Member Update May 2014

member-update-may-2014-header

member-update-may-2014-sub-header

Our Mobile Claiming app is here!

We have launched our Mobile Claiming app for members in both the App Store and Google Play Store. So if you have an Apple or Android device you can download the app and claim from your couch.

We’ve made the app simple and easy to use. Simply log in with your member number, name and email address, take a photo of your claim receipt, tick some boxes and click submit. Done! You’ll even get an email confirmation of your claim. It’s quick and convenient.

To download the app, search for ‘Defence Health’ in your device’s store.

Message from the CEO, Gerard Fogarty

Because private health insurance is so regulated, even minor changes can be difficult to understand. We received many calls from members after recent changes to the government rebate. Some members are more affected by changes than others – and we take every single member’s concerns seriously.

I mention this because there is a great deal of talk about the health sector in the media at the moment. The speculation about further potential changes the government might make to health funding understandably gets some people worried.

Whether it is co-payments for visits to the GP, increases to the Medicare Levy or the cost of prescribed medicine, it is clear the government is considering all options. There is even the suggestion that with amended legislation, private health insurers could potentially have greater scope in the health services we can cover.

The government is driven by the need to make savings to the health budget. I am driven by the desire to provide the best possible options for you and your family’s health care, at the most competitive price.

Defence Health is a not-for-profit insurer. So you can be assured of our commitment to return the best value insurance and benefits to you. It is my promise to always act and advocate in the best interests of members. So whatever changes may be down the track, you can be confident that Defence Health is batting for you.

If there are changes, we will keep you informed about how they impact you and what your options are. If you ever have any questions about your health insurance, we are only a phone call away. Or you can find up-to-date information on our website or contact us via our Facebook page. If you’re not sure about any aspect of your cover, then we’re here to help.

With the rising cost of health care and funding cuts by the government, your private health insurance is more important than ever before.

With my best wishes,
Gerard

Government rebate gets adjusted

The Australian Government rebate on private health insurance has been the fastest growing component of federal health expenditure. It’s grown from $1.4 billion when it was introduced in 1999, to $5.2 billion in 2012-13.

In 2012, the government began income testing eligibility for the rebate, with a sliding scale of rebate according to income. In 2013, the rebate was removed from the Lifetime Health Cover component of premiums. And from April 2014, the government is tying the rebate to the Consumer Price Index.

By linking the rebate to the rate of inflation – which is typically lower than the real cost of health care – federal budget savings will be made. The percentage of rebate as a proportion of your premium will diminish over time.

The government will adjust the rebate in April each year.

Make the most of your optical benefits

As announced in March, we’ve joined forces with two of the largest national optical networks – Specsavers and VSP Vision Care. Both Top Extras and Standard Extras members can choose from a range of no-gap single vision, bifocal and multifocal glasses from a network provider.

Specsavers and VSP Vision Care offer a superior deal for you and the convenience of a network that reaches far and wide across Australia. So you’re likely to find a local provider close to home or work.

Visit specsavers.com.au or vsp-australia.com.au to find your nearest store.

Prestigious award for one of our own

It’s official. Our north Queensland Regional Representative, Bruce Scott, is a champion!

BRIG Scott was recently presented with the US Legion of Merit award. This significant military medal, issued by President Barack Obama, is granted for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements”.

Bruce was deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months during 2010-11. During this time he “contributed significantly to the focus of multiple lines of operation within Afghanistan”.

The award citation continues “he was able to form an infrastructure that improved the Afghan National Security Forces by encouraging growth in governance, rule of law, economic development and increased education opportunities.”

He was instrumental in the development of the Afghan police force to a force of 39,000 by the time he left in 2011. His efforts were also recognised with a Commendation for Distinguished Service in the 2012 Queens Birthday Honours.

Congratulations Bruce!

Lifetime Health Cover deadline is near

It’s that time of year again, when 30-somethings need to think about taking out private hospital cover.

If you have any 30 year-olds in the family who are relying on nothing but their good health, then Lifetime Health Cover is something they need to factor in.

Lifetime Health Cover is designed to encourage the young ones to take out hospital cover early in life. For each year they wait after turning 30, a loading accrues (at 2% per year) and is added to the premium when they eventually take out cover.

The maximum loading is 70% and once a loading applies it is only removed after 10 years of cover.

The deadline to take out hospital cover is 30 June for 31 year-olds. ADF members are allowed 2 years and 364 days after discharge to take out hospital cover.

There is also the Medicare Levy Surcharge to consider. If your adult children are earning a good income (more than $90,000 per year for singles) and don’t have hospital cover, they’ll get hit with a higher tax bill.

Taking out private hospital cover is the only way to avoid Lifetime Health Cover and Medicare Levy Surcharge penalties.

Online Member Services

Online Member Services offers convenient access to your membership at any time of the day or night.

• You can now download and print your comprehensive claims history. This itemises all the benefits we’ve paid for hospital treatment, doctors’ fees and extras treatment in a given period. You might not recognise the names of every provider – but all the benefits we have paid on your behalf are there.

• You can review your annual extras limits. We recommend you check your limits regularly so you can make the most of available benefits and avoid claiming when your limits are exhausted. Remember, most extras limits re-set from 1 July.

Tax time is approaching

The documents you need to complete your tax return will be available from the Member Area of our website in the first week of July. We will also mail this information to you.

Please keep in touch

Please remember to keep all of your contact details up-to-date – including email address and bank accounts for receiving benefits or paying premiums. You can update your details on our Member website.

Or you can call us on 1800 335 425 and we will make any changes for you.

We’re on Facebook!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook for regular updates and reminders.

And the occasional cat photo.

You can also ask our Member Services team questions on there to make life easy for you.

Like it? Share with your friends.