GMHBA suspends premium increase as part of substantial member support package

Published 29 Mar 2020

GMHBA has today announced that health insurance premiums that were set to rise on Wednesday 1 April will now be deferred for at least six months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The suspension is one of a range of support measures announced by the Not-for-Profit health fund to alleviate pressure on members at such a challenging time.

GMHBA CEO Mark Valena said, “This decision is about putting members first. These are unprecedented and trying times and we know that many of our members are now in difficult health and financial situations.”

“Access to the best healthcare is more important than ever in the time of a pandemic. We want to make sure that our members can afford the cover they need at this time, but we also want to provide targeted relief to those who need it most, so we are releasing a broad member support package that stretches beyond just premium relief,” Mark Valena said.

“The current situation is highly complex and difficult to predict. In making this decision we assessed our ongoing sustainability in a range of pandemic scenarios as we obviously need to be here to support all members now and into the future.

So that is why announcing a 6-month deferral period makes sense, because with such uncertainty it allows us to monitor the situation and plan and adapt while also doing the most important thing that we can do right now – which is supporting our members.”

The package includes the following four member support pillars during the COVID 19 pandemic:

  1. Premium increase deferral for at least 6 months
  2. Hardship suspensions for up to 12 months with no minimum reactivation period
  3. All our members with hospital cover will be covered for COVID-19 related hospitalisations.
  4. Introduction of ancillary benefits for telehealth physiotherapy and psychology services

“This support package is substantial and provides care and support while also providing peace of mind to our members at a time of great uncertainty.” said Mark Valena.

“We will continue to monitor this rapidly-evolving situation and keep the lines of communication open with our members so they understand how to access the best support when and where they need it.”   

GMHBA will continue to assess the impact of this pandemic on members and the fund to determine how it can best assist and support its members over both the short and long term.