COVID-19 information for members

GMHBA is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our members and community at this time. We will continue to update this page with new information as the situation evolves.

We understand some of our members may be experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our member support package, we're doing everything possible to help those who need it most during this difficult time. This includes putting our upcoming 1 April premium increases on hold for at least six months.

If you're experiencing financial hardship, we encourage you to reach out to our customer service team on 1300 446 422 to discuss how we can best support you.

Check out our frequently asked questions below for more information. 

Member support package

pause

We put our 1 April premium increases on hold for six months, to help alleviate financial pressure.

All members with hospital cover will be covered for COVID-19 related hospitalisations, regardless of your level of cover.

Telehealth

We’ve introduced new telehealth ancillary benefits for a wide range of services to support continuity of care at home.

Support

Additional premium relief is available for eligible members who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Extras cover

If you have both hospital and extras cover, you can suspend the extras component of your cover and maintain your existing hospital cover. (Excludes package products).

Time period

If you’re eligible for a membership suspension, you’ll be able to reactivate your cover at any time you need.

Telehealth services 

To support our members to be healthier at home, we’ve introduced new telehealth ancillary benefits for a wide range of services.

With social distancing measures in place, it’s important that our members can continue to receive the treatment they need during this time. Telehealth consultations are safe, effective and provide our members with continuity of care from the safety of their homes.

COVID-19 and your health cover – frequently asked questions

  • GMHBA has introduced new support measures, which mean existing members with hospital cover will be covered for all COVID-19 related hospital treatments as a private patient, as long as you have served your initial two-month waiting periods.
  • This COVID-19 coverage will be provided initially until the end of September 2020, with the intent to review and consider any possible further extension prior to 30 September 2020.
  • We have added wording to hospital eligibility checks to confirm coverage for all of our members with hospital cover so the hospitals are aware that you will be covered. 
  • Coronavirus does not have its own clinical category or MBS item number.
  • If you are admitted into hospital to determine the root cause of the presenting illness, this is covered the same way as it would for any other medical admission, eg. flu/pneumonia.
  • If you are admitted to hospital as a result of a condition developed following contracting coronavirus, the condition will come under the applicable clinical category, eg. Lung and Chest.

 

  • We don't cover outpatient appointments such as GP appointments, blood tests etc.
  • These rules will continue to apply as normal, including for coronavirus.

 

 

  • If you buy health insurance now to be covered for coronavirus, the standard two-month hospital waiting periods will apply before you are able to claim benefits.
  • The rules in relation to pre-existing conditions for hospital cover will not apply.

Yes. You may be able to suspend your cover due to financial hardship if you've had an active GMHBA health insurance policy for at least six months. 

During a suspension period, you won't need to pay your premium, but you also won't be able to claim on services for this period of time.

Additional suspension measures we have put in place for members who may be experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Suspension for up to 12 months.
  • Waiving the minimum suspension period so you can reactivate at any time you need.  

Find out more or talk to one of our customer service representatives about your situation and they can guide you through the things to consider, ensure you have the right level of affordable cover and answer any questions.

As with any other type of suspension, you are not able to claim benefits while your cover is suspended.

  • On 21 April, the Federal Government announced that elective surgery will resume from 27 April.
  • The reintroduction of elective surgeries will be staged, determined by clinicians and include:
    • procedures representing low risk, high value care as determined by specialist societies
    • selection of patients who are at low risk of post-operative deterioration
    • children whose procedures have exceeded clinical wait times
    • assisted reproduction; endoscopic procedures; screening programs; and critical dental procedures.
  • If you have a pre-booked hospital admission or ongoing hospital treatment, we encourage you to regularly check in with your doctor and hospital before your admission for the most up-to-date information.

Premium increase deferral – frequently asked questions

  • For members who have paid in advance via direct debit or credit card, these payments were for your pre-1 April rate, so the premium increase would not have been applied to these payments.
  • If you have paid in advance and are now experiencing financial hardship, get in touch with our customer service team and we can partially refund your account. Please be aware that this will also affect your paid-to date, so you won’t then be paid as far in advance.

No, this won’t be affected by the deferral. Any premium decreases will still apply from 1 April 2020.  

  • By 1 October, GMHBA will reassess the deferral of premium increase to determine if it should be extended.
  • We will take into consideration the pandemic situation at that point in time, what our members need and what we can provide for them.
  • We will inform members of our position and keep the lines of communication open to ensure you are aware of support available.

No, you will not be required to backpay the difference in premium amounts once the premium increases that were planned for 1 April 2020 come into effect on 1 October 2020 (or later).  

No, changes to the Government Private Health Insurance Rebate have been deferred until April 2021.

  • Changes to our customer facing operations

    GMHBA Health Insurance branches

    We have made the difficult decision to temporarily close our health insurance branches. During this period, please reach out to our customer service team via our alternative contact methods for assistance. We will get in touch when our branches reopen.

    GMHBA Eye Care and Dental Care operations

    We have scaled back our eye care and dental practice services to provide emergency and urgent care only at this time. We are maintaining enhanced hygiene standards and limiting the number of people in our practices to comply with social distancing rules. To make an appointment, please check our opening hours and call ahead. 

    Contact us

Elective surgery update

If you have a pre-booked hospital admission or ongoing hospital treatment, we encourage you to regularly check in with your doctor and hospital before your admission for the most up-to-date information.

Latest update:

The Victorian Government announced on 16 July that private hospital elective surgery capacity will be limited to 75 per cent in Metropolitan Melbourne to free up bed space.

Other updates:

On 21 April, the Federal Government announced that elective surgery will resume from 27 April. The reintroduction of elective surgeries will be staged, determined by clinicians and include:

  • procedures representing low risk, high value care as determined by specialist societies
  • selection of patients who are at low risk of post-operative deterioration
  • children whose procedures have exceeded clinical wait times
  • assisted reproduction; endoscopic procedures; screening programs; and critical dental procedures.

The value of private health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic

As Australians navigate through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, many may be starting to ask the question “Is having private health insurance worth it right now?” GMHBA General Manager of Private Health Insurance, Tony Hall explains the value of private health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic.