Suspending my cover

COVID-19: Temporary changes to financial hardship suspension rules

Defence Health has introduced the COVID-19 Member Support Program to assist our members during the pandemic.  To support members experiencing financial hardship, temporary changes to our suspension rules have been put in place.  These include:

  • Allowing eligible members who joined Defence Health less than 12 months ago but on or before 1 March 2020 to suspend their policy for a minimum 3 months and up to 6 months.
  • Extending the option of financial hardship suspension to Extras-only and Young Adult Support Plan policy holders.
  • Allowing those who’ve returned from suspension within last 12 months to suspend their policy again for a further 3 to 6 months during the pandemic.
  • Members who have suspended their policy 3 times can now access a 4th.

For more information visit our COVID-19 Member Support Program webpage or call us on 1800 335 425.

With our agreement you may suspend your cover if you:

  • Are posted or travelling overseas
  • Are a Reservist on continuous full-time service,
  • Face financial hardship.

However, it is important that you notify us of your situation as soon as possible and that your premium payments are up-to-date.

To avoid additional waiting periods, your membership should be reactivated within one month of the agreed suspension period. Please note that benefits are not payable for treatment received during the period of suspension. A membership may be suspended only where a minimum period of 6 months has elapsed since the reactivation from a previous suspension for the same reason. 

Tax warning

The Medicare Levy Surcharge is payable by high income earners during any period of suspended hospital cover. Please go to our website for more information about the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

Overseas posting

You may wish to suspend your cover if you are an ADF member on an accompanied posting (as your dependants will be covered by the ADF). Your cover may be suspended for a minimum of 28 days and a maximum of 24 months. You can apply for an extension to suspend your cover for longer periods. Please contact us prior to your departure and within one month of returning to Australia. Proof of entry date (such as a boarding pass) will be required.

ADF Reservists

If you’re on continuous full-time service (CFTS) for more than 28 days, you may suspend your cover or change your premiums to the equivalent ADF rate for the full duration of the service. To avoid serving new waiting periods, your previous premium must start within one month following cessation of your continuous full-time service.

International travel

Your health insurance does not cover you for medical expenses incurred overseas. To cover yourself when travelling for leisure, you should take out travel insurance for your entire period of travel. If you intend to travel or work overseas for an extended period, then you can arrange to suspend your cover for a minimum of 28 days and a maximum of two years.
Please contact us prior to your departure and within one month of return to Australia. Proof of entry date (such as a boarding pass) will be required.

Financial hardship

If you are experiencing financial hardship we may agree to suspend your cover for a period of between three and up to a maximum of 12 months.  Each member is permitted three financial hardship suspensions in their lifetime. If you have combined hospital and extras cover, both components must be suspended together. To be eligible for this suspension, you must have had hospital cover with Defence Health for 12 months immediately before you apply to suspend your cover. Application to reinstate cover must be received before the suspension period has expired.