During these changing times due to COVID-19, your health and safety remain our number one priority. Bupa are closely monitoring government advice and regularly updating our teams to assist you. We’re also preparing for future developments to ensure the health and safety of you, our residents and our people.
Now, more than ever before, we know our Health Insurance members need more from us. So here’s what we’re doing right now to help you and your family.
COVID-19 and the impacts to your health insurance
In March 2020, Bupa advised that we had delayed the 1 April premium increase for six months to provide immediate relief to all our customers at a time of uncertainty. We also announced $50m of financial hardship relief for customers most impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19. The return of elective surgery in hospitals and health services such as dental and physio means we have seen our customers use their health insurance cover back at pre-COVID levels.
We have continued to support our customers’ health needs through a range of measures including making sure ALL customers with a hospital policy are covered for lung and chest conditions, including those arising from COVID-19 related claims, as well as expanding our Extras benefits/services to include claims for psychology, speech pathology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and dietetic services delivered through telehealth, while at home.
We appreciate that people are looking for certainty at the moment, but we’re still working through all the options as we adjust to the ‘new normal’. Whatever happens, we promise to keep you up to date and will continue to offer our customers financial support if they need it.
Video and phone consultation for selected Extras services
Benefits for Telehealth Extras services are here to stay. We know some people are not able to attend face-to-face consultations with their providers and want to help our customers receive treatment virtually where it’s appropriate for them.
Customers can claim psychology, counselling, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, exercise physiology, dietetics services and antenatal/postnatal midwife consults delivered via delivered via Telehealth (using phone or video conference).
If you have cover for these services and have served your waiting periods, you’ll be able to claim for care received through a video or telephone consultation from a Bupa recognised provider where clinically appropriate.
Full details at Bupa telehealth consultation.
Am I covered for coronavirus?
Yes, in response to COVID-19, we have added Lung and Chest cover to our Basic and Basic Plus policies from 26 March 2020. This means private patient hospital admissions for Lung and Chest conditions, which includes most COVID-19 related treatments, are included on ALL our hospital policies during this time.
Overseas Visitor and Overseas Student are also included, please see our International COVID-19 FAQ
Are your contact details up to date?
It's important that we keep in touch with all members throughout the COVID-19 situation. The fastest way for us to keep in touch is via SMS or email. Please update your contact details in myBupa and change your preferences to email. Registering on myBupa is quick and simple – and all you need is your membership number.
Quick answers to common questions:
Do I still need private health insurance if I can’t use it?
We understand that this is a difficult time for all of our customers and that many people are looking to reduce costs where possible. It's important to remember that while some services may be reduced for the moment in some states, most Bupa members still have access to treatment in a private hospital for the services included on their cover, with their choice of doctor - along with cover for emergency situations.
Full details at do I still need health insurance?
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
We encourage people with even the mildest of symptoms including fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of sense of smell to get tested.
In more severe cases the virus can cause pneumonia and death. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with respiratory disease.
For more information about coronavirus, including how to check for symptoms, use the healthdirect Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker.
Please ring and let your doctor know about your symptoms and your travel or contact history. Or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for further instructions.
How can I protect myself?
It is very important all Australians keep doing all the important things they are doing to prevent the coronavirus spreading:
- Everyone in the state of Victoria must wear a face covering whenever they leave home unless an exemption applies. People in NSW should consider wearing a face mask in situations where physical distancing is not possible.
- Keep a distance (more than 1.5m) from others, particularly from anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing
- Respiratory etiquette i.e. coughing and sneezing into tissues or your upper sleeve. Dispose of tissues immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Performing hand hygiene i.e. regularly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand rubs if soap and water are not available
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Where can I find out the latest information?
Can I still go to the dentist in Australia?
There are some restrictions applicable to Victorian practices. See below for more details.
In all other areas, yes you can visit the dentist. When visiting our practices, please ensure you are healthy and not isolating, either with COVID-19 or as a close contact of someone with COVID-19. We're open with strict safety measures and able to take appointments for all your dental care needs, whether a preventive dental check-up, or treatment that you were mid-way through or would like to commence. Patients may be asked pre-screening questions when booking their treatment to determine if there is any risk.
Visiting the dentist in Metropolitan Melbourne
The Victoria Government has announced eased restrictions for dental practices in metro Melbourne from 29 September. We are open for patients to receive all treatments including:
- Routine examinations
- Restorative treatment
- Orthodontic care
Please be assured dentists continue to have strict measures in place to protect your health and safety. Patients will be asked pre-screening questions when confirming your booking and arriving at the practice to determine you are healthy and not isolating, either with COVID-19 or as a close contact of someone with COVID-19. There is also a mandatory temperature check upon arrival and each of our practices follows a COVIDSafe Plan. When arriving at your appointment and while in the waiting area, please make sure you wear your face mask covering. Face masks or face coverings are still a Government mandate, so we will not be able to let anyone into our practice who isn't wearing one.
What about optical appointments?
For our Bupa Optical customers, stores (excluding Victorian stores) will offer our usual eye care services. Our Bupa Optical & Hearing stores in Victoria will be closed until further notice.
If you don’t visit a Bupa Optical practice, please call them before your appointment.
I have a visa medical examination coming up, should I still go?
What about aged care residents and their families?
Where do I find information about COVID-19 as an international customer on OVC or OSHC?
Visit our page designed specifically for our International Students and Overseas Visitors.
What does the elective surgery pause in Victoria mean?
The Victorian Government announced additional limits on elective surgeries in public and private hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne, Mitchell Shire and Regional Victoria. This is to ensure increased spare beds and workforce capacity in preparation for increased health system needs due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
Where possible, Category 3 and non-urgent Category 2 surgery which is already booked may still take place, however that will be at the hospital’s discretion. No new non-urgent surgeries will be booked.
New bookings are limited to Category 1 and the most urgent Category 2 surgeries. IVF treatments such as egg retrievals will be able to continue given the time critical nature of these procedures and minimal impact on hospital capacity.
If you have surgery planned, please check with your surgeon and hospital to confirm it is proceeding.
Patients undertaking elective surgery will be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) days prior to surgery.
In all other states elective surgery is continuing as normal. If you have any questions, please contact us on 134 135.