Here’s how you can still get value from your health fund during COVID-19

COVID-19 restrictions across Australia have meant many of us have been unable to fully realise the value of our health cover, both for private hospital cover and extras.

While thousands of Australians have decided to dump their health insurance, there are smarter alternatives, especially if you know you’ll need to use items at some point in the near future.

And if you think that you’re paying too much or have extras or hospital cover you don’t need, click on the button below to start seeing how much you can save on your health insurance.

The Coronavirus situation in Australia can change quickly – at the time of writing, it’s only Victoria that’s under severe lockdown. And while struggling to book routine health appointments doesn’t compare to losing your job or even loved ones because of the pandemic, it’s still frustrating to pay for items you can’t use.

No matter where you live, though, there are ways to make the most of your extras. Below, we’ll outline a few ways you can still get value from your policy.

Mental health

According to Your Life Choices magazine, calls to Beyond Blue’s mental health support line have risen by over 47 per cent in June. COVID-19 has affected us all in different ways, but it seems that plenty of us have been struggling mentally with the effects of the pandemic.

Fortunately, this is one of the easier services to access remotely. Many psychologists and counsellors offer telehealth appointments, while Bupa, for example, includes online cognitive behavioural therapy courses in some of its packages.

Optical appointments and equipment

If you’ve got a script for glasses or contact lenses, many opticians will let you order from the comfort of your sofa. Services range from purchasing online to telehealth dispensing – with a receipt you can use to claim back.

And while eye tests are covered by eligible Medicare recipients, it’s good to know that many opticians will offer a telehealth triaging service that can cut down on unnecessary trips out of the house.

General and major dental and orthodontics

Most dentists and orthodontists are still open for regular appointments, and have strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place. In Melbourne, dental care is limited to urgent care that cannot be managed by telehealth while stage 4 restrictions remain in place.

So if you need a routine check-up, a bridge or crown, or a braces fitting, you’ll may be able to use your health cover. The same goes for emergency dental surgery.

Some dental practitioners also offer telehealth and video appointments – it’s a service that’s already proved popular in rural and remote communities. It might seem a bit strange to be opening your mouth wide into the camera, but it could be a better alternative than leaving your house in lockdown.

Hearing Aids

Audiologists are open for business and specialists like Bloom and iHear will conduct initial assessments over the phone or telehealth. They also offer online tests, which can assess your level of need.

In some locations, there’s even options for socially distanced fittings, where the audiologist will drop off a tablet to your house and walk you through fitting your hearing aid remotely.

If you’re looking to find your nearest hearing clinic, you can book a free appointment through our sibling site Hearing Aid Finder.

Obstetrics

Many obstetricians, midwives and GPs offer telehealth consultations, so you’ll still be able to get some the care you need for your impending new arrival while still staying at home.

And while this doesn’t fall under obstetrics, it’s also worth noting that many fertility specialists are still offering telehealth consultations, while IVF treatments, such as egg retrieval, are still continuing even in most of Victoria, due to the time-sensitive nature of these procedures.

Making sure you’re getting the most out of your health cover during COVID-19

It can be tempting to think private health cover isn’t worth it during the pandemic restrictions, but there’s a good chance you’ll still be able to realise the value of your policy, and some insurers, such as ahm, have taken steps to support their customers by rolling over unused extras.

But even if you’re still able to use your fund to its fullest, that doesn’t mean you should be paying too much. The restrictions have probably given you a good idea of what items on your policy you never use, and with our experts at Health Insurance Comparison saving customers, on average, $380.79 on their policies**, there’s money to be saved.

Even if you’re considering cancelling your policy, it’s worth thinking again, as you may need to re-serve long waiting periods if you take private health cover out again. You may also get hit by the Medicare Levy Surcharge and Lifetime Health Cover loading, as well as experiencing long wait lists for elective surgery.

To get value for money from your private health insurance, start comparing today and see how much you could save.

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*Average savings based off 20,400 customers during 2019

References:
1 The Conversation, Telehealth in lockdown, 22 June 2020
2 Bupa, Mental health, 3 August 2020
3 Dental Health Services Victoria, COVID-19 update, 3 August 2020
4 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Telehealth and phone attendance consultations, 7 April 2020

This article is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

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