Almost one million Australians were financially penalised for not having private health insurance in the past year, according to new figures.
The Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC) released its statistics for the September quarter yesterday (November 16), revealing that 977,117 people failed to join a health fund within the required timeframe – leading to higher premiums being paid.
The Lifetime Health Cover loading sees two per cent added to premiums for every year a person delays joining a fund after 30 years of age.
While half those affected joined a health fund in their 30s and pay a loading of 18 per cent or less, almost 30,000 Australians waited until they were aged 65 to take out private health cover.
The statistics come as a timely reminder, after new data released by the Bureau of Statistics indicated Australians are now living longer than ever.
Those surviving to age 60 can expect to live until well into their 80s – a further 23 years for men, and 26 years for women.
Those looking to purchase private health insurance before their next birthday may benefit from the advice of a broker, who can compare health insurance options in order to find the most appropriate plan.