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Blog

August 22nd, 2012
Understanding Means Testing for Private Health Insurance by Karl Schmidt

The Australian Government recently passed the Means Testing Bill for the Private Health Insurance Rebate.  With these changes coming into effect on 1st July 2012 the question we must ask is; how does this impact us individually or as a family?

Well, let’s look at the way things worked prior to these changes.  Previously the private health insurance rebate was calculated at a flat rate of 30% for anyone with health insurance (either hospital or extras cover). But under these new laws, individuals earning over $84,001 annually, or couples earning over $168,001 will receive a lower rebate rate depending on how much they earn above certain limits.

Older Australians (aged 65 and over) will receive a higher rebate rate, but this age benefit is also in proportion with their annual income rebate – with higher income earners losing a percentage of their rebate rate.

To view the changes to the rebate as sourced by the Private Health Insurance Circular please click here.

This will ultimately mean that wealthier Australians will receive less financial benefit for their private health insurance, while single income earners who are paid less than $84,000 a year will be untouched by the new laws.

It is also important to note that higher income earners without health insurance will be charged the Medicare Levy Surcharge (or MLS), and in many cases money could be saved by taking out a health insurance policy and avoiding the MLS altogether.

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