I’m About to Turn 31: Do I Need Private Health Insurance?

a cake with candles on it

Health coverage systems vary from country to country. In the United States, for instance, a majority of people receive health insurance through their employers. As detailed in The New York Times, people with employment-based health insurance coverage face different circumstances than those who directly purchase their health plans from insurance companies. Some top health insurance companies in the US include Humana and Blue Shield companies in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Insurance-seekers may receive health insurance from the US government through the federal government programs Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare provides health insurance to senior citizens as well as some individuals with disability status. Medicaid is a federal government program that provides health coverage to people with low income and limited resources. The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid and created new marketplaces for US citizens to purchase private medical insurance. The US Census Bureau reports that of the US population, more than 67 percent have private health insurance, while over 30 percent have public coverage.


Contrasting the United States, several countries, including New Zealand and Australia, have a universal government-funded healthcare system. Most residents in Australia, an estimated 13 million people, have a private health insurance plan. Understanding the features of private health plans and how your age, health, and financial status can influence your health insurance policy is essential.

Private vs. public health insurance

Unlike public health coverage, private health insurance policies must come from registered health insurers. Individuals with private health insurance must pay regular premiums to keep their coverage. Having private health insurance enables Australians to receive private patient treatment at hospitals. Unlike a public health policy, private health insurance helps patients pay for physiotherapy, dental care, optical care, and other healthcare costs that Medicare doesn’t cover.

Private health plans offer insurance policyholders more options, increased health cover, a private health insurance rebate, and an exemption from the Medicare levy surcharge.

The significance of your 31st birthday

Some Australians may notice that private health insurance becomes a more relevant conversation topic as their 31st birthday approaches, which may leave them wondering if they should get private coverage.

Factors such as someone’s relationship status, taxable income, health status, and the number of children dependent on them can impact someone’s purchase of private health insurance and the costs and savings associated with such coverage. Age, however, is the most significant factor, due to the federal government-initiated Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.

The LHC keeps insured people from paying higher premiums for private hospital coverage. The purpose of the LHC loading was to encourage Australians to obtain private hospital cover early on and maintain it through life. Getting hospital coverage before turning 31 years old makes residents eligible for the LHC.

Choosing a private health plan

Private health insurance is optional; however, waiting to get private hospital cover after turning 31 results in an extra two percent charge plus premiums for each year you delay it. Someone who takes out private hospital cover at 40, for instance, will pay 20 percent more than someone with the same coverage who joined it when they were 30. In such a case, the policyholder would have their loading for ten years, even if they get a different health insurer. The LHC loading has a length of ten years and a maximum of 70 percent; avoiding this extra cost may be a reason to consider getting private health insurance.

Many people, especially those about to turn 31, may turn to the Internet for much-needed information regarding insurance companies, insurance quotes, Medicare, monthly premiums, bills, deductibles, coinsurance, pocket costs, and more. Health insurance plan-searching online can be efficient for people who use a site such as iSelect. It collects and compiles accurate information regarding insurance providers and the plans they offer.

Compare health insurance with Select to determine what plan best suits your health and financial needs, saves money, and benefits your present and future.

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