Member Update May 2015

We hope you enjoy the May edition of our Member Update. Read about our ANZAC commemoration, website  improvements, our member referral offer, Access Gap, eye health andwhat we are doing to keep your premiums as low as possible.


ANZAC – we remember

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It’s 100 years since the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli. It has been a milestone anniversary for the Defence community and the whole nation.

To commemorate the occasion, we gave members the opportunity to honour those who served and continue to serve our nation by creating a personalised digital plaque.

Members who visited iwillremember.com.au could create a remembrance message for a family member, a friend, the ANZACs or the ADF in general. The plaque could then be uploaded to Facebook or downloaded and shared on Twitter or Instagram.

Don’t worry if you haven’t created your plaque yet, the website is still available for you to do so.

ANZAC Day is always a moving and important date on our calendar. This year it has been especially so. Thank you to everyone who reminded us exactly why the ANZAC spirit is so strong.

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Sharing really is caring

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It makes sense to share with the people you care about – plenty of your friends and family could be eligible for the same great value health insurance.

And until 31 July 2015, it’s more rewarding than ever for both you and new Defence Health members. You’ll be rewarded with a $50 Eftpos Card for every new  member you refer who takes out Combined Hospital and Extras cover. And to welcome them to the family, they’ll get one too.

How to refer

1. Go to defencehealth.com.au/refer
2. Enter the names, email addresses of the people you’d like to refer, your details and a message.
3. Hit ‘send’ and your referral emails will be automatically generated.
4. Each time a friend or family member joins before 31 July 2015 and mentions your name, you both get a $50 Eftpos Card.

members_own_funds

Did you know we’re a Members Own Health Fund? By joining forces with other not-for- profit health insurers, we’ve been able to get our ‘member not a number’ message to a much larger audience.

We haven’t changed our focus on ADF families or the rules about who can join Defence Health. But our voice has reached so many people who simply didn’t realise they were eligible to join. Make sure you spread the message to your friends and family.

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Website improvements

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We’re constantly looking at ways to enhance the flexibility, value and benefits of Defence Health membership.

We’ve made some more improvements to our website recently.

  • Online claiming has had a major overhaul. The process is now much easier and no longer requires you to upload your receipts after entering claim details. But you still need to retain your receipts for two years in case we need them.
  • Another improvement is our benefit quote function. If you are planning extras treatment you can now check the available benefit you will receive from us.
  • We’re making the transition to independence even easier for your 21-year-olds. They can now join the Young Adult Support Plan quickly and simply online.
  • And don’t forget our mobile claiming app makes it convenient to claim when you’re on the go. In a couple of taps of the screen your claim can be on its way to us. If you haven’t already downloaded it,  go to the App Store or Google Play.
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Access Gap – cuts medical expenses

Private hospital cover not only covers your hospital accommodation charges, it also contributes to your doctors’ charges.

And to help keep your out-of-pocket medical expenses low, we have Access Gap. Access Gap is an opt-in billing system for doctors. If your doctor agrees to use Access Gap you will have low (or no) out-of-pocket expenses.

But you must ask your doctor to treat you under Access Gap. To find out more about this valuable feature of your cover, click here to download the Access Gap brochure. It will help you better understand your cover and how it can work to cut your medical expenses.

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The eyes have it

Leading eye health professionals recommend having your eyes tested at least once every two years. Ensuring your eyes are regularly assessed by an optometrist is beneficial to rule out the existence of more serious problems that could require correction in the future.

An eye exam is an important health check that is essential for keeping your eyes in the best condition possible. A qualified optometrist will use a variety of equipment, machines, coloured lights and charts to test the strength of your vision and condition of your eyes. The optometrist may also ask you questions about your lifestyle to determine the type of glasses that would be most suitable for your needs.

At Specsavers, Digital Retinal Photography (DRP) is included for free in all standard eye tests. This involves the use of sophisticated equipment to produce a high-resolution photograph of your retina, optic nerve and blood vessels.

This technology allows the optometrist to screen for abnormalities which can help with early detection of diseases including glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal changes that may be associated with diabetes.

Any detected abnormalities can then be monitored and treated to better protect the quality of your sight and overall eye health. These DRP images are stored by our optometrists to track your eye health over time.

All Defence Health members with Extras cover can get no-gap glasses through our optical network. Specsavers and VSP Vision Care offer you 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 provider.

And if you’ve used your entire optical limit, rest easy as your benefit limit resets on July 1.

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Keeping costs down

Although Defence Health’s recent premium increase was lower than the industry average, we understand  the frustration that any increase causes our members. There are a number of reasons why premiums increase such as the rising costs of health care and the government’s diminishing contribution to the rebate.

Health costs climb

As you are well aware, health care costs in Australia keep increasing. It’s not just the overall total of health spending, it’s the escalating treatment costs that really impact us as a health fund.

Just to give you an idea of the real costs we have to meet, the benefits paid by Australian health  funds for private hospital treatment increased by 9.1% last year. And general treatment, such as dental and physio, increased by 9.6%. Specialists’ fees increased by 6.9%.

What we’re doing

We’ve done whatever we can to absorb the increase in cost. And we’re also working in a number of areas to help contain costs and keep private health insurance affordable for our members.

  • We’re continuing to keep our operating expenses as low as possible. As we’re not-for-profit we don’t have to answer to shareholders so there’s more to share with our members.
  • We’ve introduced a new benefit to smokers with combined cover to help them quit smoking. Smoking related illness is preventable. So we are trying to reduce the hospitalisation that occurs as a result of nicotine addiction.
  • We offer our members with chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease the support to make lifestyle and dietary changes. Even small changes can improve their health and keep them out of hospital.

Rising health costs are a problem for government and a problem for private health insurers. We’re doing all that we can to make them less of a problem for you.

Government impact on premiums

The government’s percentage contribution to the Rebate is diminishing. Since 2014, the government has detached itself from the true cost of health care. The Rebate is now adjusted annually by a factor closer to the inflation rate rather than keeping pace with the actual increase in premiums. What was a 30% Rebate is currently 27.82%. This means your premiums may have risen more than expected. Unfortunately the impact of this government measure is beyond our control.

In a further development, the government has announced a three-year freeze of the income thresholds used to assess the amount of Rebate an individual receives. This could result in people receiving a lower rebate as they ‘creep’ into a higher income threshold.

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Final thoughts

Sorry about that

We experienced higher call volumes than normal in March on the back of record membership growth. This meant longer than usual waiting times for members who called us. If you were affected, we’re sorry for that inconvenience.

Did you know that if you call us but can’t stay on the line, you can request a call back?

Just leave your number and we’ll call you back as soon as possible. Just press # when prompted by our recorded message.

Tax time is coming

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.

Registering for the Member Area of our website is quick and easy to do. Visit member.defencehealth.com.auto set up your account today.

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