Health Check

Telehealth explained

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we access our healthcare services – here’s what you need to know.

Written by Editor Medibank

The world may seem like it has ground to a halt as we tackle COVID-19, but even though life is different, some things never change. People get sick, babies are born and perhaps now more than ever, mental health may be impacted. So how do we access the services we need when many of them have changed the way they operate? And how do we get the advice we need when we’re trying to avoid face-to-face contact? Enter telehealth consultations. Here’s what you need to know and how you can access them.

What is a telehealth consultation?

Many health practitioners such as GPs, psychologists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists and dieticians are now giving patients the option to conduct their appointments via phone or video when they don’t need to be physically present. While the service has been around for some time, ‘telehealth’ has come into its own during the pandemic as a way to stop the spread and protect both patients and doctors. It can be utilised for a range of treatments, organising prescriptions, as a substitute for regular appointments or to help you manage a chronic condition. Do you usually see a health professional on a regular basis but you’ve stopped because you want to keep social distancing? Telehealth could be a great option to help you meet the goals of your care plan. 

How do I arrange a telehealth consultation?

Arranging an appointment is easy: just call your GP or health provider as usual to book a time. They should be able to guide you through the process and give you all the details you need.

Telehealth consultations can take place through a range of video calling apps; the app will depend on that profession’s telehealth policy and guidelines. If video isn’t possible, an audio phone call may be an option: ask about this when you make your appointment.

What about my extras?

We understand that while you want to practise social distancing and stay safe at home, you might need new ways to make the most of your cover, in particular your extras. If your health provider offers telehealth consultations Medibank will now pay benefits towards those services included in your extras cover.† Please check your extras cover summary for eligibility. Waiting periods and annual limits apply.

Depending on your level of cover the services you can access via telehealth include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Dietetics
  • Occupational therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Exercise physiology
  • Speech therapy
  • Lactation consultants
  • Eye therapy

How much will telehealth consultations cost?

In most cases, benefits paid towards telehealth services provided by health consultants will be paid at the same level as equivalent face-to-face appointments. However, it’s important to discuss all fees with your provider prior to participating in any telehealth consultations to make sure you are aware of any associated costs. If you’re using your private health insurance you should also refer to your cover summary to check your level of cover or call our customer support line on 1300 561 012.

READ MORE: Telehealth services FAQs

Help when you need it

24/7 Medibank Nurse
Members with hospital cover^ can call our phone service to speak to a Medibank nurse about their health concerns at any time of the day or night.

Medibank Mental Health Phone Support
Members with Hospital cover^ can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.Members with Hospital cover^ can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

COVID-19 Health Assist
Medibank has brought together its broad range of health services to develop COVID-19 Health Assist#, a program of customised health and wellbeing support for eligible customers throughout the coronavirus pandemic. You can find out more here.

Give us a call
As always, we’re here to help. If you have questions about telehealth or your cover you can give us a call between 8am – 8pm Mon – Fri, or between 9am – 4pm on Saturdays on 132 331 to discuss your options and get support.

 

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†Medibank members with eligible extras can now access telehealth services — including psychology, physiotherapy, dietetics, occupational therapy, podiatry, exercise physiology, and speech therapy — and claim for services undertaken from 14 April 2020 until further notice. Check your cover summary to see if these services are included on your extras cover and if any waiting periods or annual limits apply.

^OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

#Hospital Covers Only. Waiting periods may apply. Suspended policies excluded. Some referred services may incur out of pocket costs.

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Written by Editor Medibank

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