COVID-19 FAQs

COVID-19 FAQs

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Have a question?

Here are the answers to questions our members have been asking during these uncertain times.

  • UniHealth – what we're doing to support our members during COVID-19, and how to get in touch

  • Premiums & benefits  the postponed 1 April premium increase, benefit improvements and more 

  • Elective surgery  easing of government restrictions: find out which elective surgeries can go ahead (from 27 April)

  • Mental Health Support  support services available to members with Hospital and Extras cover

  • Teachers Healthcare Services – helping eligible members with Hospital cover access a range of support services

 

UniHealth

What are you doing to support members during this time?

We’ve implemented several measures to support you, including:

  • Postponing the 1 April premium increase for six months
  • Cover for COVID-19 for all members with hospital cover
  • Cover for a range of telehealth services
  • Financial hardship support
  • Access to Teachers Healthcare Services

Learn more about these measures.


How can you support me if I’m experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19? 

Members experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can apply to suspend their cover for up to 12 months. 

If you’ve lost your income due to COVID-19’s impact to business, all we need is a letter from your employer to confirm your change in circumstances and we can suspend your membership up to six months.

How will you keep me updated during COVID-19? 

We recommend setting your contact preference to Via Member Services, and choosing either SMS or email (rather than Standard Mail). To do this, log into Online Member Services, select My membership > Contact details, scroll down to Contact preferences then click Edit.

How do I register for Online Member Services? 

Visit Online Member Services to register. You’ll need your member number, which you’ll find on your membership card.

Is the UniHealth contact centre still open?

Absolutely. We’re committed to running business as usual (or unusual in this instance). This includes supporting your health fund membership needs just as you’d expect. Need to get in touch? Call 1300 367 906.

Are you still paying claims?

Yep. Our team is working as hard as ever to process your claims. To check the status of a claim you’ve submitted, go to Online Member Services > Claims & benefits > Claims history. 

How are you protecting your staff?

We've changed the way we work to support the health and safety of staff, including moving people to working from home arrangements.

 

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Premiums & benefits

Did premiums increase on 1 April? 

No. The 1 April premium increase was postponed for six months (until 1 October 2020).

I recently joined UniHealth and the email/letter I received said my premiums would go up from 1 April, is this right?

No. Your premiums won’t increase for the next six months. However, due to the short time period of this change, some members may receive older communications from us that say otherwise.
 

Did you implement the planned benefit improvements?

Yes, we did. These improvements were made with our members’ best interests in mind, and we remain committed to that.

Learn more about benefit improvements for Hospital cover and Extras cover.

Did Hospital Psychiatric Services change to restricted under Mid Classic on 1 April?

Yes, all product changes went ahead. The only change was postponing the 1 April premium increase.

 

My original letter/email said my premium would decrease on 1 April, is this still the case?

Yes, any premium decreases were effective from 1 April 2020. This is just one of the ways we can continue to support our members.
 

I pay my premiums via payroll, will the correct amount be deducted?

We’ve notified relevant payroll administrators about our decision to postpone the 1 April premium increase and have supplied the information they need.

However, because everything is changing so rapidly, some payroll deductions may have already started processing. Apologies if this happens to you.

If the increased amount is deducted, we’ll credit the difference for your following deduction. If you require the refunded amount sooner, please contact our team.
 

Health insurers aren't paying for all the usual elective surgeries right now, can these savings be passed on to members? 

We address this one fully in The cost of health cover

 

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Elective surgery

Are elective surgeries happening now?

On 25 March, the Prime Minister announced that all non-urgent elective surgeries in Australia’s public and private hospitals would be suspended. Private hospitals were given a week to implement this. 

On 21 April, the restrictions were lifted for certain elective surgeries, including:

  • IVF
  • Screening programs (cancer and other diseases)
  • Post cancer reconstruction procedures (such as breast reconstruction)
  • Procedures for children under 18 years of age
  • Joint replacements (incl knees, hips, shoulders)
  • Cataracts and eye procedures
  • Endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures.

If you have any concerns, please contact your specialist or the hospital as soon as possible.


What about emergency surgeries?

Emergency surgeries aren't impacted

 

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Mental health support

What type of mental health support is available for UniHealth members?

Telepsychology 

We’ve always paid benefits for telepsychology services – psychology consults via phone or Skype. It's available to members with Extras cover. 

Mental Wellness Program

This phone-based program is available to eligible members through Teachers Healthcare Services. It has two components: 

  1. Mental wellness: phone services with a mental health professional, tailored to you. Common themes include strategies to build resilience, managing anxiety and/or depression and supporting emotional wellbeing.
  2. Nutrition: phone consults with a Teachers Healthcare Services Accredited Practising Dietitian. This element of the program recognises the importance of nutrition and gut health for mental health.

 Learn more about the Mental Wellness Program.

 

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Teachers Healthcare Services

What support can I access via Teachers Healthcare Services?

Care Coordination Program

Eligible members can access the Teachers Healthcare Services Care Coordination Program (phone-based health support service, staffed by registered nurses and dietitian) and discuss how to stay safe, access appropriate care, achieve or maintain health goals, access credible information and feel supported. 

Mental Wellness Program

Through Teachers Healthcare Services, eligible members can be provided with access to mental health service providers via telehealth consultations (see above). 

New Family Program 

With prenatal classes at hospitals cancelled, eligible members can access the New Family Program as an accredited alternative to in-hospital classes. The program includes online resources and telephone support, as well as mental health support if required. We've made this program available to more members during COVID-19.

Hospital Substitute Treatment 

Hospital Substitute Treatment is home-based clinical care. More on this below. 
  

How can I access these programs? 

Just fill in the Teachers Healthcare Services contact form and the team will be in touch.

Who's eligible for the programs?

Eligibility for support services varies, but at a minimum you need to have UniHealth Hospital cover and have served any relevant waiting periods. The Teachers Healthcare Services team can talk to you about any other eligibility criteria attached to a given service.

 

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Hospital Substitute Treatment

What’s Hospital Substitute Treatment?

Hospital Substitute Treatment (HST) is home-based clinical care you’d otherwise have to be in hospital for. It can reduce the length of a hospital stay, or even help you avoid in-hospital (inpatient) treatment altogether.

Teachers Healthcare Services provides access to two services: Hospital at home and Rehab at home. You can learn more about them via our Before hospital and Leaving hospital pages.
 

Are HST providers still operating during COVID-19?

Yes. They’re considered essential services. And as hospitals are likely to be focusing on COVID-19 and emergency admissions they’ve never been more relevant.
 

Which conditions can be treated through HST?

Evidence shows the conditions that can be safely treated at home include: 

  • cellulitis
  • pneumonia
  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs).
     

What are the benefits of home-based care?

Provided it’s safe for you, the benefits include: 

  • being in the comfort of own home
  • flexibility: you can eat, watch TV and sleep when you want!
  • reduced risk of infection (compared to hospital).

How can I access HST?

All levels of UniHealth Hospital cover provide access to HST. The decisions rests with the doctor who’s treating you, as your safety is paramount. It also needs to be for treatment that's included in your Hospital cover (just as if you were in hospital).

 

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Health Centres

Are the Health Centres open?

Yes. We’re providing services at our Health Centres by appointment only. 

 

Are you offering telehealth appointments?

Yes. Eligible members can book telehealth consultations with the Health Centre team to talk about their optical and dental concerns. Telehealth consultations aren’t a substitute for your regular eye exams or dental check-ups though.

Appointment enquiries

Optical | Dental

 

What should I do if I need emergency dental treatment?

If you have symptoms that need urgent treatment, like facial swelling, trauma, excessive bleeding or severe pain, please go to your local dental hospital. Options include:

NSW

SA

VIC

 
If you can't get to a dental hospital, go to your nearest emergency department. 

 

What should I do if I need emergency optical treatment?

If you have symptoms that need urgent treatment, like sudden loss of vision, flashes and floaters or ocular trauma, please go to your local emergency department or eye hospital. Options include: 

NSW

VIC


If you can't get to a dental hospital, go to your nearest emergency department. 
 

 

I’ve lost my glasses or contact lenses, can you help?

Please contact your local Health Centre. If you’ve had glasses or contact lenses from us before we’ll probably be able to repeat your order.

 

Can I have a copy of my contact lens or glasses script?

Absolutely. Please contact your local Health Centre

 

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Travel insurance

What happens to the TravelCard travel insurance I bought now I can't travel due to COVID-19?

If you’ve already bought a TravelCard policy and have postponed travel plans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact the TravelCard team on 1300 123 112 to change the travel dates on your policy.

For more information, please see our TravelCard COVID-19 update

 

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