Member Update November 2013

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It’s our birthday!

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Defence Health. For 60 years we’ve remained true to our core purpose of helping the ADF and wider Defence community finance their personal and family health care.

The health care landscape looked vastly different in the A9F3B15F-BDD7-4A67-A477-19EB072C06C2s. Up until the mid-047FA9CD-BF13-4603-B16F-2DB3325B2F03s, public hospital patients faced strict means testing and the majority had to bear the entire cost of their hospitalisation.

Even given the high cost, in the years following the Second World War, public hospitals were really struggling to cope with the increase in demand for health care. The National Health Act 1953 was established and private health insurers started to enter the sector to help meet the demand. Back in those days, insurers had to provide identical hospital cover, identical benefits and – you guessed it – identical premiums.

After much planning and with the crucial £27,000 financial backing from the Army Canteens Service, the Army Health Benefit Society (as we were called then) was registered. The word spread quickly through the Defence community, and by the time we launched on 3 September 1953, 4500 applications for membership had been received! Five weeks later the number of members had grown to 7630.

Against the backdrop of uniform product and price, the Army Health Benefit Society differentiated its offering with amazing customer service. It shaped our culture and ever since, we’ve maintained that service standard as our ‘guiding star’.

Unlike other health funds at the time, we were able to achieve national registration, which allowed for serving families to remain covered as they moved around the country. And from the very beginning, Defence civilians have been an important part of our community.

We now cover 220,000 people from all areas of the Defence community. We look forward to continuing to serve our members for the next 60 years!

Defence Health gets social

We want to be where you want us, when you want us. That’s why we’re getting social and have launched our own Facebook page.

We will use the page to share news about what’s going on across the Defence community. And as our members are a valuable part of that community, our page will give you a chance to engage with other like-minded members.

We look forward to chatting with you on Facebook and helping with your general queries, through a channel that is convenient and fun.

Come and find us on Facebook by searching for “Defence Health” or by clicking here. We hope you ‘like’ what you find.

Privacy – it’s important

Do you know that your teenage children have rights to privacy of their health information? While there is no specified age in the Australian Privacy Principles, at Defence Health, we assume young people are competent to make their own decisions about their health at the age of 16 years.

From age 16, kids can elect to keep the personal information we hold (such as their claims history) private from the policy holder.

But we need your help to ensure young people on family policies are aware of this.

Please inform your dependants of their right to privacy. If they wish to exercise their right, either you, or they, should contact us on 1800 335 425.

If you would like to know more about how we collect and handle personal information, you can read or download a copy of our Privacy Policy on our website.

New leader for Defence Health troops

For the past 10 years, Defence Health has been under the capable leadership of David Lynch as Chief Executive Officer. In that time we have experienced significant growth in the number of people we cover – from 144,000 to more than 220,000 now.

David has decided it’s time to set sail – quite literally – and embrace a retirement of travel and adventure. It is with much appreciation and good wishes that we farewell David.

Which leads to the introduction of our new CEO: Major General Gerard Fogarty AO. Gerard has had a very successful Defence career, specialising in leadership and human resource management. He also served as Australia’s national commander on operations in Timor Leste in 2002 and the Middle East in 2007.

Although he’s leaving the Army, Gerard is very pleased that he will continue to be a member of the Defence community, which he has served for his whole working life.

We warmly welcome Gerard as Chief Executive Officer who will take on the position in mid-November.

We love Reservists!

The Defence Reserves Support Council has awarded Defence Health the National Employer Support Award for 2013.

The Council promotes the benefits of Reserve Service and encourages employers and the community to support Reservists. It’s always nice to be recognised!

For the record, we have 30 employees, including five directors, who have a personal or a direct family connection with the ADF!

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 at the Member Area of our website. Or you can call us on 1800 335 425 and we will make any changes for you.

Christmas contact hours

Over the holiday period, Defence Health will operate during the following Eastern Standard Daylight Saving Time hours:

Tuesday 24 Dec 8:30am – 2:00pm
Wednesday 25 Dec Closed
Thursday 26 Dec Closed
Friday 27 Dec 8:30am – 5:00pm
Monday 30 Dec 8:30am – 5:00pm
Tuesday 31 Dec 8:30am – 4:00pm
Wednesday 1 Jan Closed

Regular business hours will resume on Thursday 2 Jan 2014.

Wherever your work or recreation takes you, we wish you a safe and happy festive season.

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