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What is your HI doing for you during the pandemic?

1 June 2020 - 12:25pm

We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken our modern world to its core; from creating the new normal of work-from-home policies to avoiding any public place besides the grocery store, today's living conditions are ones we never thought we'd be forced to see in our lifetime.

Even the state of the public health system has changed drastically over the past few months due to the coronavirus. Many clinical desires like elective or essential non-emergency surgeries and treatments just resumed after lifting a mandate that upheld such care, according to Private Healthcare Australia.

During such times, it's important to understand how your private health insurance can help you get through the current situation. You shouldn't just be expected to take these new changes and evolve with them flawlessly. Rather, you should be aware of the variety of resources that can be valuable to you during these unusual, painstaking times.

Are you experiencing major changes in cover?

According to Private Healthcare Australia, there are many ways in which private health insurance providers will remain a valuable resource for individuals. Members will still have the flexibility to choose a provider or specialist for instances involving pregnancies, cancer, cardiac and in-patient mental health services. Eligible private health insurance members will also have access to psychology telehealth services, which can be very useful for some during these unprecedented times.

Other changes vary from one insurance provider to the next, but it's important to understand that many of the private health insurance partners with HICA are working hard to ensure you receive the right amount of support during the pandemic.

Understanding your cover and how it may have changed during these times is critical.Understanding your cover and how it may have changed during these times is critical.

What types of support are you getting from your health insurance?

On an annual basis, most private health insurance funders review their covers to find new ways to provide support for those under the policy, both from the level of an individual and a sponsoring employer. In 2020, private health insurance providers were forced to take a step back, review their policies and make changes based on the current climate of the global pandemic.

Many providers had the same goal in mind when finalising adjustments: ensuring that all individuals continue to have cover that comes with valuable benefits, services and inclusions to get through this period in which support is needed most. Here are a few examples of how private insurance providers have made adjustments to counteract the massive impact of COVID-19:

Postponing premium increases
One of the major benefits private insurance providers have initiated is the postponing of premium increases. nib Health Insurance is an example of this, announcing in March that it would delay premium increases for Australian residents health insurance members for six months going into effect 1 April 2020.

Telehealth access
Private insurance members have immediate access to phone and video conferencing telehealth services. Some of the available services include physiotherapy, dietetics and psychology. This option is helpful for those who do not have the opportunity to visit providers in person, or those who are not yet comfortable doing so.

COVID-19 assessment and treatment cover
No matter what type of cover individuals have - whether a basic or bronze plan - all members will be temporarily covered for any coronavirus treatment needed. Hospital policies will provide private insurance members with lung and chest-related treatment, specifically for respiratory symptoms that may be a sign of COVID-19.

Support during financial hardships
Members can have the opportunity to suspend policies for up to six months, put in place to support those who may have lost their jobs or are in financial stress during the pandemic.

Emergency dental and eye treatment
Certain insurers are making dental and eye treatment options available to their private insurance members. For example, those experiencing oral or optical pain or distress have cover to receive emergency assistance in certain areas of the country.

Additional resources
From articles on COVID-19 to other health information regarding mental health and lifestyle adjustment advice individuals may want to access during these times, many insurers created their own large database of resources for members to refer to for assistance. Information includes, but is not limited to:

  • COVID-19 updates on a regular basis.
  • Mental wellness resources: Insurers are offering members and employers access to a variety of mental wellbeing resources, from workplace wellness articles to practical lessons in protecting mental health during the pandemic.
  • Work conditions guides: Whether you're working from home or experiencing distress because you can't, some insurers have created different guidelines for both parties who need assistance adjustments to the new normal. Insurers are also providing tips for staying productive during these troubled times.
  • Fitness tips and advice: Working out from home is something that takes a lot of adjusting. Members can access resources that help them stay fit and active while the fitness centers remain closed.

How HICA can help

Don't let the stress of finding information regarding your cover keep you from gaining the insight you need to feel comfortable and confident in your provider during the pandemic. HICA is best placed to provide you with the valuable information you need to get through these tough times and can help you choose the best health insurance plan that's suited to meet your wants and needs.

For more information on how we can help, contact HICA today.