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COVID-19: How to access and claim on telehealth appointments

4 minute read

As we all pitch in to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) by staying at home, many of us are looking for ways we can still access the healthcare we use regularly without leaving the house.

At nib, we’re passionate about making sure you continue prioritising your health needs, even in the toughest of times, which is why we’re now paying benefits towards telehealth appointments as an alternative to your traditional in-clinic consultations.

Keen to find out more? We’ve answered some of the biggest questions you might have about telehealth and claiming on your nib policy.

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is a virtual consultation via phone or video conferencing, instead of a traditional in-clinic consult. In the past, access to telehealth has been limited, but nib has offered the technology as an option to help our members in remote areas access healthcare, as well as to help members recover and rehabilitate after a hospital procedure in their own home using our Clinical Partners program.

Now this telehealth technology is becoming even more accessible as many of us are opting to stay at home to minimise our risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. Some doctors, specialists and allied health professionals are now offering telehealth consultations, so you are still able to have your regular appointments and receive the support you need for your health concerns without physically attending a clinic.

How do I use telehealth?

One of the best parts of telehealth is that you probably already have all of the equipment you need to use it! Depending on your health practitioner, you may be requested to use video calling (through Skype, FaceTime or another program) – some may even offer to do the consult over a standard phone call.

It’s a good idea to check in with your healthcare professional before the appointment to make sure you’re all set up and familiar with the program they recommend.

Australian residents: Can I use my nib private health insurance benefits to claim on telehealth appointments?

nib members who carry a level of extras cover which pays benefits for psychology, physiotherapy, dietetics, speech pathology, occupational therapy, exercise physiology and podiatry, and hospital cover for rehabilitation care, will be able to use their cover to claim on appropriate treatment via telehealth appointments1. nib will cover appropriate treatment using telehealth for eligible members as a temporary measure that will be in place until 30 June 2020, however we’ll be reviewing the pandemic situation to determine if this date should be extended.

For more information and a list of FAQs, head to our page: telehealth and your cover.

International students and workers: Can I use my nib cover to claim telehealth appointments?

We want international students and workers to be able to stay as healthy as possible, while adhering to the government’s social distancing recommendations. So, for some health services, you’ll be able to claim benefits on telehealth appointments2.

In line with changes introduced by the Australian Government, we offer benefits for telehealth services including GP and psychology consultations. As long as you’re already covered for the service, you'll be able to claim on a telehealth consultation in the same way you would for a face-to-face visit3.

Telehealth consultations are offered only when it is clinically appropriate, so not all providers will make it available to all patients. We recommend giving your health professional a call to check before making an appointment.

For more information, check out our page: telehealth and your cover

How do I know whether my practitioner offers telehealth consultations?

The best way to find out whether your doctor, specialist or allied health practitioner provides telehealth consultations is to contact them directly; they’ll also be able to advise if your condition is appropriate for a telehealth consultation. The important thing to remember is that a telehealth consultation may not be recommended for everyone and there are times when it’s essential you go into a medical clinic to see your healthcare professional for a face-to-face consult.

How do I claim benefits for my telehealth appointment?

Claiming nib benefits on your eligible telehealth appointment is easy and the quickest way to do it is by using the nib App or Online Services on your computer, phone or tablet. Your health practitioner should send you a receipt for your consultation (likely via email). Simply upload this receipt and submit it. For more on claiming check out out page: How to make a claim.

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing is essential, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why we’ve extended psychology benefits to all nib members with Extras cover until 30 June. For more information, visit our COVID-19 mental health support page.

For more information about the coronavirus relating to your nib health insurance policy, please visit COVID-19 and your cover.

If you’d like to find out more about how we're supporting our members through this difficult and uncertain time, please visit our COVID-19 member support package.

1Subject to your chosen level of cover, policy exclusions, waiting periods and limits. For some services, only individual telehealth consultations are covered for telehealth.

2Subject to your chosen level of cover, policy exclusions, waiting periods and limits. For some services, only individual telehealth consultations are covered for telehealth.

3Before claiming for psychology and other mental health consultations you must have an approved mental health plan provided by a GP.

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