Which health funds are offering financial relief during COVID-19?

In response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, a number of Australian health funds are offering extended coverage and financial relief packages to members who are experiencing financial difficulty.

If you have private health insurance with hospital cover, many insurers are now offering full hospital coverage if you’re affected by coronavirus – regardless of whether you are on a Basic tier or a Gold tier hospital policy.

Most health insurers have also delayed their annual premium increases, normally scheduled to occur on 1 April, for at least six months. This means most people’s premiums will not increase until around 1 October this year.

Additionally, many health insurers are allowing customers who are facing financial hardship to suspend their health cover for a certain period of time. However, it’s important to remember that you generally will not receive any cover for any expenses that you incur while your policy is suspended, unless otherwise stated. For example, some insurers are letting members with suspended hospital policies access cover if needed for COVID-19 related treatment.

Here’s a roundup of some of the health insurers on Canstar’s database who are offering additional financial relief to affected customers. For more information, including the terms, conditions and eligibility requirements, please check with the insurer directly. If your insurer is not listed below, it could still be worth contacting them directly and seeing what options are available to you.

Provider Coronavirus financial relief
AAMI Existing members who are experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for premium relief, for an initial three-month period, which may be extended to six months.

Check with AAMI for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

Ahm  Eligible members can “suspend their policy or access some relief on their premium payments”.

Check with Ahm for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

CBHS Eligible members experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19 can access up to six months of free cover on a hospital or combined hospital and extras product. After this time, members can suspend cover for 3-24 months.

Check with CBHS for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

HBF If you have been a member longer than one month and you are experiencing financial difficulties, HBF can provide you with some premium relief options. HBF has also announced that it will be cancelling its annual premium increase for 2020, rather than simply postponing it. Contact HBF to discuss what is available.

Check with HBF for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

HCF If you have hospital or hospital and extras cover and have become unemployed or stood down through no fault of your own, HCF will pay your premiums for up to six months. Other options like premium waivers may also be available.

Check with HCF for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

Health Partners Members will receive an automatic 30% premium reduction on extras cover and a 10% premium reduction on hospital cover, for an initial three months from 1 May 2020.

Check with Health Partners for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

Latrobe Health Services Latrobe Health Services has waived excesses and waiting periods for coronavirus-related hospital admissions. All coronavirus-related hospital admissions for chest, heart, lung and kidney will be included in members’ hospital covers until October 2020.

Check with Latrobe Health Services for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

Medibank Eligible members can “suspend their policy or access some relief on their premium payments”.

Check with Medibank for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

Nib Existing members who are experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for premium relief, for an initial three-month period, which may be extended to six months.

Check with Nib for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

Suncorp Existing members who are experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for premium relief, for an initial three month period, which may be extended to six months.

Check with Suncorp for eligibility requirements and other T&Cs.

Source: Providers’ websites as at 28 April 2020.

If you’re considering cancelling your health insurance cover, it’s important to understand that you will not be covered for urgent treatments and surgeries in a private hospital. You would instead need to go through the public Medicare system or pay for the full cost at a private hospital. There’s also potential financial implications such as the Lifetime Health Cover loading and the Medicare Levy Surcharge that may apply if you no longer have the necessary cover in place.

If you’re looking for ways to cut down on your household expenses, you may want to consider comparing your health insurance options to see if you can find a better deal that suits your needs.

If you’re comparing health insurance policies, the table below displays a snapshot of a hospital and extras policies currently available on Canstar’s database for a single female born in 1985 seeking cover in NSW without pregnancy cover. Please note the table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by monthly premium (lowest to highest) and features links direct to the provider’s website. Use Canstar’s health insurance comparison selector to view a wide range of policies.

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As with all our content, Canstar’s Coronavirus coverage will always be free for our readers.

Image source: LightField Studios (Shutterstock)

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