As restrictions ease, Aussies can start claiming on their health insurance

Posted: 20 May 2020 12:13 pm
News

Health claim

Here are just some of the services that are back up and running.

Social distancing guidelines have made it hard to claim many health insurance benefits in the past few weeks. However, now that restrictions are lifting, Aussies might want to move quickly in order to make the most of their policies.

That's because all extras policies have an annual limit which resets every year. If you don't use the money allocated for a specific benefit, the balance doesn't rollover.

So if your extras policy allocates $200 to spend on optical services every year, but you don't use that balance in the set period, you've effectively lost that money, when you could have had a new pair of glasses instead.

While most funds renew in January, there are some major funds which renew on 1 July, including ahm, Defence Health, and Peoplecare. If yours is one of them, you're on a tighter deadline to claim the benefits you're entitled to.

To help, we've included some information below on key services which are back up and running, so you can make the most of your policy, while taking care of your wellbeing.

Dental

During the coronavirus pandemic, only emergency dentistry was allowed. Broken teeth, bleeding gums, and problems with dentures were all considered non-emergency, so you could definitely forget about a basic scale and clean.

Now, dentists have the go-ahead to perform routine treatments, so if you're due for a visit, you should be able to use your extras policy to cover some of the costs.

Dr Carmelo Bonanno, president of the Australian Dental Association, said he expects there to be a rush of patients returning to dentist in the next few weeks.

"We're pleased that people can now resume routine dental treatment, including any procedures they started before the pandemic struck," he added.

Optical

A statement from Optometry Australia suggests that, as pandemic restrictions ease, optometrists will be allowed to use their "clinical judgement" to determine what consultations can be conducted. This means the timeline is likely to vary across different states.

Many opticians have already been back up and running for well over a week in NSW, while Victorian businesses are taking a slower approach.

Extras policies typically include optical benefits, with many funds offering no-gap optical, or no waiting period on optical.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists have also started reopening across some states and people with private health insurance can get some of the cost covered, without getting a referral from a GP.

Even if you don't want to venture out to the physio, many health funds have been covering virtual physio appointments, for appropriate treatments.

Mental health

Similarly, many therapists and mental health experts have started offering face-to-face appointments again but if you're still avoiding unnecessary contact, digital help is available.

During the coronavirus pandemic, many health funds started allowing members to claim for online counselling and therapy sessions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Others

While the government has given permission for many businesses to begin the slow process of reopening, it will be down to individual states and business owners to make the final decision.

One thing is clear though, there is now significantly more scope for people with private health insurance to make the most of their policies, while also supporting local healthcare providers.

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