Private health insurance during COVID-19

The government has eased restrictions on elective surgery. Now that Australia has adequate stock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), these surgeries can safely resume.

  • All elective surgery restrictions have been lifted.

Category one and emergency surgery was never affected by these temporary measures and members continue to be covered.

These procedures relieve severe pain and discomfort, save sight and improve people’s quality of life.

Members with private health insurance can avoid long public hospital wait lists and have their surgery performed by a Doctor of their choice and have continuity of care.

Private health insurers are working with private hospitals and doctors to give patients access to timely, safe and efficient care.

Frequently asked questions during COVID-19

Can I use my private health insurance at the moment?


COVID-19 does not mean the treatment for other illnesses stops. Treatment is still needed for accidents, injuries, infections. Mums are still giving birth. People continue to battle cancer, cardio-related illness, chronic disease and pain. Members still need access to in-hospital mental health treatment.

All of the government’s temporary restrictions on elective surgery have been lifted

Many allied health services are operating as normal. Health funds continue to provide access to emergency dental care.

Funds are also covering NEW services. Eligible members will now be covered for some vital telehealth services including:

  • Psychology
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech pathology
  • Dietetics
  • Exercise physiology

Some health funds are also offering treatment outside of hospital, such as chemotherapy at home.

What can’t I use my private health insurance for?

All of the government’s temporary restrictions on elective surgery have been lifted. Members are encouraged to contact their Doctor ASAP to re-engage with the health system and rebook surgeries.

Also, a small number of allied health providers (for example some dentists) may have temporarily closed their doors. Members should be assured that lots of allied health operators remain open, emergency dental is still being covered and there are telehealth rebates available to eligible members.

I’ve lost my job and can’t afford my private health insurance. What are my options?

To provide members with some short-term financial relief, health funds postponed the April 1 premium increase for at least six months.

Private health insurers are also waiving the premiums of thousands of Australians who are experiencing financial distress as a result of COVID-19, for example, losing their job or being underemployed.

If you need premium relief, contact your health fund directly to discuss your options.

Does my private health insurance cover COVID-19?

If you contract COVID-19 and would like to be treated as a private patient – you can use your private health insurance. ALL policies, regardless of whether they are Basic, Bronze, Silver or Gold now cover members for hospitalisation related to COVID-19.

I’m worried about my mental health during COVID-19. How can private health insurance help?

Last month private health insurers announced they would cover some vital psychology telehealth services.

Private health insurance continues to cover admissions to hospital for mental health treatment.

If you need access to immediate help always call 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. Otherwise, ring your health fund who is always willing to help you access support – whether it’s in the form of online resources, coverage for psychology telehealth or covering an in-hospital claim.

Will more changes be made to my private health insurance?

We are working hard behind-the-scenes to introduce new telehealth services for members, cover more services in the home (like chemotherapy) and provide more financial relief for members.

No health fund is seeking to profit from the temporary suspension of some elective surgery and community allied health care. Health funds will ensure that customers continue to be the beneficiaries of savings from reduction of services across the sector.

This is an ongoing process and health funds will be reviewing their financial position (and regulatory/capital requirements) in coming months to provide as much support as possible to members.

Different funds have chosen to do this in different ways, including but not limited to: rebates, short term premium reductions, extension of benefits and rollover of extras benefits until next calendar year.

Contact your health fund

HBF Health