GMHBA: Pandemic highlights the importance of PHI

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GMHBA general manager of Private Health Insurance, Tony Hall, says the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the value of private health insurance.

"With elective surgeries cancelled, losses of jobs or income and most Australians now confined to home, it is understandable that many may start to question or review ongoing expenses, especially ones in which the perceived value may have decreased at this time," said Mr Hall.

However, he continued, access to the best health care and quality health cover has never been more important.

"It’s important to remember that 50 per cent of admissions into private hospitals are not elective," he said, adding while elective surgery has been restricted during the pandemic, GMHBA anticipates the same volumes of urgent and emergency admissions in the private system.

"People in the community will still need hospital treatment for diseases and illnesses apart from COVID-19, and private health insurance will still cover them for these treatments," he said.

"GMHBA will continue to fund vital treatments and surgeries including heart failure, cardiac surgery, infants at risk, neurosurgery, dialysis, mental health, pregnancy, oncology and chemotherapy treatment to name a few. And members are still able to choose their own specialist for continuity of care.

"If GMHBA members are admitted to hospital for treatment, they still have the option of electing to be treated as a private patient.

"This also includes for COVID-19, as we have confirmed as part of our member support package that GMHBA will cover all members with hospital cover for COVID-19 related hospitalisations, regardless of their level of cover," said Mr Hall.

Mr Hall said private hospital admissions may actually rise during the pandemic as a way to free up more resources in public hospitals.

"We also expect an uplift of non-COVID-19 related private hospital admissions for our more vulnerable community members, such as the elderly, at this time," he said.

Mr Hall added, "GMHBA will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and determine how we can best assist and support our members over both the short and long term.

"Although life is very different for all Australians right now, what hasn’t changed is GMHBA’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of our members and the true value of private health insurance."