Medibank and ahm boost access to telehealth during COVID-19 pandemic
Woman talking to health professional via telehealth
New options for extras, mental health and rehab
Medibank is rapidly increasing customers’ access to telehealth throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In response to social distancing, self-isolation and people wanting to stay at home, there is a need for new ways for customers to use their cover while helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 in their community.
To ensure they can receive the care they need in the safest possible way, Medibank and ahm customers with extras cover that includes services normally delivered face-to-face will be able to claim for a range of consultations delivered by phone or video.
The selected services are those where telehealth can be delivered effectively as an alternative to a face-to-face consultation.
These services include physiotherapy, dietetics, occupational therapy, podiatry, exercise physiology, and speech therapy. This follows the introduction of psychology telehealth on 30 March.
Medibank Chief Customer Officer David Koczkar said the decision reflects the need for customers to access treatment in a way that suits them and the current environment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Life is currently very different to what it used to be, but our customers are seeking to maintain treatment with their health professional,” Mr Koczkar said.
The option to have a teleconsultation gives our customers the opportunity to receive this care where available.
In addition, Medibank and ahm are funding hospitals to deliver their existing mental health and rehabilitation programs via telehealth to eligible customers with hospital cover.
“These programs provide valuable information, skills and support to our customers and it’s vital to keep this going, so we’re opening up the option for hospitals to deliver these services by telehealth,” he said.
The expansion of services to telehealth delivery does not impact customers’ access to face-to-face care where available.
Medibank and ahm recently introduced an initial customer support package valued in excess of $50 million. Regardless of an existing customer’s level of hospital cover, we will pay benefits towards chest, heart, lung and kidney hospital admissions related to COVID-19. This includes Basic and Bronze where currently excluded. This change has expanded coverage for almost one million existing customers.
Emergency surgery as well as category 1 and some category 2 elective surgeries are still being performed and customers should speak with their specialist or admitting hospital to find out how they may be affected.
All Medibank customers with hospital cover, and the majority of ahm customers with hospital cover, have access to Gold level hospital cover if they have an accident. All Medibank and most ahm customers, regardless of whether they have hospital or extras cover, continue to have access to unlimited emergency ambulance Australia-wide.
Extras – Both Medibank and ahm will pay benefits towards individual (one-on-one) telehealth consultations for selected services by 14 April 2020 through to 30 September 2020. Some conditions apply.
Mental health programs – Available to all eligible Medibank and ahm customers with resident and non-resident hospital cover at participating Members’ Choice hospitals from 1 April 2020 for an initial period of three months. Limited to sessional and half-day programs by both phone and video delivered as a one-on-one or group session.
Rehabilitation programs – Available to all eligible Medibank and ahm customers with resident and non-resident cover at participating Members’ Choice hospitals from 13 April 2020 for an initial period of three months. Limited to sessional and half-day one-on-one programs by video.
Find details about our COVID-19 Health Assist program for Medibank and ahm customers here