We know everyone is pretty confused right now and that the news is grimmer than usual. We’re here to offer any help we can. Read our health tips to help you and your loved ones deal with the COVID-19 crisis as best as possible.
Frequently asked questions:
No, they’re not! Peoplecare wants to do everything we can to help our members through this tough time. So your premiums will stay the same for the next 6 months, until 1 October 2020.
You don’t have to do anything, it will all happen automatically.
We want to help our members in a whole range of different ways, including:
COVID-19 covered on all Peoplecare hospital covers for members who joined before 31 March 2020.
Telehealth/video consults benefits on their extras cover for psychologists, physio, occupational therapy, speech therapy and dietetics (same benefits as usual, same rules).
Health programs included on ALL levels of hospital cover. Get access to fantastic programs that give you real help for everything from mental health to some of the biggest health conditions like heart disease, osteoarthritis and diabetes.
Yes, all our health programs are now included for all members with hospital cover.
There will be no waiting periods for members who joined Hospital cover before 31 March 2020.
Waiting periods of 2 months (or 12 months for pre-existing conditions) apply for members who joined after 31 March 2020.
Peoplecare is proud to cover COVID-19 on all hospital covers for members who joined before 31 March 2020.
If you’ve recently switched to Peoplecare from another hospital cover within 30 days and have served your two-month waiting period there, you will be covered for COVID-19 hospital admissions.
New joiners and upgrades to hospital cover will need to serve a two-month waiting period before they’re covered for COVID-19 treatment in hospital. All other waiting periods apply.
Note: During the COVID-19 crisis, it’s likely that public and private hospitals will be seeing unprecedented demand and this may affect access for both public and private patients.
Our usual joining process applies. If you join after 31 March 2020 and you don’t already have cover with another fund, a 2 month waiting period applies for Coronavirus and there are a range of other waiting periods up to 12 months.
During the COVID-19 crisis, it’s likely that public and private hospitals will be seeing unprecedented demand and this may affect access for members.
Your doctor and hospital will be able to provide more information about the surgeries going ahead.
Starting from Monday 27 April 2020, government restrictions on elective surgeries will be relaxed, which means more elective surgeries can go ahead including:
Category 1 Elective surgery
Urgent: (Clinically Indicated within 30 days)
Going ahead now
Category 2 Elective surgery
Semi-urgent: (Clinically Indicated within 90 days)
Some going ahead now, and restrictions will be lifted on the rest from 27 April 2020
Category 3 Elective surgery
Non-urgent: (Clinically Indicated within 365 days)
Some will be going ahead from 27 April 2020 including:
• IVF; • screening programs; • post-cancer reconstruction; • some dental surgeries; • joint replacements; • cataracts and eyes; • endoscopy, colonoscopy; and • procedures for children under 18.
The impact of COVID-19 will be different in different geographic areas, depending on their demand for COVID-19 hospital beds.
This means hospitals in your area might not be impacted in the same way or at the same time as hospitals in other regions.
Importantly, treatment and beds are assigned by the hospital and the doctor depending on your health needs.
More Category 3 elective surgeries will be scheduled again when the government gives the go ahead.
There will be disruption in the healthcare system for a while to come yet, and we’re working with government and health providers to do the best for our members and the community.
If you're admitted to a hospital as a private patient, that’s where private health insurance kicks in and you can claim as normal. If you go to emergency and are treated but not actually admitted into hospital, health funds are unable to cover the fee by law. If you go to emergency and need to be admitted into hospital, you can claim your hospital stay, but not the emergency visit.
Our Peoplecarers are following the government’s ‘social distancing’ guidelines right now, so most of our fabulous staff are working from home and are ready to help you with your health cover.
Simply use your Peoplecare card when paying for your service. If you need to do a photo claim, use our app.
As part of our social distancing efforts, our office is closed to visitors and this includes our front counter. You can still drop off claims or other paper transactions at our special lock box at the front door, or you can contact us:
Any dental/optical emergencies should go to Wollongong Hospital or Shellharbour hospital.
The COVID-19 situation is an unprecedented crisis in Australia and the government’s doing what it can to expand the healthcare system to look after everyone.
Your private health cover is just as important as ever.
We’ll still be covering our members in both public and private hospitals for many elective and emergency surgeries going ahead according to Government advice.
We’re continuing to offer our full range of services and benefits for members and have extended our coverage to include:
Telehealth and video consults for Extras cover (psychology, physio, occupational therapy, speech therapy and dietetics)
Telephone based health programs on all our hospital covers
Hospital in the Home and Rehab in the Home on all our hospital covers
Health info on our website
It’s important to maintain your cover as many elective surgeries are being rescheduled.
No, health funds aren’t allowed to cover you overseas, so this is a question for your travel Insurer. As long as you maintain your health cover, we’ll be here when you get back.
It’s important to know the situation is changing quickly and that the rules and arrangements for travel insurance might have changed recently. We strongly recommend you review government advice and talk with your travel insurer during this time.
Tip 1. Be kind to each other
We’re all in this together, we might as well take care of each other. That’s the most important thing at the moment.
This is mainly a health crisis, but the impacts will touch more than just our toilet tickets and our isolation. A bit of kindness and community spirit will go a long way to making sure we reduce the harm that comes from Coronavirus.
Like hands-on kindness? Meals on Wheels NSW is after volunteers. We’re sure they’d appreciate your support if you’re able to help in any way.
Isolation is only intended to tackle Coronavirus. If anything, we need people struggling with mental health to be more connected than ever to friends and support services.
If you take medication already, don’t let Coronavirus interfere. Chemists are still open and if you’re out of scripts, call your doctor (doctors should be pretty accommodating under these circumstances).
Otherwise, telephone mental health services are fantastic. Here are some quality options:
The MindStep program: a 6-week one-on-one phone program to tackle anxiety and depression for our members on selected hospital covers.
Missing your personal trainer? Picking up too much couch time? Need a distraction? Need exercise?
Whatever your reasons, your mental health still needs the many benefits of exercise. Our staff are pretty keen on using apps to guide workouts (we value expertise and motivation). Here are some suggestions for you.
Nike Training Club: with 105 free no equipment workouts a 4-week bodyweight fitness plan and plenty more besides, what else do you need?
Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer: another similar option to the Nike app is available on Google Play and the App Store. It’s free and does similar things to the Nike app, just with less fancy graphics. Choose this if you don’t like Nike or don’t want celebrities and professional athletes dropping commentary on how much they LOVE this workout.
Daily Yoga: yoga lovers, there’s only one app you need. A swish, guided yoga app that comes in an ad-cluttered free version or a paid version. Worth a try on Google Play and the App Store.
Tip 5. Leave the vitamins on the shelves*
Unless you are taking folate supplements for pregnancy or have special health needs, vitamins aren’t going to help.
Health Direct is advising that most healthy people on a good diet don’t need vitamin supplements. Content doing the rounds on social media claiming that big doses of vitamins treat the symptoms of Coronavirus are false. Vitamin A and vitamin D can be toxic if you take too much, so there’s another reason to leave vitamins in stores and use the money for food and other essentials.
* This guidance comes from the Australian Government. Please follow the advice of your own doctor who will know your medical needs.
Tip 6. Video call your friends and family
We are social animals and we need contact with our loved ones. Get in touch and make a friend or rello smile every day with a video call. WhatsApp is a solid option, but feel free to use a video call service of your own choice.
Tip 7. Master working from home
Peoplecare started early work from home trials as the Coronavirus crisis began to unfold. Here’s what we learned:
Pick a fixed start and end time for your workdays. Keep to your routine as much as possible. Switching off is more important to your energy levels than staying switched on.
Prepare nutritious meals. A good diet is essential to your health. Use your home time wisely by making your own meals and you might even feel healthier than normal.
Exercise and stretch. Your kitchen chair was never designed for a full day’s slog. If our backs are going to survive working from home, we need to meet them halfway.
Check in with your colleagues. Daily video calls keep the smiles and connectedness going.
Tip 8. We’re still around to help
If you have any questions about your health cover or are having trouble making payments, you can call us on 1800 808 690 and we’re happy to chat about your options.
If you’re feeling sorry for yourself during COVID-19 (I’m guilty as charged), then spare a thought for Olympian and local Bulli legend Ryan Gregson. Ryan competes in gruelling middle-distance running. He’s the current Australian 1500 m record holder. If you’ve never watched the event, it’s like a 400-metre sprint that doesn’t end. Impressive but punishing stuff.
Hats off to parents trying to juggle this Coronavirus crisis with their families. Explaining changes in routine, the social distancing, the necessary introduction of more than "that's yucky" to the conversation with kids must be a trying process. All while not freaking them out, mind you.