Millions of dollars in savings for Medibank and ahm customers
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Medibank retail store
Medibank and ahm customers are benefiting from approximately $120 million in savings, or on average $70 per policyholder, from the postponement of premium increases for 6 months, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The postponement of premium increases for customers until 1 October 2020 is part of a broader assistance package that includes access to a hardship policy and expanded telehealth services.
Tens of thousands of customers had benefitted from the $50+ million financial hardship package launched in March.
Medibank CEO Craig Drummond said almost 24,000 customers had suspended their memberships for up to 3 months as a result of COVID-19.
“The overwhelming feedback from our customers is that keeping their health insurance is a priority, because they want peace of mind during this stressful and uncertain time,” Mr Drummond said.
“But for those who are experiencing severe financial distress, they are able to suspend their policy and get some premium relief. This gives our customers one less thing to worry about.”
Customers have also responded positively to the expansion of phone and video (telehealth) services to include 7 allied health services.
“We’ve seen demand for these telehealth services continue to grow over the last few weeks. In the most recent week, customers using telehealth services grew 50% week on week, with physiotherapy and psychology, the most popular services.
“Some of our customers are starting to embrace being able to claim phone or video appointments with their psychologist, physio or speech pathologist on their extras cover, but we’d encourage more of our customers to give it a go, so they can continue to get the care they need.
“It’s important that our customers continue to prioritise their health and wellbeing during this time. To help we created the Live Better at Home program, providing all Australians with access to a free online program of work out videos, cooking demonstrations and guided meditations to do in the comfort of their own home. We’ve had more than 126,000 views in the first 6 weeks of the program.
“At a time when COVID-19 has caused immense pressure in our community we continue to have a role to play to support our customers during this difficult time.
“Since the introduction of COVID-19 Health Assist last month, our team of health professionals has reached out to more than 1,000 vulnerable customers, to offer a review of their physical, mental and social needs. Customers have told us they are very grateful for the support they have received from this program,” he said.
Additionally, Medibank’s commitment remains to ensure that our customers are the beneficiaries during this unprecedented period.
“Medibank is continuing to explore all options to make sure that any permanent COVID-19 related benefits in excess of the current customer support package will be returned to our customers when they are known,” Mr Drummond said.
“With the reduction in utilisation of extras services during the COVID-19 isolation restrictions, these claims savings, at this stage, are expected to be offset by the initial customer support package and the premium postponement for 6 months.
“While it’s hard to know just yet exactly what the impact will be, it is currently intended that any additional permanent benefit from lower ancillary claims will be given to Medibank and ahm ancillary and package policyholders who have an active policy as at 30 June 2020.
“We also expect to see demand for elective surgery bounce back relatively quickly, now that the Australian Government has lifted restrictions on non-urgent elective surgery, with most customers having deferred rather than cancelled their scheduled surgery.
“Pleasingly, most extras services have now begun to reopen, so our customers will be able to access their usual level of face to face care shortly.”