Most funds will let you waive, defer or suspend your health insurance membership if you are away from Australia. Different funds require you to be overseas for specified periods before they allow suspension eg. a minimum of 3 months. Health funds may also require you to be a member for a specified time before you are able to suspend your cover or require you to have a specified period of cover between suspensions.
Suspension may also be permitted under other conditions, such as periods of unemployment. You should ask your fund what conditions apply to the suspension of your health insurance membership. You will not be paid benefits for services used while your membership is suspended. Similarly, the time for which your membership is suspended cannot count towards any waiting or qualifying periods.
Suspending your membership with the agreement of your health fund will not affect yourentitlements. When you start paying your health insurance contributions again, your benefit entitlements will usually continue on a similar basis as before your membership was suspended. Ask your fund for their policy on membership suspension.
If you decide to cancel your health insurance membership, your health fund should refund any contributions you have paid in advance of the cancellation date. The fund may deduct a small administration charge.