COVID-19 VACCINATIONS PROTECTING YOURSELF AND OTHERS
ELECTIVE SURGERY UPDATE
Looking after your health and wellbeing
- Faster access to mental health support: We recognise the importance of mental health, especially in times like these. That’s why we're leading the way with our mental health and wellbeing programs, designed to give you faster, easier and more flexible access to the support and treatment that’s right for you. Learn more.
- Telehealth extras during COVID-19: Stay on top of your health and get value from your cover with our range of telehealth services. Claim on extras like physio, dietetics, birthing classes, occupational therapy and podiatry from HCF recognised providers until 31 December 2021, depending on your level of cover. Learn more.
- Treatment at home & nurse helpline: Our range of in-home hospital support gives you access to quality care from the convenience and safety of your home. Eligible members can access a wide range of treatment options from HCF contracted providers including chemotherapy, rehab following hip or knee surgery, intravenous antibiotics and complex wound care#. Members can also speak with experienced nurses over the phone for expert health advice and resources on any health concerns. Learn more or call our nurse helpline on 13 13 34.
- Helping you stay healthy and active: Juggling the demands of health and life during a pandemic can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’re giving you online access to hundreds of articles to help you stay on top of and make confident decisions about your health. From trusted information on health issues and treatments to tips and actionable advice on nutrition, mental health and fitness, we want to make it easier for you to find the guidance and answers you’re looking for. Read more.
HELP IF YOU’RE FINANCIALLY IMPACTED
Losing your job can be an incredibly stressful experience and you may be wondering how you’re going to make ends meet. We’re here for you, and we’ll do what we can to help you with your health cover.
Our Involuntary Unemployment Assistance allows eligible members who’ve had hospital cover for at least 12 months to remain covered by paying their premiums for up to 6 months. We'll also help you review what’s right for your needs, including other options that are available if you've been with us for less than 12 months or don’t meet the criteria for Involuntary Unemployment Assistance.
Involuntary Unemployment Assistance is included in most of our health covers (excluding Extras Only, Ambulance Only and Overseas Visitors Health Cover). We’ve made this easier for you to access during COVID-19, and we've now temporarily extended those changes until 31 December 2021.
COVID-19 MEMBER SUPPORT
Throughout the pandemic we continued to show our members a level of care that’s uncommon. We delivered:
- $83 million* in financial relief support (including a 6 month deferral of last year's premium increase)
- financial support to more than 71,000* members experiencing severe hardship.
We also gave members greater flexibility in how and where their care was delivered, many from the convenience and safety of their homes. This included mental health support, telehealth services and hospital treatments at home.
COVID-19 AND THE VACCINE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
For the latest information on the vaccine roll-out and COVID-19 impacts on your health cover, we’ve pulled together the most asked questions by our members with the help of the Australian Government Department of Health.
Why is it important to get vaccinated?
Vaccines strengthen your immune system by training it to remember and fight specific germs, so if you do catch the disease or virus, your illness is likely to be less severe. Getting vaccinated means, you’re not only helping to protect yourself, but also your loved ones and the community.
How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are effective?
The COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Australia’s immunisation experts, Therapeutic Goods Administration. All available vaccines have been thoroughly tested for safety in clinical trials, including careful analysis of clinical trial data, ingredients, chemistry, manufacturing and other factors.
Are COVID-19 vaccines effective against the new Delta strain?
Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are being reported as effective against the new Delta variant. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that after 2 doses:
- Pfizer vaccine is 85.3 to 90.1% effective against the Delta strain
- AstraZeneca vaccine is 61.3 to 71.8% effective against the Delta strain.
- Moderna vaccine is 94% effective against the Delta strain.
If you get infected after being vaccinated, the disease and its symptoms are more likely to be mild rather than severe (and you are less likely to end up in hospital) and likelihood of transmission to family and community will be reduced.
Which COVID-19 vaccines are recommended in Australia?
There are currently 3 COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia that have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. These are:
The vaccine you receive will depend on:
- when and where you will be vaccinated and
- the clinical guidelines that determine who each vaccine is safe for.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine free?
The COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia, including non-Australian citizen or permanent resident, overseas visitors, international students, migrant workers and asylum seekers. GPs are not allowed to charge you to administer the vaccine.
Am I eligible to get vaccinated?
The Australian Government wants everyone in Australia to have access to a safe COVID-19 vaccine, if they choose to be vaccinated. The government operated Government Vaccine Eligibility Checker allows you to check your vaccine eligibility.
Where can I get vaccinated?
The government operated COVID-19 vaccine Government Vaccine Eligibility Checker lets you check when and where you can receive a vaccine.
I’m pregnant, can I still get vaccinated?
If you’re you’re eligible for the COVID-19 Pfizer or Moderna vaccination at any stage of pregnancy. If you’re trying to get pregnant or are breastfeeding, you can also receive the vaccine. Always talk to your doctor if you have concerns or questions about receiving the vaccine whilst pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant.
Can children receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
The COVID-19 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been provisionally approved by the TGA for all children aged 12 to 15. The Moderna vaccine is currently not available but appointments are expected to become available from 20 September.
You can book your child’s appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine through GPs, vaccination clinics and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations. Each state and territory have different eligibility requirements, so it’s advised you check your child’s eligibility and make a booking with the Government Vaccine Eligibility Checker.
Will my child experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?
Just like adults, it’s possible your child might notice pain at the injection site on their upper arm and feel more tired than usual following their vaccination. They may also experience headaches, achy muscles or joints, and even fever and chills. It’s important to know that these side effects are usually temporary and generally clear up within 48 hours. Make sure you check in with your doctor or go directly to the hospital, if:
- your child has a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected
- you are concerned about your child’s condition after vaccination.
What are the likely side effects from COVID-19 vaccines?
All medicines, including vaccines, have risks and benefits. Usually, any side effects are mild and may only last a few days. Some of the normal temporary side effects for COVID-19 vaccines include pain at the injection site, fever or muscle aches. Some people will experience flu-like symptoms from the COVID-19 vaccine. Make sure you check in with your doctor or go directly to the hospital, if:
- you have a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected
- you are concerned about your condition after vaccination.
Will I be covered for hospital treatment for any adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?
As the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia worsens, we’d like to reassure you that our HCF hospital covers^ will provide you with peace of mind that you’re covered should you need to be hospitalised due to COVID-19 and that you’re also covered in the highly unlikely event you have an adverse reaction or side-effect from the vaccine that requires hospitalisation. If you have any questions regarding your cover, contact us at www.hcf.com.au/contact-us.
Are HCF Branches, Dental and Eyecare Centres still open?
Like so many businesses, we’re bound by the latest government advice around COVID-19 restrictions and are continuously making sure we’re putting our employees and members’ health and safety first. Go to our Service Updates page for more information.
Can my elective surgery still go ahead?
Whilst non-urgent elective surgeries are temporarily postponed in some states, emergency surgery and urgent elective surgery will continue. Please contact your treating specialist to seek advice and to check if your surgery can go ahead.
What happens if I can't pay premiums or if I've lost my job?
We have financial relief options in place for members who need some help during these uncertain times. If you’re seeking guidance on the options available, call us on 13 13 34. Our customer care team are here to help Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday, 9am-5pm (AEST/AEDT).
Where can I find the latest information regarding COVID-19?
For the latest information:
Ways to connect with us
CALL US TODAY
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FAQs last updated in 14 September 2021.
*Figures current for the period March 2020 to June 2021.
+If you’re self-employed and your business continues to operate but your income is impacted by COVID-19, call us on 13 13 34 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about your options. If your business no longer operates due to COVID-19, HCF requires confirmation from the Australian Financial Services Authority or a letter from your accountant or solicitor on company letterhead.
#Available with HCF contracted providers, subject to member location and hospital cover. Waiting periods apply. You must have a suitable home environment to be treated in.
^Some claims from Overseas Visitors Health Cover members are excluded. Overseas Visitors Health Cover members should check their product information to see if they’re covered, click here for more information.