COVID-19 member update

We’ll be refreshing this page frequently to provide you with the most up-to-date information. This means we may add more frequently asked questions and update answers as the situation evolves.

To help you with questions you may have about your health cover, we’ve put together these frequently asked questions.

Below you’ll find:

  • Australian Resident Member FAQs and
  • Non-resident Member FAQs.

Like many Australian health funds, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic we postponed the annual rate increase that was meant to come into effect on 1 April 2020, until 1 October 2020.

We did this to help you maintain your cover during this difficult time. We also implemented additional measures through our COVID-19 support package to ensure you were able to access essential health services throughout the pandemic.

However, from 1 October 2020:

  • your postponed rate change will take effect;

  • an additional COVID-19 contribution relief initiative is available for members who are on JobSeeker and JobKeeper; and

  • our original COVID-19 financial support package initiatives will no longer be available from 1 October 2020. This includes the 60-day contribution waiver and the ability to suspend your cover for six months.

If you’re receiving the Australian Government’s JobSeeker or JobKeeper assistance, you can apply for our one-off contribution credit by emailing your relevant JobSeeker or JobKeeper documentation to hardship@guhealth.com.au along with your full name and membership number by 15 October 2020. (See more details below.)

GU Health members who aren’t on the Government’s JobSeeker or JobKeeper assistance but are experiencing ongoing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can email corporate@guhealth.com.au or contact us on 1800 249 966 from Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 5pm (AEST) to discuss your specific circumstances.

Ongoing support during the COVID-19 pandemic

We are also pleased to confirm that we will be extending the following support options as part of our COVID-19 member and community support package until 31 March 2021. This includes:

  • access to a range of telehealth services, including physiotherapy, psychology, dietetics and more, in line with your level of cover, so you can continue to keep on top of your health from the comfort and safety of their home.

  • expanded cover for COVID-19 related hospital treatment across all levels of cover at no additional cost where these treatments are excluded.

For more information on telehealth and how to organise a telehealth appointment with your health care professional, go to our Telehealth Fact Sheet. You can also view a telehealth Q&A video with Dr Mellissa Naidoo along with an animated video that covers more information about telehealth appointments.

Additional financial relief for members on JobSeeker or JobKeeper
In recognition of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re providing additional financial relief for members who are currently on JobSeeker or JobKeeper assistance.

For eligible members we are waiving the contribution increase from 1 October to 1 April 2021. If you request the credit by 15 October 2020, it will be applied from 1 November 2020.

For members who request the one-off credit, however currently have their policy on suspension, the credit will be applied on resumption of their policy.

Who’s eligible?

To apply for the extra financial relief, eligible members must:

  • be receiving, or have registered an intent to claim, Australian Government financial assistance through JobSeeker or JobKeeper and provide supporting documentation.

  • have been a member with us for at least three months before 15 October 2020.

  • apply for the relief by 15 October 2020.

Eligible members who have suspended their cover will be able to access the waiver once they resume their cover.

How to apply

If you are eligible and have already supplied proof that you are on JobSeeker or JobKeeper, you don’t need to do anything. If you request the credit by 15 October, the credit will be made after 1 November. If you’re currently on suspension, the credit will be applied on resumption of your policy.

If you haven’t supplied this documentation already, please email hardship@guhealth.com.au before 15 October 2020 with the following details and documentation:

  • your membership number

  • your full name

  • a copy or screenshot of the correspondence provided by Services Australia (previously known as Centrelink) confirming you have submitted your intent to claim JobSeeker or JobKeeper; or

  • the approval letter showing you will be receiving JobSeeker or JobKeeper; or

  • the bank statement showing you are receiving JobSeeker or JobKeeper; or

  • a letter from your employer showing you are eligible and are receiving JobKeeper payments. 

For more information about your cover, you can login to Online Member Services or the GU Health App. If you prefer to speak to someone, please call 1800 249 966.

You can also call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

You may find these trusted resources useful during this time. Click on these links:


AUSTRALIAN RESIDENT MEMBER FAQs

Why are my contributions increasing now?

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic GU Health postponed, for six months, the health insurance rate rise for our members, which were meant to have come into effect from 1 April 2020.

With the six-month deferral coming to an end, our annual rate changes will apply to members from 1 October 2020.

If your plan renews outside of the 1 April period, we have extended the rate deferral to reflect the six-month postponement from your renewal date. This means the new rate will come into effect six months from your usual renewal date and we will communicate to you in a timely manner to notify you of the change.

How much will the increase be?

The increase will vary depending on your cover option. This is because the cost of each health plan varies based on a variety of factors, including the level of benefits we pay, the amount of claims we have paid in the past and projected in the future as well.

You will be notified by mail in early September of the contribution increase that applies to you. If your membership renews during a month that is not March or April, you’ll receive a letter when your renewal is due.

Why are contributions increasing during a global pandemic?

We have carefully considered the decision to proceed with this year’s rate changes and we appreciate that this may be difficult for some, particularly in the current climate. The main reason for the increase is because the costs of healthcare continue to rise. Our responsibility is to ensure we can continue to pay claims on behalf of all our members when they require treatment or hospitalisation.

Our response and support for our members and communities has been comprehensive and, we think, appropriate given the impact of COVID-19. However, with healthcare treatment now returning in most states, rate changes are required to ensure our members can continue to use their health cover now and in the future.

Members who are experiencing financial hardship are encouraged to contact us to discuss their specific circumstances.

Why is the increase different to what was communicated earlier this year?

If you are eligible for the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance, you may see a change in your contribution increases compared to what we had originally communicated to you earlier this year.

This is because as a result of the pandemic, the Government has postponed its annual adjustment to the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance until 1 April 2021. However, the 2019 rebate is still applied to your contribution.

Is GU Health offering a cash rebate to members?

Based upon the quick recovery from COVID-19 shutdowns and claims experience to date in most states, we expect a significantly lower level of savings than originally anticipated. As such it appears unlikely there will be further scope for reducing premiums or providing a cash rebate to members. This position will be reviewed once the full impact of COVID-19 becomes clearer.

Our primary obligation is to ensure we can continue to pay claims on behalf of all our members when they require treatment or hospitalisation. We will continue to keep our members informed about any additional support options or possible compensation that become available.

Will any member benefits roll over to next year to compensate for when we were unable to use our health cover during the COVID-19 restrictions?

Our initial predictions were that elective surgery would be suspended for many months due to the pandemic. However, we’ve seen hospital claiming activity quickly recover following the Federal Government’s lifting of the elective surgery ban. We’ve also seen extras claims, such as dental and optical treatment, return to normal levels due to restrictions easing in most states. As such it appears unlikely there will be further scope for the rollover of benefits to the next calendar year.

What has GU Health done to help members impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

To help our members maintain their health cover and more broadly, stay safe and healthy during the pandemic, as part of nib we worked quickly to develop a $45 million member and community support package to assist members during these difficult times.

This included $38.5 million to postpone our contribution changes for members for six months and $1.5 million on financial assistance for members impacted by COVID-19 in the form of temporary contribution waivers. In addition, we donated $1.5 million to community and clinical health initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of communities throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Why have you ended the financial support options as part of your COVID-19 package?

From 1 October 2020, the element of the support package offering additional provisions for financial hardship assistance in the form of a 60-day premium waiver or a six-month suspension will end. We do have other financial hardship options available and if a member requires additional support we may be able to help on a case-by-case basis.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances. You can email corporate@guhealth.com.au or contact us on 1800 249 966 from Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 5pm (AEST).

Will the COVID-19 support package be extended?

Yes. We’re pleased to announce we’ll be extending a number of our COVID-19 member and community support package initiatives, until 31 March 2021.

These include:

  • Access to a range of telehealth services, including physiotherapy, psychology, dietetics and more, so you can continue to keep on top of your health from the comfort and safety of home.

  • Expanded cover for COVID-19 related hospital treatment across all levels of cover at no additional cost where these treatments are excluded.

I live in Victoria, why are you increasing my contributions when I’m unable to use my health cover as a result of the recent Government restrictions?

We have carefully considered the decision to proceed with this year’s contribution changes and we appreciate that this may be difficult for some, particularly in the current climate. The main reason for the increase is because the costs of healthcare continue to rise. Our responsibility is to ensure we can continue to pay claims on behalf of all our members when they require treatment or hospitalisation.

There are still ways you can make a claim. As part of our COVID-19 support package, you can access telehealth consultations via phone or video calls on a range of services like physiotherapy, dietetics, psychology and more so you can continue to stay healthy from the comfort of your home.

In addition, if you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the recent Government restrictions in Victoria, please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances and how we may be able to help.

Does my health insurance cover COVID-19?

To support our members, we've temporarily expanded coverage for chest, lung, kidney or other treatment related to COVID-19 across all levels of Hospital cover at no additional cost. This means we've expanded your coverage under Silver or lower levels of hospital cover (where treatments are currently excluded), until the crisis passes. You'll just need to have served an initial two-month waiting period before receiving treatment.

Along with other health insurers across Australia, any treatment for COVID-19 as an outpatient that is covered by Medicare will not be covered by GU Health. Login to Online Member Services to review your level of cover or contact your Member Relations Team on 1800 249 966.

Does my health insurance cover doctors’ appointments?

Health insurers in Australia are unable to cover outpatient services covered by Medicare, such as visits to your GP. This means GU Health does not cover doctors’ appointments for Australian residents, including appointments via video.

Am I covered for pathology tests for COVID-19?

Health insurers are unable to pay for pathology tests in an outpatient setting as these are covered by Medicare. It’s best to check with Medicare to determine which pathology tests are covered and if you may experience an out-of-pocket cost.

If you have Hospital cover that provides cover for your treatment, have served your waiting periods (including waiting periods for any Pre-existing conditions) and are admitted to hospital as an inpatient, your pathology tests undertaken during the admission will be covered.

Can I claim on telehealth consultations?

Yes; temporarily and for some services. The services currently available are physiotherapy, dietetics, psychology, speech therapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology and podiatry. We’ll be considering additional services where appropriate guidelines are available to make sure you can access health services while still adhering to social distancing guidelines. As long as you’re already covered for the service, you’ll be able to claim on a telehealth consultation in the same way you would a face-to-face visit. You can check which services you’re covered for by logging in online or via the app.

Access to these services will be in place until 31 March 2021, but we’ll be reviewing the pandemic situation to determine if this date should be extended.

A service will only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate so it will not be made available by all providers. Please check with your provider if this is something they’re able to do.

For more information and tips on how to organise a telehealth appointment with your health care professional, go to the Telehealth Fact Sheet. You can also view a telehealth Q&A video with Dr Mellissa Naidoo along with an animated video that covers more information about telehealth appointments.

Will my health insurance cover a vaccine if/when one is developed?

If your Extras cover includes Pharmaceutical Prescriptions, we’ll pay benefits towards the cost of medicines prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner and dispensed by either a doctor, pharmacy or licensed chemist that is registered with us.

We’ll pay a Pharmaceutical Prescription benefit when the medicine is:

  • listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG);

  • listed within the Poisons Standard; and as 4 or 8

  • not subsidised or claimable through the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits.

If the vaccine meets this criteria, then GU Health will cover the vaccine when available under Extras cover that includes the Pharmaceutical Prescriptions benefit.

Will COVID-19 be considered a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is an ailment, illness, or condition where, in the view of nib Group’s appointed Medical Practitioner, signs or symptoms relating to that condition existed during the six months prior to joining private Hospital cover, or upgrading to a higher level of private Hospital cover. Any future claims for complications arising from COVID-19 will be assessed in line with our pre-existing illness policy. nib Group’s appointed Medical Practitioner will need to make a final determination at the time of enquiry.

If my planned public hospital procedure needs to be moved to a private hospital, will I be covered?

You are entitled to receive benefits for services covered on your product, as long as you have served your waiting periods. You should always check what you're covered for before you go to hospital and contact us so we can help you keep any extra expenses to a minimum.

Given the impact of COVID-19, the typical timeframe to receive treatment within a private hospital may be impacted. This is something that you may need to discuss with your GP or specialist closer to the planned date of your admission.

I have a procedure coming up, what should I do?

The Australian Government has announced that a number of elective surgeries have recommenced. The reintroduction of elective surgeries is determined by clinicians, so we encourage you to contact your surgeon and hospital to discuss any upcoming treatment or surgery, including any questions about changing the date or cancellations.

For more information on the Australian management of the outbreak, travel restrictions and advice, contact the National Coronavirus Health Line on 1800 020 080 or click here.

Is it safe to go to the dentist or the physio?

If you have any upcoming appointments with the dentist, physio or any other health provider we recommend contacting your provider for any COVID-19 related questions. For more information about managing your risk of infection, visit the WHO website.

For more information on the Australian management of the outbreak, travel restrictions and advice, contact the National Coronavirus Health Line on 1800 020 080 or click here.


NON-RESIDENT MEMBER FAQs

We’ll be refreshing this page frequently to provide you with the most up-to-date information. This means we may add more frequently asked questions and update answers as the situation evolves.

Why are my contributions increasing now?

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, GU Health postponed for six months the health insurance rate rise for our members, which were meant to have come into effect from 1 April 2020.

With the six-month deferral coming to an end, our annual rate changes will apply to members from 1 October 2020.

If your plan renews outside of the 1 April period, we have extended the rate deferral to reflect the six-month postponement from your renewal date. This means the new rate will come into effect six months from your usual renewal date and we will communicate to you in a timely manner to notify you of the change.

How much will the increase be?

The increase will vary depending on your cover option. This is because the cost of each health plan varies based on a variety of factors, including the level of benefits we pay, the amount of claims we have paid in the past and projected in the future as well.

You will be notified by mail in early September of the contribution increase that applies to you. If your membership renews during a month that is not March or April, you’ll receive a letter when your renewal is due.

Why are contributions increasing during a global pandemic?

We have carefully considered the decision to proceed with this year’s rate changes and we appreciate that this may be difficult for some, particularly in the current climate. The main reason for the increase is because the costs of healthcare continue to rise. Our responsibility is to ensure we can continue to pay claims on behalf of all our members when they require treatment or hospitalisation.

Our response and support for our members and communities has been comprehensive and we think appropriate given the impact of COVID-19. However, with healthcare treatment now returning in most states, rate changes are required to ensure our members can continue to use their health cover now and in the future.

If you are experiencing financial hardship please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.

Why is the increase different to what was communicated earlier this year?

If you are eligible for the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance, you may see a change in your contribution increases compared to what we had originally communicated to you earlier this year.

This is because as a result of the pandemic, the Government has postponed its annual adjustment to the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance until 1 April 2021. However, the 2019 rebate is still applied to your contribution.

Is GU Health offering a cash rebate to members?

Based upon the quick recovery from COVID-19 shutdowns and claims experience to date in most states, we expect a significantly lower level of savings than originally anticipated. As such it appears unlikely there will be further scope for reducing premiums or providing a cash rebate to members. This position will be reviewed once the full impact of COVID-19 becomes clearer.

Our primary obligation is to ensure we can continue to pay claims on behalf of all our members when they require treatment or hospitalisation. We will continue to keep our members informed about any additional support options or possible compensation that become available.

Will any member benefits roll over to next year to compensate for when we were unable to use our health cover during the COVID-19 restrictions?

Our initial predictions were that elective surgery would be suspended for many months due to the pandemic. However, we’ve seen hospital claiming activity quickly recover following the Federal Government’s lifting of the elective surgery ban. We’ve also seen extras claims, such as dental and optical treatment, return to normal levels due to restrictions easing in most states. As such it appears unlikely there will be further scope for the rollover of benefits to the next calendar year.

What has GU Health done to help members impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

To help our members maintain their health cover and more broadly, stay safe and healthy during the pandemic, as part of nib we worked quickly to develop a $45 million member and community support package to assist members during these difficult times.

This included $38.5 million to postpone our contribution changes for members for six months and $1.5 million on financial assistance for members impacted by COVID-19 in the form of temporary contribution waivers. In addition, we donated $1.5 million to community and clinical health initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of communities throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Why have you ended the financial support options as part of your COVID-19 package?

From 1 October 2020, the element of the support package offering additional provisions for financial hardship assistance, in the form of a 60-day premium waiver or a six-month suspension, will end. We do have other financial hardship options available and if a member requires additional support we may be able to help on a case-by-case basis.

If you are experiencing financial hardship please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances. You can email corporate@guhealth.com.au or contact us on 1800 249 966 from Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 5pm (AEST).

Will the COVID-19 support package be extended?

Yes. We’re pleased to announce we’ll be extending a number of our COVID-19 member and community support package initiatives, until 31 March 2021.

These include:

  • Access to a range of telehealth services, including physiotherapy, psychology, dietetics and more, so you can continue to keep on top of your health from the comfort and safety of home.

  • Expanded cover for COVID-19 related hospital treatment across all levels of cover at no additional cost where these treatments are excluded.

Can I claim on telehealth consultations?

Yes, for some medical and Extras services subject to your chosen plan. In line with changes introduced by the Australian Government, Medicare-recognised telehealth services are funded by GU Health across a broad range of services, including GP and psychology consultations, as well as Extras services such as physiotherapy, dietetics, psychology, speech therapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology and podiatry. We’ll be considering additional services where appropriate guidelines are available, this will ensure that you can access health services while still adhering to social distancing guidelines. As long as you’re already covered for the service, you’ll be able to claim on a telehealth consultation in the same way you would a face-to-face visit. You can check which services you’re covered for by logging in online or via the app.

Access to these services will be in place until 31 March 2021, but we’ll be reviewing the pandemic situation to determine if this date should be extended. A service will only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate so it will not be made available by all providers. Please check with your provider if this is something they’re able to do.

For more information and tips on how to organise a telehealth appointment with your health care professional, go to the Telehealth Fact Sheet. You can also view a telehealth Q&A video with Dr Mellissa Naidoo along with an animated video that covers more information about telehealth appointments.

I live in Victoria, why are you increasing my contributions when I’m unable to use my health cover as a result of the recent Government restrictions?

We have carefully considered the decision to proceed with this year’s contribution changes and we appreciate that this may be difficult for some, particularly in the current climate. The main reason for the increase is because the costs of healthcare continue to rise. Our responsibility is to ensure we can continue to pay claims on behalf of all our members when they require treatment or hospitalisation.

There are still ways you can make a claim. As part of our COVID-19 support package, you can access telehealth consultations via phone or video calls on a range of services like physiotherapy, dietetics, psychology and more so you can continue to stay healthy from the comfort of your home.

In addition, if you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the recent Government restrictions in Victoria, please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances and how we may be able to support you.

Does my health insurance cover COVID-19?

To support our members, we've temporarily expanded coverage for chest, lung, kidney or other treatment related to COVID-19 across all levels of Hospital cover at no additional cost. For members with Public Hospital cover only this means benefits will be increased to cover COVID-19 admissions in a private hospital, until the crisis passes. Members who do not have Medicare entitlements may be covered for GP and other outpatient medical services as per their selected level of cover. Please login to Online Member Services to review your level of cover or contact your Member Relations Team on 1800 249 966.

Who should I contact if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

Official government advice is that anyone with symptoms should initially contact and consult their local General Practitioner (GP) doctor. For details on the Australian Government’s National Health Plan concerning COVID-19, please see the Australian Government’s website.

Where do I get tested/treated for COVID-19?

If a GP deems testing for COVID-19 is necessary, they will direct you to the appropriate hospitals or testing centres.

Does my health insurance cover doctors’ appointments?

Members who don’t have Medicare entitlements may be covered for GP and other outpatient medical services as per their selected level of cover. Please login to Online Member Services or contact your Member Relations Team to check your level of cover on 1800 249 966.

Am I covered for pathology tests for COVID-19?

Members who don’t have Medicare entitlements may be covered for GP and other outpatient medical services as per their selected level of cover. To check your level of cover, please login to Online Member Services or contact your Member Relations Team on 1800 249 966.

I have a planned procedure coming up, what should I do?

The Australian Government has announced that a number of elective surgeries have recommenced. The reintroduction of elective surgeries is determined by clinicians, so we encourage you to contact your surgeon and hospital to discuss any upcoming treatment or surgery, including any questions about changing the date or cancellations

For more information on the Australian management of the outbreak, travel restrictions and advice, contact the National Coronavirus Health Line on 1800 020 080 or click here.

What if I need to change my policy start date?

If you are still coming to Australia to work but need to change your policy start date, please supply a copy of your new Visa Grant Notice or alternatively a copy of your record of movement from the Australian Department of Home Affairs to confirm that you haven’t arrived in the country. Please email this to corporate@guhealth.com.au.

What if I need to cancel my policy as I’m no longer coming to Australia to work?

If you’re no longer coming to Australia or you have decided not to return to work, please send a visa cancellation notice by email to corporate@guhealth.com.au. We will cancel your policy on the date you notified us.

Will COVID-19 be considered a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is an ailment, illness, or condition where, in the view of nib Group’s appointed Medical Practitioner, signs or symptoms relating to that condition existed during the six months prior to joining private Hospital cover, or upgrading to a higher level of private Hospital cover. Any future claims for complications arising from COVID-19 will be assessed in line with our pre-existing illness policy. nib Group’s appointed Medical Practitioner will need to make a final determination at the time of enquiry.

If I have other pre-existing conditions, will I be covered for COVID-19 in the first 12 months of my policy?

Members who have a pre-existing condition (unrelated to COVID-19) will be covered for COVID-19 if, in the view of nib’s appointed Medical Practitioner, signs or symptoms relating of COVID-19 did not exist during the six months prior to arriving in Australia, joining private Hospital cover, or upgrading to a higher level of private Hospital cover.

Information correct as of 4 September, 2020.