• Private health insurance rebate

    The private health insurance rebate is an amount the government contributes towards the cost of your private hospital health insurance premiums.

    This rebate is income tested, which means your eligibility to receive it depends on your income. If you have a higher income, your rebate entitlement may be reduced, or you may not be entitled to any rebate at all.

    If you or your family do not have an appropriate level of private hospital insurance cover, and your income for Medicare levy surcharge (MLS) purposes is above a certain threshold, you will be required to pay the MLS. The rate of MLS you pay depends on your income for MLS purposes. This applies unless you (and your dependents if you have them) are exempt from paying the Medicare levy.

    Most people claim the private health insurance rebate as a reduction in the amount of private health insurance premiums they pay to their insurer. Alternatively, it can be a refundable tax offset when you lodge your tax return.

    The rebate percentage is adjusted on 1 April each year.

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    Appropriate level of private hospital insurance

    Private patient hospital insurance cover is provided by registered health insurers for hospital treatment provided in an Australian hospital or day hospital. You must arrange and pay for your cover directly with the insurer.

    For singles, an appropriate level of cover must have an excess of $500 or less. Couples or families must have an excess of $1,000 or less.

    General cover, commonly known as 'extras', is not private patient hospital cover. It covers items such as optical, dental, physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment.

    Travel insurance is not private patient hospital cover for the purposes of the MLS. Similarly, private patient hospital cover does not include cover provided by an overseas fund.

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    Last modified: 31 Aug 2016QC 49962