25
March
2020
|
05:51
Australia/Melbourne

Bupa supports customers during COVID-19 pandemic with new telehealth cover

Update 29 March 2020 - Bupa delays premium increase for all customers. See more here.

 

Summary

Australia’s largest health insurer, Bupa, has announced customers will soon be covered for a number of ancillary health services delivered through telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will mean customers who have cover for these services and were already receiving treatment will be able to continue to receive care through video conferencing or phone consultation, where clinically appropriate.

The initiative would see cover provided for psychology, physiotherapy, counselling, occupational therapy, speech pathology and dietetics. Additional services may be added following further discussions and decisions with the Department of Health regarding telehealth consultations.

Dr Dwayne Crombie, Managing Director Health Insurance said supporting customers during the COVID-19 pandemic was of the utmost importance.

“Continuity of treatment is vital for achieving optimal patient outcomes, so we will be temporarily funding video and telephone consultations for customers who are at this time unable to access face-to-face consultations with their providers and practitioners,” said Dr Crombie.

“Our customers are at the forefront of our thinking and we are doing what we can to support alternative delivery methods for some of the services they rely on for their health and wellbeing.

“Whilst we will fund these services, we also know that telehealth is not appropriate for all treatments and in many cases face-to-face consultations will still be needed.”

Bupa will be working with industry groups and associations to ensure appropriate guidelines are in place for healthcare providers, and customers will be given more information once the claims process is in place. The program is scheduled to run until 30 June however Bupa will review the situation with relevant stakeholders and regulators before that date to ascertain the potential for extension or an expansion of the services offered.

Bupa is also working to establish guidelines around a financial hardship offering for customers, with details to be announced in coming days.