It’s natural to be concerned about the COVID-19 – or Coronavirus – global pandemic at the moment.
COVID-19 presents with flu-like symptoms including coughing, fever, fatigue, a sore throat, shortness of breath, and in more serious cases - pneumonia. You’ll find regular updates on the virus itself on the Department of Health’s website.
Most people diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to isolate themselves at home for as long as their GP advises. For those wanting to understand how/when their private hospital cover might be needed in more serious circumstances though, here’s what we know so far…
First thing's first, there’s no cure for Coronavirus - but medical care can treat most symptoms. If you suspect you have contracted COVID-19, it's important to telephone your GP or health clinic before you arrive and tell them your travel history and/or if you've been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus. The Government also have a Coronavirus hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which you can avail of on 1800 022 222.
If you're a domestic policyholder and you ARE admitted to hospital for treatment, it’s likely that you’ll start off in a public hospital and you’ll be covered by the public health system. Alternatively, if you hold private hospital insurance and you’d like to be moved to a private hospital, you can choose to request that instead and the hospital will discuss your options at their discretion.
In that instance, HIF Members will need to have held Hospital Cover at Bronze Plus level or higher for a minimum of two months already. This will ensure you’re covered for treatment under the ‘Lung and Chest’ clinical category, which includes respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, once the Government releases a Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) item number for this condition (based on updates from the Department of Health, this is expected to happen very soon).
A few important things to note at this point:
- If you’ve held Hospital Cover for less than two months at the time of diagnosis, benefits won’t be payable on any claims associated with COVID-19.
- If you do require ambulance transportation to hospital, you'll need to hold HIF Extras Cover to claim a benefit on that. Visit our ambulance cover page to view the benefits claimable for urgent and non-urgent callouts.
- If you’re later transferred from one hospital to another by ambulance, you’ll be required to cover that bill in full as per the terms of our ambulance cover.
- All information provided here is general advice only. You should consult your doctor if you begin to feel unwell or believe you've been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.
If you'd like to stay up to date on the latest news about COVID-19, here are some key links:
In the meantime, here are some handy tips on how to avoid the risk of infection:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser when you're on the go.
- Avoid hugging or shaking hands with friends and colleagues for a while.
- Minimise hand contact with your face.
- Where possible, reduce hand contact with outside surfaces.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who appears to have a fever, coughing, or shortness of breath.