Medibank and ahm extend customer support package postponing 1 April premium increase
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Since we announced we were postponing premium increases, we’ve been working to apply this change to our 3.7 million customers’ accounts. Unfortunately, some payments have gone through without the new increase being removed. This will be corrected as a credit on the next payment. We're really sorry for the confusion and distress this may have caused.
In recognition of the escalating economic and health crisis related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Medibank and ahm have decided to extend our customer support package and postpone the 1 April premium increase for 6 months.
Last week, Medibank and ahm announced an initial support package which expanded coverage for almost 1 million existing customers for chest, heart, lung and kidney hospital admissions related to the coronavirus across all levels of hospital cover, including Basic and Bronze where currently excluded. Medibank and ahm also introduced a financial hardship policy allowing customers to suspend their policy or access relief on their premium payments as a result of the coronavirus.
By postponing the 1 April premium increase, we will be providing financial relief to all our 3.7 million customers, not just those customers that need immediate support as a result of the coronavirus.
The increase will be postponed for 6 months, with growth in demand for non-emergency elective surgery and the impact of the coronavirus on the Australian health system to be reassessed by health funds in conjunction with the Department of Health prior to the 6 months.
Medibank CEO Craig Drummond said:
“There is nothing normal about the way we are living and working right now.
“The coronavirus is presenting us with the most significant health and economic challenge this country has seen in 100 years.
“That calls for extraordinary measures from all of us.
“Our customers are confronted with enormous uncertainty and profound stress, while some have already faced the stark reality of losing their jobs. Nothing could have prepared Australian households for this.
“While we announced an initial support package last week valued at more than $50 million, we are pleased to take this even further by postponing the 1 April premium increase for our customers for 6 months. This will be one less burden our customers have to worry about.
“Premiums for Medibank and ahm customers will be automatically adjusted over the coming weeks, and regular updates will be posted on our websites.
“We hope these initiatives go some way to relieve the understandable stress, fear and anxiety our customers are experiencing, and consistent with what we said earlier this week, any further benefit from lower claims, including from the cancellation of non-urgent elective surgery will be returned to customers.
“Medibank remains well placed to manage this event.
“We are working hard to support our customers, our community and our people.”
Medibank’s support package also includes:
• From 30 March, Medibank and ahm customers with extras cover that includes psychology will be able to claim for teleconsultations with psychologists
• Medibank and ahm are also looking into extending benefit payments to some other allied health professions where telehealth can be delivered effectively as an alternative to a face-to-face consultation
• Introducing additional clinical support systems for customers with coronavirus who are in self isolation at home as well as customers with chronic and complex health conditions
• Continuing to encourage Medibank customers to access our 24/7 Medibank Nurse and Mental Health Phone Support lines
• Launched Live Better at Home to help Australians prioritise their health as more people spend time at home
• Donated $5 million to Beyond Blue to support their vital work to help Australians deal with the growing mental health impact of the coronavirus
• Introduced 2 weeks special coronavirus leave (fully paid leave for any Medibank and ahm team member permanent, fixed term or casual)
• Employed and trained an additional 400 new nurses in recent weeks to join the nation’s response to the coronavirus – to meet the increasing demand from Australians for national coronavirus helpline services
• And 1800RESPECT, which Medibank delivers on behalf of the Australian Government, will continue to operate as per usual during the coronavirus emergency, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For those in an unsafe situation, any social isolation that may come as a result of the coronavirus could increase the risk of violence and abuse