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What are broader health cover programs?

Find out what is covered by health funds for disease management, home care and more.

Private health insurance in Australia is about much more than just hospital and extras cover. Since April 2007, private health funds have been able to offer a range of additional services and features to members, including treatment in your own home and a huge selection of health and disease management programs.

These services are known as broader health cover. Let’s take a closer look at what these programs offer and how they can benefit you.

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What are broader health programs?

Broader health programs are designed to help private health funds better meet the health care needs of more Australians. Although not offered by all health funds, these broader health programs provide added value and benefits to the members of many funds around the country.

Broader health programs are often offered as part of an extras policy and include:

  • Hospital substitute treatment. Hospital substitute treatment is designed to help patients receive the help they need in the location and setting most convenient to them. It allows patients to complete their recovery at home or in community health care clinics, thus reducing the strain on the hospital system.
  • Chronic disease management programs. These programs are designed to help health fund members to either prevent or manage chronic diseases, or to simply live healthier lives. Examples of these treatment options include diabetes management programs, weight loss programs, quit smoking programs and benefits for regular health checks.
  • Additional member services. Some health funds provide a wide range of additional lifestyle benefits to members as part of their broader health cover. These can include discounted gym memberships, cover for travel vaccinations, discounted eyewear and discounted movie tickets.

Broader health care services covered by the finder.com.au panel

Health fundBroader health programsGet quote
ahmAHM offers Health Improvement Benefits that cover a wide range of products and services, including:

  • Quit smoking courses and products
  • Disease management association fees
  • Cancer Council UV products
  • Stress management courses
  • Preventive tests, scans and screenings
  • Health checks
  • Exercise classes
  • Swimming lessons and training
More info
Australian UnityAustralian Unity offers the Active Lifestyle Package to members in return for a monthly fee.This package offers benefits for a wide range of approved services including cover for:

  • Gym memberships
  • Exercise classes
  • Personal training
  • Sports entry fees
  • Sports gear and equipment
More info
GMHBA health fundGMHBA offers Fit Rewards, a program that rewards members for staying fit and keeping active.You earn points for if you:

  • Enrol in a quit smoking course
  • Get a gym membership
  • Complete a triathlon

These points can be redeemed for sports gear, diet books and more.

More info
HCFHCF offers a wide range of broader health cover options, including:

  • Health management programs. Available on eligible extras covers, these programs assist with weight management, exercise classes and gym membership fees, childbirth, lactation and learning to swim.
  • Health Weight for Life. These programs help sufferers of diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and osteoarthritis improve their quality of life.
  • Member offers. These include discounted overseas travel insurance on some policies, in-home support and personal care and discounted gym memberships.
More info
health.com.auhealth.com.au private health insurance helps cover the cost of some health management programs completed under the guidance of your GP, including:

  • Weight management programs
  • Gym memberships
  • Pilates and yoga
  • Psychotherapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • First aid courses
More info
hifHIF offers Health Lifestyle Benefits, a membership feature that allows you to claim on a wide range of services, including:

  • Approved weight management programs
  • Gym memberships
  • Yoga and pilates
  • Exercise physiology
  • Skin cancer screenings
  • Health assessments
  • Quit smoking programs
More info
nibnib members can claim benefits on a selection of health management services, such as:

  • Gym memberships
  • Weight management programs
  • Personal training sessions
  • Yoga or pilates classes
More info
Transport Health LogoTransport Health members can claim benefits for:

  • Tai chi, yoga and pilates
  • Specialist skin testing
  • Quit smoking programs
  • First aid courses
  • Weight loss programs
  • Home surgical nursing
More info

Hospital substitute treatments

Rather than extending your stay in hospital, you may be able to access hospital substitute treatment through your private health fund. Subject to your doctor’s approval, these services allow you to access the treatment you need in locations that are much more convenient to you, such as in your home or at a community health care clinic. This allows the you to complete your hospital recovery in comfort and closer to loved ones, with your health fund covering costs such as bed and equipment hire and nursing care.

Common examples of hospital substitute treatment include:

  • Wound care
  • IV therapy
  • Early discharge

What are chronic disease management programs?

Chronic disease management programs form a crucial part of the broader health cover services offered by many private health funds. They include:

  • Weight loss programs. You can receive advice and guidance on the right diet and exercise to lose and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Diabetes management programs. If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, you can receive education and advice on how to manage your condition and improve your quality of life.
  • Heart or cardiovascular health programs. If you suffer from heart or cardiovascular disease these programs can help you manage your condition and reduce its impact on your day-to-day life.
  • Quit smoking programs. These programs are designed to help you give up smoking and enjoy the many health benefits brought about by this lifestyle change.
  • Asthma management programs. You can receive advice, tips and support to help you manage your asthma.
  • General healthy lifestyle programs. These programs are designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle and may include benefits for gym memberships or regular health check-ups.

Why were broader health programs introduced?

Broader health programs were introduced by the Australian Government in April 2007 to provide more choice in health insurance. Their introduction meant that private health funds could start paying benefits on a much wider range of services, and that fund members could access many new options for managing their health.

The benefits of broader health cover for Australian consumers are twofold.

First, health fund members get to access a substantial amount of added value from their private health insurance, helping to make their premiums a more worthwhile expense.

Second, and more importantly, they allow a greater number of Australians to access a broader range of health care services, resulting in an extensive range of health benefits, which also has the advantage of reducing the strain on Australia’s public healthcare system.

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Picture: Shutterstock

Richard Laycock

Richard is the insurance editor at finder.com.au. He is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

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