Osteoarthritis occurs when there is damage in and around the joints which the body cannot repair, and can have a debilitating impact on a person’s life.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are treatments available to manage symptoms. And if you have private health insurance, you may be able to use your cover to help.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, here are some tips for managing your condition – and how Medibank might be able to help.
Visit your GP
If you are concerned you might have osteoarthritis, your first step should be to visit your GP, as they can assess and discuss your symptoms. Sometimes, they may refer you to a specialist if necessary.
See a physio
You can see a physiotherapist to help with pain associated with your condition.
Depending on your level of health cover, and whether you have extras, your private health insurance might be able to help with costs associated with your treatment. By choosing a Members’ Choice provider, most extras policies allow eligible Medibank members to claim between 55-100% of the total bill for included services, provided it is included in your cover, up to your annual limit and subject to any waiting periods. You can check your remaining limits and submit a claim by logging into My Medibank or using the My Medibank app. You can also find your nearest Members’ Choice provider here.
Build up your strength and fitness
Osteoarthritis can significantly affect the weight bearing joints of the legs, so doing regular exercise to keep the large muscles of the legs strong and flexible is essential. Increasing general physical activity levels is important too. But remember to check with a health professional that the type of exercise you’re doing isn’t aggravating your symptoms.
Clinical Pilates – a type of exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility, and breathing – can be ideal for people with osteoarthritis. These sessions are led by fully qualified physiotherapists who often provide individual treatment programs. If you have extras cover with physiotherapy, and Clinical Pilates is delivered by a registered physiotherapist, your private health insurance might help cover the cost of these classes. Check your cover summary or give us a call on 134 190 if you’re unsure.
You can also check out Medibank’s Live Better activities, for fun social events to get your body moving. And if you are a Medibank member, visit our Member Offers for great deals such as discounted gym entry and discounts on fitness and sports products.
Good nutrition can be an important way to manage osteoarthritis symptoms. A great way to control what you’re eating is to plan your own meals and cook for yourself, and Medibank’s Live Better has plenty of delicious healthy recipe ideas for you to try.
You might also choose to see a dietitian, who can prescribe you with tailored nutrition advice. If you have extras cover with Medibank, you may be able to claim benefits towards consultations with a dietitian, up to annual limits and subject to any waiting periods.
Get expert health advice
All Medibank members with hospital cover can call the 24/7 Medibank Nurse Phone Service on 1800 644 325. Our experienced nurses can answer any questions you have about your condition and managing your health in general. OSHC members can contact the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.
If you need to go to hospital
If you need to go to hospital, make sure you’re fully informed before your visit. Before you commit to a specialist or procedure, it’s always a good idea to call us on 132 331 to review your cover, confirm what out-of-pocket costs you are likely to encounter, and find out more about what you can expect from your hospital stay.
Medibank’s Live Better is a valuable resource to prepare you for your hospital admission. You can look up what you might pay out-of-pocket and how health insurance could help manage the costs using our online interactive tool. And you can get lots of practical information and advice to help you prepare for, and recover from, your hospital stay in our going to hospital guide.
Whether it be more claimable services or a higher claiming limit, a health cover review can help you find the right level of cover for your changing needs. For more information, or to check that you have the best cover for your condition, chat to our friendly staff online 24/7.