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    Customers in financial distress benefit from extended hardship policy

    Medibank retail store

    Medibank and ahm customers in severe financial distress are able to access a 50% discount on their premiums for up to 6 months, or further suspend their policy for up to 3 months as part of a $180 million assistance package.

    The extension of the hardship policy will give customers who have lost their jobs and income or are receiving government support payments, the option of an average premium discount of approximately $800 per policy.

    Chief Customer Officer David Koczkar said the feeling of uncertainly has only increased since the rise of COVID-19 cases in Victoria, so it’s incredibly important our customers are provided with the additional support they may need now, so they can retain their health cover for peace of mind.

    “It’s clear that so many Australians are doing it really tough financially right now and while they are struggling to just pay their everyday household bills, customers tell us they don’t want their health cover to lapse," he said.

    “We are continuing to check-in on the around 30,000 policyholders who suspended their health cover due to financial hardship and offer them additional support in a form that best suits their current needs.

    “So far we have contacted around 9,000 of the customers who have suspended their cover due to COVID-19 financial hardship. A majority of those customers have reactivated their policy or have taken up the 50% premium discount offer, while less than 1% of customers have dropped their cover.

    “The additional support means a customer that’s doing it tough can be reassured that their health cover is there for them if they need it, which gives them one less thing to worry about.

    “While postponing the 2020 premium increase for 6 months has given all customers some financial relief – around $70 per policy – for those customers in severe financial distress, a saving on average of $800 is going to provide these customers with far more breathing space.

    “It’s been so heartwarming to see the difference this additional support has made so far to some of our customers. They have welcomed the support and feel reassured that they can retain their cover to use during this difficult time,” Mr Koczkar said.

    The extended hardship policy also gives customers who suspended their cover due to financial hardship from COVID-19, the option to apply for an additional suspension. Customers can also contact us to discuss a range of other options including reviewing their level of cover to ensure it best suits their current needs. Customers applying for financial support will be requested to present proof of hardship including documents outlining their JobSeeker or JobKeeper payments or other government support payments.

    Medibank and ahm have announced more than $180 million in support to customers throughout the COVID-19 period, including:

    • Postponing premium increases to 1 October 2020.
    • Extending extras to include telehealth services for 7 allied health services such as psychology and physiotherapy.
    • Paying benefits towards chest, heart, lung and kidney hospital admissions, including those related to COVID-19, regardless of an existing customer’s level of hospital cover – benefiting 1 million Medibank and ahm customers.
    • Launching COVID-19 Health Assist, a program of customised health and wellbeing support for customers, including the most vulnerable.
    • Introducing Live Better at Home to give all Australians access to a free online program of work out videos, cooking demonstrations and guided meditations, and partnering with Smiling Mind on a program to help foster positive mental health habits among Australian families.
    • Donating $5 million to Beyond Blue for its new COVID-19 mental wellbeing and support service.
    • Extending access to Medibank’s 24/7 nurse and mental health lines.
    • ahm is rolling over any unused extras annual limits, excluding optical and non-annual limits, valued at around $10 million, into the following year.
    • We provided 400 nurses to run the national COVID line.
    • With a team of more than 1300 health professionals, we are ready to support the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 response.

    Additional information:

    New Medibank and ahm customers will be required to serve a 3-month waiting period before accessing the hardship policy.

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