Members Health calls for higher dependent age limit

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Members Health says young Australians could be saving thousands of dollars if the federal government raised the age limit for children and dependents on family health insurance policies.

The association said the government should lift the age limit for dependent children on family policies from 25 to 30 years.

“It is the Government that enforces this age limit, and it is the Government that has the ability to raise it, inevitably helping even more young people remain covered throughout their lives,” said CEO Matthew Koce.

“Raising the age limit on parents’ policies would save younger people thousands of dollars a year, especially during a stage in life when cost-of-living pressure start to bite.”

Affordability has become an increasing concern for the private health insurance sector, particularly for younger Australians.

The median single Gold hospital treatment policy costs $2,520 per year before Government rebates. Over the course of five years, that equates to approximately $12,600 saved.

“That’s money that could go towards paying off HECS and university debt, a deposit for a first home or towards raising a family,” continued Mr Koce, adding raising the age limit to 30 would have no cost implications for the government.

Mr Koce said the current age limit no longer reflects modern-day family life or cost-of-living pressures.

In 2017, 56 per cent of men aged 18 to 29 lived with their parents, up from 47 per cent in 2001. For women, the number increased from 36 per cent to 54 per cent.

“The world is not what it was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago,” said Mr Koce.

“Young Australians now take more time to reach certain milestones – milestones such as completing tertiary study, landing solid employment in their chosen career, affording a first home, marrying or raising a family. These milestones have long defined ‘adulthood’ and provided the foundation for Government policy. It’s time to review those dated perceptions when it comes to health cover.”