nib says it is urging members to stay engaged with their healthcare specialists with many offering consultations via telehealth, including over the phone or video conferencing.
The insurer said it will pay benefits for a number of telehealth services including psychology, occupational therapy, dietetics, speech therapy and podiatry.
According to group chief medical officer, Dr Mellissa Naidoo, "We want to make sure our members can still get the treatment they need and attend their appointments, to stay on track with their health.
"Telehealth, which is simply the use of technology to provide remote healthcare, can keep people connected with health professionals to help them maintain health, manage chronic conditions and even prevent unnecessary hospital visits during these tough times.”
Many doctors, specialists and allied health professionals are now offering virtual consultations as an alternative to traditional face to face clinic visits.
"If you or perhaps your child, are on a treatment program, for example with a physiotherapist or speech pathologist, you can keep that going using telehealth," said Dr Naidoo. "It's important to be able to continue to make progress against your planned health goals, and not fall behind.
"We are all doing the right thing to reduce the spread of coronavirus by staying at home, physical distancing and avoiding unnecessary outings, but it's also important to ensure that people with chronic disease continue to attend appointments related to their ongoing health needs. Technology can enable that, and we are keen to support access in this way."
Until 30 June 2020, nib members with Extras cover can access several telehealth services where their cover includes them, including psychology, physiotherapy, dietetics, speech pathology, occupational therapy, exercise physiology and podiatry
"We encourage members to check with their provider if they are able to offer a telehealth consultation for their next appointment. Alternatively, we've also put together a list of telehealth providers across the country on our website,” added Dr Naidoo.