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Glossary of terms related to Medicare levy surcharge.

Last updated 23 September 2020

Appropriate level of private patient hospital cover

An appropriate level of private patient hospital cover is cover provided by a registered health insurer for hospital treatment in Australia which has an excess of:

  • $750 or less (for a policy covering only one person), or
  • $1,500 or less (for all other policies).

Excess is the amount you pay before your health insurer pays for any claim you make.

General cover (formerly called ancillary cover) or 'extras' is not private patient hospital cover because it covers only items such as optical, dental, physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment.

If you are not sure whether you had an 'appropriate level of private patient hospital cover' during 2018–19, contact your health insurer.


Child includes:

  • your adopted child, stepchild or ex-nuptial child
  • a newborn or newly adopted child
  • a child of your spouse, and
  • someone who is your child within the meaning of the Family Law Act 1975 (for example, a child who is considered to be a child of a person under a state or territory court order giving effect to a surrogacy agreement).

The definition of child includes children of people who are in same-sex relationships.


For Medicare levy surcharge purposes, your dependants (regardless of their income) are your:

  • spouse, even if they worked during 2018–19 or had their own income
  • children under 21 years old
  • children 21 to 24 years old who are studying full time at school, college or university.

Dependants must have been Australian residents in 2018–19 and you must have contributed to their maintenance.

Your spouse includes another person (of any sex) who for 2018–19:

  • you were in a relationship with that was registered under a prescribed state or territory law
  • although not legally married to you, lived with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

Maintaining a dependant

You maintained a dependant if any of the following applied:

  • you both lived in the same house
  • you gave them food, clothing and lodging
  • you helped them to pay for their living, medical and educational costs.

If you had a spouse for the whole of 2018–19 and your spouse worked at any time during the year, we still consider you to have maintained your spouse as a dependant for the whole income year.

We consider you to have maintained a dependant even if the two of you were temporarily separated, for example, due to holidays or overseas travel.

If you maintained a dependant for only part of the year, you may need to adjust your claim accordingly.