Member Update November 2016

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

In this edition we address private health insurance affordability and what we’re doing to add value. We’ve added flexibility on our extras cover and expanded our MyBaby Support Program. There’s guidance on mental health support for the ADF and an introduction to resilience. Don’t miss our Christmas giveaway and our opening hours over the holidays.


A message from the Chief Executive Officer

extended family outdoors

Private health care is an integral component of our overall health system. However, it is in urgent need of regulatory reform.

The affordability of private health insurance has attracted a great deal of media attention this year. And rightly so! Finally there is some scrutiny of the vested interests that are driving up the cost of private hospital cover.

The spiralling cost of health care is unsustainable. The Minister for Health has promised important industry reform to relieve the financial pressure on consumers. At Defence Health we’re doing all that we can to keep premiums as low as possible. We recognise that rising premiums are having a big impact on household budgets. And we’ve been particularly vocal in calling on the government to address the underlying drivers of rising health costs.

The inflated cost of implantable medical devices is the obvious place to start. The price that private health insurers are charged for the hips, knees and pacemakers used in private hospitals is up to five times more than in the public system. In fact, the charges are higher than anywhere else in the world.

The Minister has recently announced a cut to the cost of some of these devices. From February next year, the cost of cardiac devices will reduce by 10% and replacement hips and knees by 7.5%.

We had hoped for deeper and broader cuts to the cost of medical devices. While it will take several years for the full impact of the savings to be realised, I am grateful for this first step of reform.

Another significant pressure on private health insurance premiums is the cost-shifting by public hospitals. There are millions of people who are entitled to public treatment but are encouraged by hospital staff to use their private health insurance in a public hospital. This directly impacts premiums. It’s an unnecessary cost to insurers that provides no value for patients and our health insurance members.

It’s understandable that you’re concerned about the affordability of your cover. I’m concerned too. So we have doubled our focus on how we can maximise the value of your membership.

Here’s what we’re doing to add value

  • Our dental network is delivering real savings. Since launching the network of smile.com.au dentists in October 2015, our members have made significant savings through lower fees and no-gap preventive treatment. If you have extras cover you can access the network and save at least 15% off the dentist’s usual fee.
  • Members with a DVA Gold or White card can receive a 5% premium reduction on some of our hospital and combined products.
  • We’ve added greater flexibility to our new extras products with a flexi-limit on benefits for a range of treatment categories.
  • Our MyBaby Support Program is providing additional support to new parents during pregnancy and baby’s first year. A maternal health coaching program is also available to members on the ADF Total Package.
  • The expansion of targeted health management coaching empowers members with chronic conditions to manage their health. With improved health outcomes we can lower the incidence of hospitalisation and improve their wellbeing. The programs are offered at no cost to participating members.
  • If you’re going to hospital, our Access Gap program will reduce or eliminate any out-of-pocket medical expenses. Under Access Gap, we can pay higher medical benefits (up to a limit) in return for your doctor agreeing to charge you a lower fee. Don’t forget to ask your doctor to use Access Gap!

The value we can deliver for you is very important to us. But affordability is the critical issue right now. If we do not see the full package of recommended regulatory reform, rising health costs will cripple our health system.

I will keep you updated when we have further progress.

Best wishes

Gerard Fogarty

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Like some flexibility from your extras?

Premier, Value and Essentials Extras or the ADF Total Package or ADF Essentials Package now offer greater flexibility. With the new flexi-limit benefit you can get more of your favourite included treatment under a higher annual limit. Or you can spread your flexi-limit across the range.

For example, if you have Value Extras and previously hit your $600 annual physiotherapy limit, you’ll now have a $1100 limit to use for more physio – or more physio, chiro and podiatry. It’s up to you.

Dental, optical and medically prescribed devices remain as standalone benefit categories. So you’ll still get your generous benefits from them. And of course, your comprehensive ambulance cover continues to be unlimited.

If you have Top or Standard Extras and would like some extra flexibility too, just give us a call for a chat about your cover or visit defencehealth.com.au/flexi-limits for more info.

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Support for new dads

Calling all soon-to-be dads! If you and your partner are expecting a baby in the next few months, or have a newborn, you have the opportunity to be involved in an exciting clinical trial.

SMS4dads is being conducted by leading academics and medical professionals from La Trobe and Newcastle universities and the Royal Women’s Hospital, with research funding from Defence Health.

In the months leading up to and after their baby’s birth, dads will be supported with interactive text messages to:

  • keep track of the baby’s development
  • stay in touch with their partner
  • care for their own health and wellbeing.

The arrival of a new baby is a demanding time for mums and dads. This important research trial will provide extra support to dads to ensure it’s a happy and rewarding time for the whole family.

For more information or to register your interest, go to defencehealth.com.au/mybaby or call us on 1800 335 425

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First aid resource

Would you know how to respond to your baby or child in an emergency? Resuscitation, broken bones, choking? Those first minutes can be critical.

A life. A finger. A pea up a nose. Funny title – serious subject. Written by a paediatric emergency nurse with a Master of Clinical Practice (and two young children of her own), this eBook is a practical, step-by-step guide to first aid for babies and children.

Register for a copy at defencehealth.com.au/mybaby

The eBook is distributed by CPR Kids Pty Ltd.

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Mental health support for the ADF

Did you know the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) provides mental health support for current and former ADF personnel? It comes under the Non-Liability Health Care program and covers treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and alcohol and substance use disorders.

Importantly, a diagnosis is not required at the time of applying for mental health support. And you do not need to prove the condition is the result of your service.

Complete the Application for Health Care for Certain Mental Health Conditions, email [email protected] or call DVA on 1800 555 254.

Depending on your type of service, treatment for malignant cancer and pulmonary tuberculosis is also available under Non-Liability Health Care. But you will need to have been formally diagnosed before making an application to DVA.

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Building resilience

The power of positive thinking is good for your health. A healthy dose of resilience gives you the power to ‘bounce back’ when you’re feeling down, or facing a challenge. Rather than allowing negative emotions to take over, resilient people can harness positivity and create desirable outcomes in life.

What are the health benefits of resilience?

  • Resilient kids have fewer behavioural issues.
  • Resilience gives you better relationships with friends and family.
  • Resilient people have faster heart recovery (after a stress test)
  • Resilience allows a happier disposition and coping ability.

It’s worth noting that resilience doesn’t necessarily come naturally to everyone. Especially for people who feel isolated or are missing a loved one. But it’s good to know that resilience can be nurtured and given a boost.

A change of mindset is the first step. Eliminate negative thinking – instead of focusing on the current situation, look to how the future will be brighter. And accentuate positive emotions – such as gratitude, hope, pride and love.

The most important building block for resilience is self-care. Take care of your mind and body through a healthy diet, exercise and healthy habits.

If you’d like to read more, click here for the full article on the power of positivity.

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Christmas giveaway!

Send us your favourite Christmas recipe and tell us how your family celebrates Christmas. The best submission will be shared on Health HQ and our Facebook page.

The person with the best submission will also win a $500 Coles Group & Myer Gift Card – that’s a little something special for Christmas.

To enter:

  1. Make sure you’re subscribed to Health HQ – healthhq.defencehealth.com.au
  2. Email your submission and contact details to [email protected] by 5:00pm Wednesday 7 December 2016.

Good luck!

Terms and conditions: Defence Health will select winner on 8 December 2016. Winner will be contacted by email or phone before COB Friday 9 December to redeem prize. If winner does not respond to email within three business days, we reserve the right to select another winner.

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Holiday hours

Another year is rapidly drawing to a close. As you head for the hills, sanddunes or just for some fun in the backyard, we wish you a safe and happy festive season. We’re taking a short break too – but we’ll be back on deck and ready to take care of you in the new year.

Our holiday hours are:

  • Friday 23 December 8:30am – 2:00pm
  • Monday 26 December Closed
  • Tuesday 27 December Closed
  • Wednesday 28 December 8:30am – 8:00pm
  • Thursday 29 December 8:30am – 8:00pm
  • Friday 30 December 8:30am – 4:00pm
  • Monday 2 January Closed

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