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Covid-19 Coronavirus Update
From Health Partners

7 April 2020

The most up-to-date information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and your cover will be available on this page. We’ll be updating this page frequently to provide you with our latest information.

Health Partners are closely monitoring the latest information and advice from health authorities regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and are adopting all recommended measures to slow the spread of the virus.

This means we are likely to continue to change how we operate to ensure we can continue to provide support to our members.

For information about your cover (like checking your cover or making a claim), login to Members Online Centre, Health Partners My Health App or call 1300 113 113.

Supporting you with premium reductions

Health Partners are reducing premiums for all members from 1 May 2020, for an initial period of three months.

  • Extras premiums will be reduced by 30%
  • Hospital premiums will be reduced by 10%

These pro-active measures are in addition to the postponement of the 2020 premium increase for six months, announced last week.

 

What do you need to do?

Absolutely nothing – these reductions will apply automatically to your cover. If you have pre-paid your premiums beyond 1 May 2020, you will simply be paid up for more days of cover, to the value of your reduced premium.

 

Here for you

We understand the uncertainty and challenges everyone is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are here to support you.

As well as easing the financial pressure, we are also acutely focused on providing you with continued access to high-quality health services, wherever possible.

Just a reminder of the following support measures we already have in place:

  • All COVID-19 related claims will be covered on all Health Partners Hospital cover irrespective of the terms of that policy, at no extra cost.
  • Telehealth services from psychologists and physiotherapists are now covered and we are working to add other allied health professionals to this list, subject to Government approval.
  • You have access to emergency dental services at our 101 Pirie Street, Modbury, and Morphett Vale Centres and emergency optical services through our 101 Pirie Street site.

Frequently asked questions

We will be applying a 30% premium reduction on the base rate of Extras and a 10% premium reduction on the base rate of Hospital for an initial period of three months.

We are providing certainty that this reduction will apply for at least three months. Our management team will continue to review the situation and if we extend this offer we will let you know.

Absolutely nothing. This will be applied on your premium automatically from 1 May 2020 and be reflected in your account.

The Government recently announced that it will not be reducing the rebate you receive this year (normally annually indexed to allow for CPI). If you are eligible for a Government rebate, this will apply on top of your policy’s reduced rate.

Yes. Any direct debit discount will apply on top of the reduced premium rate.

We are making this reduced rate available to all our members, including those who have pre-paid in advance. If you have prepaid your premiums, we will credit your membership with additional days to the value of your reduced premium. This means you will be paid up further in advance.

For example, if you have prepaid up until 31 December 2020, your cover will be extended by the number of days the value of the reduced premium would have covered.

It will depend on how far in advance your payments are (eg weekly, fortnightly monthly).  For the remainder of April you will be billed at the current rates, with any days between 1 May and July 31  will be billed the reduced rates.

No. These reduced rates are a temporary offer during the COVID-19 period and cannot be locked in further than the specified period.

However, you can still lock in last year’s rates up until 30 September this year and avoid the October 2020 rate rise.  This rate increase was initially scheduled for April 1 however we recently announced that we are postponing this until October 1.  You can pre-pay anytime up until 30 September to lock in last year’s rates.

Yes. Just let our staff know and they will arrange for a refund to be credited to your bank account.

2020 premium increase postponed

 

Affordable health cover matters now more than ever. That’s why Health Partners has postponed the April 1 premium increase for at least six months. We will continue to keep you updated about premium changes in the future.

We are also working to introduce other measures to support you during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Telehealth services covered

Health Partners will cover telehealth services from psychologists and physiotherapists from Monday March 30. We are also working to cover telehealth services from other allied health professionals, where practical and clinically appropriate, as soon as arrangements can be finalised.

 

COVID-19 related claims covered

All COVID-19 related claims will be covered on all Health Partners Hospital cover irrespective of the terms of that policy, at no extra cost. This includes lung and chest, kidney and bladder, as well as dialysis for chronic kidney failure, where linked to COVID-19.

 

Emergency dental & optical available

Health Partners will continue to provide access to emergency dental services at our Modbury, 101 Pirie Street and Morphett Vale Centres and emergency optical services through our 101 Pirie Street site.

 

More to come

We are also considering arrangements to allow more hospital in the home services and more remote access services for our members at particular risk, subject to government approval.

Health Partners Dental: Emergency Only

 

The announcement of dental service restrictions endorsed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee on 25th March, have been recognised by the Dental Board of Australia, and followed by a directive from the South Australian State Coordinator on April 3. As a result, Health Partners Dental has been forced to close its dental centres, now offering only limited emergency care.

 

These changes will apply from Monday March 30 for the foreseeable future.

 

We continue to be staffed by an experienced team of dentists who are committed to providing you with the highest level of service and care within the current limitations which exist on emergency dental treatments.

We are monitoring daily updated advice regarding protocols from relevant health authorities relating to COVID-19, including the Australian Dental Association (ADA), Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA), and the Communicable Disease Control Branch of SA Health, in order to further enhance our already strict infection control measures.

While there are many dental treatments we are unable to provide due to these restrictions, rest assured, if you have an emergency, which fits within these restrictions we will continue to be here for you. Emergency treatments are limited to the management of:

  • acute dental pain
  • trauma to upper front teeth
  • ulcers or gum infections
  • dental issues which could significantly compromise chronic disease e.g. non-painful abscess in a person with insulin dependent diabetes.

 

In the event that you require emergency dental care, we ask that you please telephone us first so we can undertake an assessment.

Remember, if you have any questions at all relating to dental care we are here to help.

 

Dental: 1300 114 114

Health Partners Optical: Emergency Only

 

Following the announcement of new restrictions by the Health Ministerial Advisory Council, Health Partners Optical has been forced to close its optical centres to all but emergency cases.

 

These changes will apply from Monday March 30 for the foreseeable future.

 

We continue to be staffed by our experienced team of optometrists who are committed to providing you with the highest level of service and care within the current constraints. Emergency care is available for the following:

  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Sudden onset of double or blurred vision
  • Sudden onset of Flashes or Floaters in your vision
  • Injury to the eye
  • Redness to the eye or pain in the eye
  • Continued Therapeutic management

 

We are also adhering to all protocols and advice from relevant health authorities relating to COVID-19, including the Optometry Australia Association (OAA), Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA), and the Communicable Diseases Branch of SA Health, in order to further enhance our already strict infection control measures.

In the event that you require emergency optical care, we ask that you please telephone us first so we can make an assessment with you.

If you have an existing appointment that is not considered an emergency, we will be calling you to discuss.

Remember, if you have any questions at all relating to optical care we are here to help.

 

Optical: 1300 115 115

Elective surgery

 

While the government has temporarily suspended all non-urgent elective surgery from 1 April elective surgeries deemed clinically urgent will continue and will be covered within the terms of your policy.

Those surgeries may include such categories as Cardiac, Cancer and Childbirth, however we recommend you speak with your specialist or doctor for more information.

Is Covid-19 covered?

 

Yes, rest assured that COVID-19 related claims will be covered on all Health Partners Hospital cover irrespective of the terms of that policy, at no extra cost.

This means, that if you are admitted as a patient to hospital you will be covered for all conditions linked to COVID-19.  For more information about what that could include please see FAQ below  or call our Member Care team on 1300 113 113.

We’re to help

 

We understand the uncertainty people are feeling in these unprecedented times.  Please don’t hesitate to contact our Member Care team who can discuss your options and work with you to deliver a solution.

While our Member Care face-to-face centres are closed, we are available by phone, email and webchat during our normal business hours of 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

 

Contact Member Care

Phone: 1300 113 113

Email: ask@healthpartners.com.au

Webchat: www.healthpartners.com.au

Face-to-face Centres: Closed

Staying healthy

 

The Department of Health recommends getting the flu shot when vaccines become available. Getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time can make you very ill.
Free flu shots are available for Health Partners members at over 50 Health Partners participating pharmacies.

Click here to find your local pharmacy

Frequently Asked Questions

Changes to services

Treatments that do not generate aerosols (sprays), or where treatments generating aerosols is limited to the management of:

  • acute dental pain
  • trauma to upper front teeth
  • ulcers or gum infections
  • dental issues which could compromise general health conditions

Following the announcement of new restrictions by the Health Ministerial Advisory Council Health Partners Dental must defer all routine recall examinations and dental treatments for patients not fitting the risk categories identified above. This includes:

  • Extractions of asymptomatic teeth without swelling
  • Broken or chipped tooth/teeth
  • Bleeding or sore gums, halitosis (bad breath)
  • Loose teeth without aspiration risk
  • Denture concerns
  • Crown and bridge
  • Scale and clean
  • Clicking/grating in jaw joint

 

Our team will contact you directly if you have an existing appointment.

  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Sudden onset of double or blurred vision
  • Flashes
  • Sudden onset of Floaters
  • Injury to the eye
  • Redness to the eye or pain to the eye

Following the announcement of new restrictions by the Health Ministerial Advisory Council Health Partners Optical must defer all routine recall examinations and optical treatments for patients not fitting the risk categories identified above.

 

Our team will contact you directly if you have an existing appointment.

Our team will be in touch with you shortly about any prescription glasses or contacts you have on order.

  • If they are ready to be collected, we will speak to you about home delivery.
  • If they are not ready, we will see where they are in the process and speak to you about your options.
  • For future contact lens orders, we may be able to arrange delivery of your contact lenses to your door. This will depend on our supplier’s ability to continue operating.

The ongoing care of our patients remains a priority and we will be in touch with you to determine the best approach to provide this ongoing managed care.

If you have broken, damaged or lost your glasses and do not have a spare pair on hand, please call us to see if we can assist. Our ability to help in these situations will depend on the manufacturing capabilities of our suppliers, however we will do everything we can to assist.

The government has made the decision to suspend non-urgent elective surgery in private hospitals from 1 April 2020 to preserve personal protective equipment and other resources to combat Covid-19 cases.

  • All elective surgical procedures are classified in terms of their clinical urgency and scheduled accordingly.
  • They are classified in to three categories: Categories 1, 2 & 3 with priority given to those with the greatest clinical need.
  • Treating specialists/surgeons determine the categorisation of procedures
  • Only Category 1 and “exceptional” category 2 procedures will continue.
  • Further announcements are expected

Our team is working through the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic on our Members – this is evolving daily. The recent announcement by the Prime Minister, that some elective surgery will be suspended, is being considered as part this. We will continue to keep Members updated on any changes we are making to support them during this time.

SA Heath defines elective surgery categories by clinical urgency. The categories are:

 

Category 1 – Urgent: very early admission for a condition that has the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point that it may become an emergency or is life threatening (Admission within 30 days desirable) *This may include procedures such as cancer (malignant) removal surgeries, cataracts involving glaucoma, neonatal (babies) surgery, aneurysm surgery, and amputations.

 

Category 2 – Semi-Urgent: admission within 90 days for a condition causing some pain, dysfunction or disability, which is not likely to deteriorate quickly or become an emergency (Admission within 90 days desirable). *This may include procedures such as revision of joint replacements, kidney or prostate removal, dialysis surgery and treatment of certain fractures.

 

Category 3 – Non-Urgent: admission at some time in the future for a condition causing minimal or no pain, dysfunction or disability, that is unlikely to deteriorate quickly and that does not have the potential to become an emergency (Admission within one year desirable). *All other elective surgical procedures that are deemed not urgent.

This does not include emergency admissions.

If you were planning elective surgery, you need to discuss this with your doctor/specialist/surgeon, they are the best people who can provide this advice.

If you are booked into have your surgery in the coming weeks, your hospital may also contact you regarding your surgery.

We recommend contacting the hospital where you will be having your surgery, and ask your medical practitioner, specialist or surgeon about any questions or concerns you have relating to COVID-19 and upcoming procedures, as each hospital is different with their information, advice and restrictions (e.g. for precautions, screening, risk assessments, visitors, etc.).

You can also contact the Australian National Coronavirus Health Line for advice on 1800 020 080 or: https://www.health.gov.au/news/Coronavirus-update-at-a-glance

My health cover

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, contact the Australian National Coronavirus Health Line for advice on 1800 020 080 or: https://www.health.gov.au/news/coronavirus-update-at-a-glance.

In an emergency, such as having difficulty breathing, call Australia’s primary Emergency Phone Number 000 (Triple Zero).

All Health Partners members with Hospital Cover will be covered for COVID-19 (coronavirus) related admissions in any private hospital under the conditions that you have held hospital cover for at least the last two months and your Health Partners hospital policy is not in arrears.

Australian residents can choose to be treated as a public patient in a public hospital which is covered by Medicare, no matter whether you have private health insurance.

Yes, your cover will be the same as if the procedure was done in the public hospital.

We are here to help all our members in these uncertain times.  Please contact our Member Care team on 1300 113 113 if you are experiencing financial hardship or wish to discuss your level of cover.

You can update your membership or suspend your cover, including for financial hardship. If you are experiencing financial difficulty we encourage you to call us on 1300 113 113 to discuss your options, including suspending your membership in full for up to 12 months while you are experiencing hardship (conditions apply).

Australian Private Health Insurers are unable to cover pathology tests such as the COVID-19 nasal swab tests as these are covered as an outpatient under Medicare.

If you are admitted to hospital as an inpatient and require further tests, and you have served your waiting periods, then your pathology tests will be covered.

We will pay a benefit for PBS listed prescriptions that do not attract a government subsidy. They must be dispensed at a pharmacy which is a Health Partners participating pharmacy. You will only need to contribute the dispensing price, but no more than the maximum amount as detailed on your individual cover – whichever is the lesser. We will pay benefits for selected prescription vaccinations recognised by Health Partners. But only when they are supplied by: a. an approved vaccination provider that meets our recognition criteria; and b. a medical practitioner. The same conditions and rules apply to those detailed for private prescriptions.

Please send us your proof of travel and reactivation request within one month of returning from overseas by email at ask@healthpartners.com.au or via post to: Health Partners Reply Paid 1493, Adelaide SA 5001.

Health Partners will continue to take measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by ensuring that:

  • We will continue to follow all Federal Department of Health guidelines in relation to illness, travel, personal hygiene and self-quarantine measures.
  • Anyone who has recently returned from overseas or interstate, or has had contact with a COVID-19 case and needs to self-isolate will have to defer non-urgent dental or optical appointments for a 2-week period on their return to Australia.
  • Anyone attending our dental or optical locations will need to apply hand sanitizer which will be conveniently located on the counter.
  • Additional infection control reinforcement and enhancement in the optometry and dental rooms.
  • Social distancing is being encouraged in all our centres.
  • Increased cleaning of key areas within our stores including all stations that involve member interaction as well as displayed product.
  • Closing of the Member Care Front Counters and advising members to encourage using other ways to contact us like online, telephone and email

Additional information

 

For the latest updates and information about Coronavirus, please visit the Federal Health Department website

 

Health Partners is, as always, here for you when you need us and will continue to provide updates as needed through our website and Facebook.