info.

    I heard the PR individuals have to pay a 50$ fee when they register with a GP. Its a one-off I was told. Is this correct?

    Great informative piece. Keep up good work.

  4. I am over than 31 yrs of age of PR. I am here in Australia only 2 months ago.If I choose to not to get the private medical insurance and only rely on the public hospital(Obviously which is free).Is that the problem?

    • Hi Jay

      No problem at all but keep in mind also that if you don’t have private medical insurance you will also be charged what is called the Medicare Levy which is an additional tax deduction taken annually. :(



  5. Hi Marilyn,

    Thanks so much for the vital information on medicare, also private health insurance info.We have so much to learn on these matters before we eventually migrate. hopefully it will be december this year. thanks once again it really is a great web site.

    paul and jackie.

  6. Dear Sir/Madam.
    I am Paul from IRELAND going through the visa 176 application which I hope to receive in the next couple of months. Both my wife Jackie and I are migrating to Brisbane.I have been reading your article on private health insurance and would like if I could get more information on it, as we are both early forties.In my present employment the doctor is paid by me through my work at a reduced rate and also we pay insurance through work, PRSI, insurance. Is that what I need to bring with me and do I also have to take out private insurance before I migrate to Austrialia. Furthermore, could you give me an indication of the average cost of health insurance annually, also should I take it out over this end or stay with the scheme I am presently with in my employment or take it out when I arrive in AUS.I would be most grateful for any information you could pass our way.

    yours faithfully

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