Member Update May 2017

We hope you enjoy the May edition of the Member Update.

In this edition there’s a message from the CEO, a new second medical opinion service, help when you’re posted to a new location or transitioning from the ADF, our member referral promotion, expansion of our dental network and support for mums and dads.

Thank you for being part of the family.


A message from the CEO

family eating lunch outside

As you know, private health insurance makes a vital contribution to the Australian health system – almost two-thirds of all elective surgery is currently performed in private hospitals. That takes a huge load off the public hospital waiting list (waiting times have increased by 37% since 2001-02) and delivers tangible benefits for patients with private cover.

While nobody likes a price rise, it should be noted that we’ve just seen the lowest industry average premium adjustment in more than a decade. That is very good news for the privately insured. With further reforms to the government controlled Prostheses List and a change of behaviour from public hospital staff asking patients to use their insurance, we will be able to apply the brake on some of our most volatile and rapidly rising costs.

Despite just experiencing the busiest March and April in our history, Defence Health members continue to express their satisfaction with our service and products. In a recent independent survey of members, 98% said they are satisfied with their membership.

But we don’t just aim to pay the bills when you’re unwell. We want to empower you in the decision-making around your health care. As announced in March, the My Medical Expert service gives
members with hospital cover the opportunity for a second medical opinion about their treatment, diagnosis or recovery.

Provided by Best Doctors®, the service connects members with the expert advice of medical specialists from around the world.

I’m also proud of our initiative to support our ADF and ex-serving families when you’re posted to new locations. Health Nav gets you the answers about the health services you need when you’re still getting to know your local area.

And we’ve launched a new resource for ADF members who are preparing to transition from fulltime service. Ex-serving HQ speaks your language and helps you get your transition sorted.

I understand the significant sacrifices you make to maintain your private health cover. At Defence Health, we’re focused on giving you meaningful and sustainable value from your cover.

Best wishes

Gerard Fogarty

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What if surgery is not the answer?

Have you ever been given medical advice and thought, “is that really the best option?”

Our new service, My Medical Expert, is here to provide you with the answer. It’s a free service offered to members with hospital cover. Using the Best Doctors database of international medical specialists, you can:

  • get a second opinion through an in-depth medical review of your condition
  • ask an expert a medical question
  • check if your recovery is tracking as it should.

From very simple questions to extremely complex, My Medical Expert will deliver the answers.

Freddy’s mum and dad got a second opinion
In monitoring 7-year-old Freddy’s ‘lazy eye’, an MRI showed cysts on his spinal cord and brain, and abnormal fusion of his skull bones. The doctor recommended major neurosurgery.

“Is that really the best option?” wondered his parents. They contacted Best Doctors and had Freddy’s medical records reviewed by a world-leading specialist in paediatric neurological surgery.

The Best Doctors expert provided a detailed report, advising annual monitoring rather than surgery.

Freddy’s local specialist was impressed with the report and agreed with the second opinion. Freddy’s surgery was cancelled.

Justin was in constant pain
Thirty-one-year-old Justin had injured his shoulder playing sport. He’d undergone two operations to repair the injury, but he was still in pain and had a poor range of movement in it. He’d also tried physiotherapy, acupuncture and local injections – but nothing worked.

Justin contacted Best Doctors, who referred his case to a specialist shoulder surgeon. The expert detected that his biceps tendon was fused to his shoulder joint and recommended a specific surgical procedure.

Since Justin’s third operation he has recovered 90% of his range of motion and is back playing golf. He’s very pleased he sought a second opinion from Best Doctors.

Call My Medical Expert on 1800 830 082 or click here to learn more.

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Recruit family and friends and you could WIN!

If you want your family and friends to enjoy great value health insurance, now’s the time to let them know about Defence Health. Refer eligible family and friends and when they join you’ll both go into our monthly prize pool. There’s a $1000 Webjet voucher and an Apple iPhone 7 up for grabs.

View terms and conditions.

Refer friends and family now.

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A wider Dental Network

More dentists are joining our Dental Network every month. The smile.com.au network of dentists gives members access to dental care at reduced fees. If you have extras cover with us you’ll save at least 15% off the usual dental fee for treatment by any network dentist. And members with our ADF Total Package, Premier, Value or Top Extras receive no-gap preventive treatment (within limits). Search for your nearest network dentist and the practice they work at.

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Just posted? Health Nav will help

We understand you’re on the move. You need to find a new doctor and dentist for the kids. Where do you go for a speech pathologist or other specialists?

Get in touch with Health Nav at Defence Health. Health Nav takes the hassle out of finding the health care you and your family need.

Call Health Nav on 1800 375 321 to speak to one of our friendly staff members.

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Time to transition?

There’s a lot to think about when you’re transitioning out of the ADF. Your health care will be right at the top of the list. Medicare, DVA, private insurance, government incentives and penalties – we’re here to help you work it all out. Visit our dedicated transition resource for a clear pathway to transition.

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Pregnancy support for dads

Did you know that around 1 in 20 men can experience depression during their partner’s pregnancy? And up to 1 in 10 new dads experience postnatal depression?

It’s something few people consider or talk about – which is why we’re supporting a clinical research trial to support men in the months leading up to and after their baby’s birth.

SMS4dads is conducted by leading academics and medical professionals from the University of Newcastle. The program of interactive text messages includes practical tips, info and links to relevant services. They keep dads up-to-date with the baby’s
development and also remind them to take care of their own health and wellbeing while preparing for the arrival of their baby.

For more information or to register click here.

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First aid webinar

CPR Kids trains parents and carers of babies and children with life-saving CPR and first aid skills. Sarah Hunstead, paediatric nurse and founder of CPR Kids, is running a webinar on May 31. And we’d like your input. Register for the webinar on our Facebook page and post your suggestions for a topic you’d like to hear about. First aid saves lives. Attend our webinar to learn more about first aid for little ones.

Sarah is also the author of A life. A finger. A pea up a nose. It’s a practical step-by-step guide to first aid for babies and children. Register for your copy.

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DVA support for mental health

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides mental health support for former ADF personnel under its Non-Liability Health Care program.

Veterans can receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and alcohol and substance use disorders – without the need for an initial diagnosis. Plus, you don’t have to prove the condition is a result of your service.

Complete the Application for Health Care for Certain Mental Health Conditions, email NLHC@dva.gov.au or call DVA
on 1800 555 254.

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Online Member Services

Claiming online is the fastest way to get your claims paid when HICAPS is unavailable. Most extras services can be claimed online (pharmacy, most major dental and medically prescribed devices are exceptions) and your benefit will usually be paid overnight.

While you’re there, make sure you’ve recorded your email address in your contact details and indicated your email preferences. We’re trying to save the trees and send more of our letters and updates via email. So please keep your email address up-to-date.

Claiming in-patient benefits

When you go to hospital, your account is normally settled directly between the hospital and us – you’ll just be asked to pay your excess if it applies. But doctors’ accounts can get a bit confusing. If your doctor doesn’t use Access Gap, the account must first go to Medicare, then you need to send the Medicare statement of benefit to us to pay the gap.

Check out our hospital claims info page for more details.

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