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COVID-19 (coronavirus) and your cover

We've announced a COVID-19 support package to help provide immediate assistance and relief for our members.

We’ll be updating this page regularly to provide you with the most up-to-date information. This means we may add more frequently asked questions and update answers as the situation evolves.

It’s now more important than ever to keep informed on the ways that we can all do our bit to slow the spread of the virus. To help you with questions you may have about your health cover, we’ve put together these frequently asked questions.

For more information about your cover, you can log in online or check your nib App. If you'd prefer to speak to someone, please head to our Contact page. For government and World Health Organisation resources about the Coronavirus, please see our Useful links.

Australian resident FAQs

International student FAQs

International workers FAQs

Australian Residents

The following FAQs apply to Australian residents who have nib health cover. For more information, call us on 13 16 42.

Will my premium still change on April 1?

We've postponed our premium increase for at least six months. We want to make sure you can access essential health services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, without more financial pressure.

You don't need to contact us to have your change postponed - it will be done automatically. We'll also be directly contacting you soon with more information on how this affects you and to outline our other member support options.

Does my health insurance cover COVID-19?

To support our members, we've temporarily expanded coverage for chest, lung, kidney or other treatment related to COVID-19 across all levels of Hospital cover at no additional cost, even on Basic and Bronze Hospital covers where these treatments are currently excluded, until the crisis passes. You'll just need to have served the standard two-month waiting period before requiring treatment.

Along with other health insurers across Australia, any treatment for COVID-19 as an outpatient that is covered by Medicare will not be covered by nib.

Can I access additional mental health support?

To support the mental health of our members, we’ve temporarily expanded cover for psychology to eligible members until 30 June 2020. For more information, visit Mental health support through COVID-19.

Can I suspend my cover if I’m financially impacted by COVID-19?

Yes you can. We’ve also made some temporary changes to our suspension policy to help our members through this difficult time. Visit our Suspension page for more information.

Does my health insurance cover doctors’ appointments?

Health insurers in Australia are unable to cover out-patient services covered by Medicare, such as GP visits. This means nib does not cover doctors’ appointments for Australian residents, including appointments via video.

Can I claim on telehealth consultations?

Temporarily, yes, but not on all services. For more information, visit Telehealth and your cover.

Am I covered for pathology tests for COVID-19?

Health insurers are unable to pay for pathology tests in an out-patient setting as these are covered by Medicare. It's best to check with Medicare to determine what pathology tests are covered and if you may experience an out of pocket cost.

If you have Hospital cover that provides cover for your treatment, have served your waiting periods (including waiting periods for any Pre-Existing Conditions) and are admitted to hospital as an inpatient, your pathology tests will be covered.

Will my health insurance cover a vaccine if/when one is developed?

If your Extras cover includes Pharmaceutical Prescriptions, we’ll pay benefits towards the cost of medicines prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner and dispensed by either a doctor, pharmacy or licensed Chemist that is registered with us.

We’ll pay a Pharmaceutical Prescriptions benefit when the medicine is:

  • listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG);
  • listed within the Poisons Standard; and as 4 or 8
  • not subsidised or claimable through the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits.

If the vaccine meets these criteria, then nib will cover the vaccine when available under Extras cover that includes the Pharmaceutical Prescriptions benefit.

Will COVID-19 be considered a pre-existing condition?

A Pre-Existing Condition (PEC) is an ailment, illness, or condition where, in the view of nib’s fund appointed Medical Practitioner, signs or symptoms relating to that condition existed during the 6 months prior to joining private Hospital cover, or upgrading to a higher level of private Hospital cover. Any future claims for complications arising from COVID-19 will be assessed in line with our pre-existing illness policy, with nib’s appointed Medical Practitioner to make a final determination at the time of enquiry.

If my planned public hospital procedure needs to be moved to a private hospital, will I be covered?

You are entitled to receive benefits for services covered on your product, as long as you have served your waiting periods. You should always check what you're covered for before you go to hospital and contact us so we can help you keep any extra expenses to a minimum.

Given the impact of COVID-19, the typical timeframe to receive treatment within a private hospital may be impacted. This is something that you may need to discuss with your GP or specialist closer to the planned date of your admission.

Will there be any changes to my upcoming procedure?

The Australian Government has announced that a number of elective surgeries have recommenced. The following procedures have been reintroduced:

  • IVF
  • Screening programs (cancer and other diseases)
  • Post cancer reconstruction procedures (such as breast reconstruction)
  • Procedures for children under 18 years of age
  • Joint replacements (hips, knees, shoulders)
  • Cataracts and eye procedures
  • Endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures

The reintroduction of elective surgeries is determined by clinicians, so we encourage you to contact your surgeon and hospital to discuss any treatment or surgery. Access to dental care has also changed.

For more information, read Government eases elective surgery restrictions from the Department of Health.

Is it safe to go to the dentist or the physio?

Recent changes by the Australian Government have meant that dentists can now offer some services, such as basic fillings and fitting braces, where the risk of transmission can be safely managed.

If you have any upcoming appointments with the dentist, physio or any other health provider we recommend contacting your provider for any COVID-19 related questions. For more information about managing your risk of infection, visit our article The Coronavirus: What is COVID-19 and how can I protect myself? on The Check Up.

For more information on the Australian management of the outbreak, travel restrictions and advice contact the National Coronavirus Health Line on 1800 020 080 or: https://www.health.gov.au/news/coronavirus-update-at-a-glance

International Students

The following FAQ's apply to students who have nib OSHC cover. For more information, call us on 1800 775 204 or email us at [email protected]

I’m no longer coming to Australia, can I cancel my OSHC cover?

Yes – for more information about cancelling your policy, visit our OSHC Refund page.

I haven’t been able to return to Australia due to travel bans and my course has started – what should I do?

If you are still coming to Australia to study but need to change your policy dates please supply a Confirmation of Enrolment confirming your new dates or once you arrive to supply your flight details so we can adjust your policy dates Accordingly. For more information, visit our OSHC Refund page.

If I have COVID-19 symptoms and want to visit a GP Doctor, will it be covered by my OSHC cover?

If you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, we recommend that you phone the 24/7 health direct number 1800 022 222 and speak with a nurse regarding your symptoms.

If you require treatment by a GP, visits to a GP are covered at 100% of the government-recommended fee (known as the ‘MBS’). Search for a preferred provider to find a doctor near you that will help minimise any expenses.

In response to COVID-19, the Australian Government has introduced new MBS items, which will allow people to access essential health services in their home while they undergo self- isolation or quarantine, and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for vulnerable people in the community. This is a temporary six-month measure. OSHC members who are isolating themselves at home for COVID-19 will be able to claim for services from any eligible telehealth provider through the new telehealth items. For more information, please see https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/covid-19-national-health-plan-primary-care-bulk-billed-mbs-telehealth-services_0.pdf

Can I claim on telehealth consultations?

Temporarily, yes, but not on all services. For more information, visit Telehealth and your cover.

Am I covered for pathology tests for COVID-19?

For outpatient services such as pathology where the treatment is not part of a hospital stay, you will be covered for 85% of the MBS rate of the service. You must include a valid item number on the receipt to make a claim.

Will I be covered if I need to go to hospital?

If you need to be admitted to hospital, and you don’t have any pre-existing conditions the following is applicable:

  • If you are admitted to an nib agreement private hospital, we will pay 100% of the contracted rate.
  • If you are admitted to a private hospital that is not contracted to nib, we will pay the default benefit. This may result in significant out-of-pocket expenses.
  • If you are admitted to a shared ward in a public hospital, we will pay 100% of the Gazetted Rate determined by State and Territory health authorities. This may result in you experiencing significant out-of-pocket expenses.

It is important you read the nib OSHC product fact sheet to know what you are covered for. It is important that you check your benefit entitlement with nib before going into hospital by calling 1800 775 204.

Will COVID-19 be considered a pre-existing condition?

A Pre-Existing Condition (PEC) is an ailment, illness, or condition where, in the view of nib’s appointed Medical Practitioner, signs or symptoms relating to that condition existed during the 6 months prior to arriving in Australia . Any future claims for complications arising from COVID-19 will be assessed in line with our pre-existing illness policy, with nib’s appointed Medical Practitioner to make a final determination at the time of enquiry.

Am I covered for prescription medications to help my recovery from COVID-19?

nib will help you pay for some prescription medications.

You are able to claim up to $50 per prescription item listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), after you pay the PBS Patient contribution. You can claim up to $300 per person per calendar year, capped at $600 for families.

If I’m self-isolating, will food and accommodation expenses be covered by my OSHC cover?

No – there are no benefits payable for food or accommodation on your OSHC cover. Your cover is there to assist you with medical expenses only.

International Workers

The following FAQ's apply to workers who have nib OVHC cover. For more information, call us on 1800 775 204 or email us at [email protected]

Who should I contact if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

If you're showing symptoms of COVID-19, we recommend that you phone the 24/7 health direct number on 1800 022 222 and speak with a nurse regarding your symptoms.

For details on the Australian Government’s National Health Plan concerning COVID-19, please see the Australian Government’s website.

Where do I get tested/treated?

If a GP deems testing for COVID-19 is necessary, they will direct you to the appropriate hospitals or testing centres.

Can I claim on telehealth consultations?

Temporarily, yes, but not on all services. For more information, visit Telehealth and your cover.

Does my health insurance cover doctors’ appointments?  

Depending on your level of cover, Doctor and GP cover may apply:

GP CoverageNo GP Coverage
nib Basic Visitornib Budget Visitor
IMAN Basic CoverIMAN Visitor
IMAN Value Plus VisitorIMAN Budget Visitor
IMAN Mid Visitor
IMAN Top Visitor

Download our nib App to check your level of cover.

Am I covered for pathology tests for the Coronavirus/COVID-19?

Depending on your level of cover, Pathology cover may apply:

Pathology CoverageNo Pathology Coverage
nib Basic Visitornib Budget Visitor
IMAN Basic VisitorIMAN Visitor
IMAN Value Plus VisitorIMAN Budget Visitor
IMAN Mid Visitor
IMAN Top Visitor

Download our nib App to check your level of cover.

What if I need to change my policy start date?

If you are still coming to Australia to work but need to change your policy start date please supply a copy of your new Visa Grant Notice or alternatively a copy of your record of movement from the Australian Department of Home Affairs to confirm that you haven’t arrived in the country. Please and email this to [email protected].

What if I need to cancel my policy as I am no longer coming to Australia to work?

If you are no longer coming to Australia or you have decided not to return to work, please supply send a visa cancellation notice and email this by email to [email protected]. We will cancel your policy on the date you notified us.

What if I need to suspend my policy?

For information about suspending your policy, visit our Suspension page for more information.

Will COVID-19 be considered a pre-existing condition?

A Pre-Existing Condition (PEC) is an ailment, illness, or condition where, in the view of nib’s appointed Medical Practitioner, signs or symptoms relating to that condition existed during the 6 months prior to arriving in Australia. Any future claims for complications arising from COVID-19 will be assessed in line with our pre-existing illness policy, with nib’s appointed Medical Practitioner to make a final determination at the time of enquiry.

If I have pre-existing conditions, will I be covered for COVID-19 in the first 12 months of my policy?

Members that have a pre-existing condition (unrelated to COVID-19) will be covered for COVID-19 if, in the view of nib’s appointed Medical Practitioner, signs or symptoms relating of COVID-19 did not exist during the 6 months prior to arriving in Australia.

Will there be any changes to my upcoming procedure?

The Australian Government has announced that a number of elective surgeries have recommenced.

The reintroduction of elective surgeries is determined by clinicians, so we encourage you to contact your surgeon and hospital to discuss any treatment or surgery. For more information, read Government eases elective surgery restrictions from the Department of Health.

Department of Health COVID-19 health alert: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Department of Health COVID-19 resources: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

healthdirect Symptom Checker: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/symptom-checker/tool/basic-details

Head to Health: https://headtohealth.gov.au

World Health Organisation Coronavirus latest updates: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080

Information correct as of 27 April, 2020.

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