HOW TO KEEP YOUR HEALTH COVER IF YOU'RE STRUGGLING FINANCIALLY
Your health is our number one priority, so we’ve made important changes to make sure you’re covered for COVID-19 and to give you financial support if you need it during these uncertain times.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of disruption, with many Aussies finding themselves unexpectedly out of work. Losing your job can be an incredibly stressful experience and you might be wondering how you’re going to make ends meet.
As Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund, we've been going above and beyond to put our members’ health first for over 90 years. Now more than ever, we’re committed to showing you the Uncommon Care we’re known for.
Because we want you to have the peace of mind that having private health cover brings, we have support options in place if you’re struggling financially and we have built a dedicated COVID-19 Hardship Team to talk through your options on 13 13 34.
What we’re doing to help
Like everyone across Australia now, our business is bound by federal government announcements and the last few weeks have been incredibly fast-moving.
But we assure you, we’re up to the challenge and have made some changes in light of COVID-19 to give you care when it counts.
In these uncertain times, you can be confident we're covering COVID-19 related hospital claims for members with hospital cover. For a small number of policies that wouldn’t normally cover all COVID-19 related hospital claims, we’ve extended your policy to make sure you’re covered. This cover extension applies until 30 September 2020 and it’s at no extra cost. Overseas Visitors Health Cover members should check their product information to see if they’re covered.
We put people before profit. That’s why we’ve postponed our scheduled premium increase for six months, from 1 April until at least 1 October, and are working on new ways to show you value during this time.
Weighing up your options
If you’re struggling to pay your premiums, the good news is you may not need to cancel your cover. We have a range of plans in place to help you through these times:
Involuntary Unemployment Assistance
Most of our members can access Involuntary Unemployment Assistance as part of their existing hospital cover. If you were a member with us before 31 March 2020 and have hospital only or hospital and extras cover (excluding Overseas Visitor Health Cover and Ambulance Only cover) and have become unemployed or stood down through no fault of your own, we’ll pay your premiums for up to six months and you’ll still be covered during that time. If you joined us on or after 1 April 2020, a 12 month waiting period applies.
During the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve made this easier for you to access – you can apply for assistance as soon as you lose your job or have been stood down. And if you’re a casual or part-time worker, or had your hours reduced, you may still be able to get help. It’s easy to apply, just call 13 13 34, send us an email here or go through the HCF My Membership app.
If you haven’t lost your job but still need support, talk to us about waiving your premiums for the time being. A premium waiver means you won’t have to pay your premiums for a little while, but you’ll still be covered and have access to emergency ambulance transport if you need it.
Suspending your cover
You might also have the option to suspend your cover, but we wouldn’t recommend it because it may have some implications at tax time. Depending on what you earn, if you choose a suspension, you may have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge for the period in the tax year that you didn’t have health insurance.
Before making this decision, talk with your accountant, the Australian Tax Office or read more here. If you choose to suspend your cover, you won’t need to re-serve waiting periods when you resume your HCF cover.
To understand more about which option is right at the moment, please get in touch.
Benefits of keeping your cover
Essential, non-emergency surgeries are resuming. With two in three elective surgeries done in the private system, that’s great news for members scheduled for cancer-related surgeries and screening programs, joint surgeries, endoscopy, paediatric surgery, IVF or dental surgery.
If you cancel your policy, you might need to re-serve waiting periods (up to 12 months) if you decide to rejoin any fund in the future.
Getting in touch
Our priority is our members who are struggling financially – especially those who find themselves, recently and suddenly, unemployed. We’ve got your back in good times and bad, so please don’t hesitate to make contact and we can talk through your options.
Here’s how to get in touch with us:
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