COVID-19

COVID-19: Will you keep your private Health Insurance?

Published on May 5, 2020 2:36 pm, by

Key Points

  • Even before COVID-19, many people were questioning the value and affordability of private health insurance
  • If you’ve lost your job or your income has reduced significantly health insurance may seem like a luxury you can no longer afford
  • Many health insurers have responded by expanding cover to include COVID-19 conditions for anyone with hospital cover and telehealth services and to provide new financial hardship options
  • Don’t be overly concerned by the threat of COVID-19 – you won’t need health insurance to get good quality treatment for that
  • Now might be the time to downgrade to cheaper cover, get rid of extras cover or suspend your policy
  • Make sure you don’t get lumped with the Medicare Levy Surcharge if you’re single and earn more than $90,000 or a couple and earn more than $180,000 and don’t have hospital cover (keep in mind your don’t need Extras Cover to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge)

Affordability of health insurance

Australians were dropping out of private health insurance even before the economic problems caused by COVID-19. Anyone that has lost their job or had a significant drop in income is likely to find health insurance is an unaffordable luxury. In addition, with elective surgery on hold and fitness centres closed it’s even harder to get value for Extras premiums.

Many health Insurers have responded to the circumstances by pausing premium increases for 6 months, expanding hospital cover to include COVID-19 conditions, adding cover for telehealth services, and providing options to suspend policies.

Don’t be scared into thinking you need to keep your health insurance to be treated for COVID-19. The main COVID-19 response is being led by the public health system and you’ll get good quality treatment regardless of whether you have health insurance or not.

If you need to save money and you are thinking of making changes to your health insurance consider these options:

  1. Consider suspending your policy – if you do this you can make a decision about your health insurance when things return to a more normal state
  2. Consider getting rid of Extras Cover – this is usually pretty expensive and you may not get much benefit from it anyway. Extras Cover doesn’t influence whether you are charged the Medicare Levy Surcharge – that is based entirely on whether you have Hospital Cover so you may be able to drop Extras Cover, save some money and avoid being lumped with the Medicare Levy Surcharge
  3. Consider downgrading your cover to a more basic policy – you’ll save money and keep some of the benefits of your health insurance
  4. If you are certain you don’t need it, or you can’t afford it and you don’t have the option to suspend it, cancelling it may be the only option you have. We suggest you discuss options with your insurer first to see if they can provide additional hardship options

 

Assistance by Health Insurer

Insurer Assistance optionsContact details
Australian UnityMore details
  • Premium increases postponed for 6 months
  • Expanded cover for COVID-19 lung, chest, heart, vascular, kidney and bladder conditions
  • Cover for video and telephone consultations for some Extras services
  • Access to mental health support for members
  • Financial hardship and premium relief options
1800 243 954
AHMMore details
  • Postponed premium increases for 6 months
  • Expanded cover for COVD-19 chest, lung , heart and kidney conditions
  • Cover for telephone and video consultations for some Extras between 30 March and 30 September 2020
1300 561 852
BUPAMore details
  • Premium increases postponed for 6 months
  • Expanded cover for COVD-19 hospital treatment for lung and chest conditions
134135
CBHSMore details
  • Premium increases postponed for 6 months
  • Expanded cover for COVID-19 conditions
  • Cover for telephone and video based consultations
  • Up to 6 months free cover for members suffering financial hardship
    option to suspend policy for 3 - 24 months
1300 654 123 or
financialassistance@
cbhs.com.au
Defence HealthMore details
  • Premium increases postponed until further notice
  • Expanded hospital cover for COVID-19
  • Cover for telephone and video consultations
  • Option to suspend policy for 3 - 6 months
1800 335 425
GMHBAMore details
  • Premium increases postponed for at least 6 months
  • Expanded hospital cover for COVID-19 conditions
  • Cover for telephone and video consultations for some Extras services
  • Option to suspend policy for up to 12 months
  • Option to suspend Extras Cover on policies
  • Additional financial hardship options
1300 209 426
Gu HealthMore details
  • Premium increases postponed for at least 6 months
  • Expanded hospital cover for COVID-19
  • Option to suspend policy for 6 months but retain cover for COVID-19 conditions
  • Temporary cover for telephone and video consultations
1800 249 966
HBFMore details
  • 2020 premium increase cancelled
  • Additional premium and financial hardship options
  • Expanded hospital cover for COVID-19 conditions until June 30 (but may be extended)
  • Temporary cover for telephone and video consultations
133 423
HCFMore details
  • No premium increases for 6 months
  • Premiums paid for 6 months members unemployed or stood down
  • Premium waivers
  • Policy suspensions
  • Expanded hospital cover for COVID-19 conditions until 30 September
13 13 34
MedibankMore details
  • Premium increases postponed for 6 months
  • Expanded hospital cover for COVID-19 conditions
  • Option to suspend policy
  • Cover for telehealth services until 30 September 2020
1300 991 379
Navy HealthMore details
  • Premium increases postponed for 6 months
  • Changes to policy suspension rules to reduce minimum period to 1 month
  • Expanded hospital cover for COVID-19 conditions
  • Option to suspend hospital cover for 6 months
  • Limits for psychology services increased
1300 306 289
NIBMore details
  • Premium increases postponed for at least 6 months
  • Expanded hospital cover for COVID-19 conditions
  • Option to suspend policy for up to 6 months
13 16 42
PeoplecareMore details
  • Premium increases postponed for 6 months
  • Expanded hospital cover for COVID-19 conditions
  • Cover for telehealth services
  • General financial hardship provisions
    1800 808 690
    Police healthMore details
    • 4% discount on all premiums for 3 months
    • Cover for telehealth sevices
    • Policy suspension option
    1800 603 603

     

     

    Share now

    Peter is the CEO of MoneyBrilliant. He has over 20 years experience in banking, insurance and accounting. Peter has three sons, ranging in age from 16 to 3, is a sport and fitness fanatic and a volunteer firefighter. He is passionate about improving people's lives through making financial services more accessible.

    Still searching?