Making sense of Medicare and your tax obligations
To help pay for the public health system which we call Medicare, you’re required to pay a 2 percent Medicare levy as part of your income tax.
While the low-income tax offset can reduce your individual tax liability, sadly it does not reduce the Medicare levy per se, which can make it that little bit harder to get ahead with your savings.
However, if you’re on a taxable income of over $90,000 as a single or $180,000 for families, and don’t have private health insurance, you may also be subject to a surcharge of up to an extra 1.5 percent of your income, on top of the basic Medicare levy.
The surcharge was designed to encourage those who can afford it to take out private health cover and use the private hospital system, hence reducing demand on the public Medicare system.
But you are exempt from paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge by having private health insurance with a sufficient level of hospital cover.
While taking out private health insurance can be cheaper than the additional surcharge, you need to do your homework beforehand.
Private health cover has come under a lot of criticism for not offering value for money due to a myriad of shortcomings, none the least being exclusions and major out-of-pocket costs.
Rebates for private health insurance
However, if you do decide to take out private health insurance, you may also be eligible for a rebate depending on your income level.
While the private health insurance rebate is income tested, singles and families earning under $90,000 and $180,000 respectively, can expect the highest (base tier) rebate of 25.059 percent (under age 65).
Most people with private health insurance can claim the rebate as an upfront reduction on their private health insurance premium.
However, if you don’t claim the rebate as a reduction to your premium, you can still claim it as a tax offset in your annual income tax return.
What exactly is the lifetime health initiative?
If you’re under age 31 and still in two minds whether to take out private health cover or not, the Federal Government has provided an incentive to help you decide.
Should you wish to buy health insurance after 1 July following your 31st birthday, you’ll be required to pay an extra 2 percent for each subsequent year of cover due what’s called a lifetime health cover loading (LHC).
For example, if you join at age 35, you’ll pay 10 percent more for your hospital cover than if you’d joined five years earlier.
Given that the cost of top hospital cover averages around $4,500 for families and $1,250 for singles, a 20 per cent loading means you’d be paying an additional $900 and $250, respectively.
If you take out private patient hospital cover when you are 40 years old, you could pay an extra 20 percent on the cost of this cover annually for 10 years.
If you wait until you are 50 years old, you could pay 40 percent more annually.
However, it’s important to note:
For more information, please contact your financial adviser.
“Capstone made everything so easy by providing all the templates and support we need which makes me feel comfortable that I am in good hands with my licensee. I would highly recommend Capstone to any fellow Accountant."
Hillyer Riches Accountants
“We have gained assistance with transitioning to the new regulatory environment and provided a new service of strategic financial planning. Capstone have been of tremendous value in assisting with this transition."
“I would recommend Capstone to any accountant seeking to become licenced within the financial services industry. Their personal service and support to me and my firm has been exceptional."
“I joined Capstone Financial Planning in 2003 as I was looking for a Group that could offer a high level of independence and freedom that came from not being institutionally owned."
Willow Wealth Management
“Compliance support and feedback is crucial to our business. The Capstone team are always there to assist us in improving and providing best advice and best practice standards. Their input is always positive and constructive."
Nicholson Financial Planning
“I would happily recommend Capstone as a licensee to other advisers. The Capstone staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and professional, and they are genuinely committed to meeting their advisers' needs. I feel very secure in the knowledge that I have Capstone backing my business.”
Acquire Strategic Advisers
“Capstone’s support has been exceptional and consistent from the time our business made the transition. Capstone is continually trying to enhance their service offerings to their advisers, at both the higher level, and more specific lower levels within our business. They are an exceptional licensee and lead from the front.”
“I can highly recommend Capstone for planners seeking an independent licensee that’s not in your face but provide quality support services. Their service and support is second to none and has allowed us to concentrate on providing our clients with a premium level of service.”
“Having been with Capstone for a number of years, one thing that really stands out is their willingness to help and can do attitude. These are qualities we really appreciate.”