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CBHS COVID-19 Health and Financial Assistance Program

27 April, 2020
  • News
  • Membership
2003_COVID19_Blog-08


To our valued members,

Firstly, I hope this important communication finds you and your family in good health, particularly given the current circumstances relating to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Our first priority is, and will always be, the health and wellbeing of our members and their families. We also understand that these are very challenging times financially for many.

I want to share with you what we are doing to support our members from both a health and financial perspective:

  • We will support members with COVID-19 by paying ex-gratia benefits towards related chest, heart, lung and kidney hospital admissions regardless of your level of hospital cover.
  • We have been working closely with our trusted providers to make both physical and mental health treatments and services available to you safely within your own home. These include chemotherapy,

    dialysis and various telehealth and virtual services. Read more about what's available and how to access.

  • Members will not receive a premium increase on 1 April 2020. We are deferring all premium increases for six months until 30 September 2020*.
  • Members experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19 will be able to:
    • Access up to six months free cover on a Hospital or a combined Hospital and Extras product;
    • Suspend cover following this up to six months free cover period for 3-24 months. While you won’t be able to claim during the suspension, you will also not have to pay premiums during this period until you resume your cover.

Given the Australian Government’s recent announcement regarding the cancellation of non-urgent elective surgery, the above four initiatives are our way of seeking to add real value to our member community.

We’re proud to be a member-owned, not-for-profit health fund. In these uncertain times, should we make a profit over the coming few months, we will look to provide further support to our members.

We know some of you may have questions on these measures, so we’ve developed some FAQs including eligibility criteria and supporting documents required to access our COVID-19 health and financial assistance.

If you are experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19, please get in touch

at financialassistance@cbhs.com.au and provide your membership number and a copy of your supporting documents. For any other questions about your CBHS cover, please call 1300 654 123 between 9am-6pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.

My thoughts are with you and your families at this very challenging time. Please stay safe and healthy and know that we are all in this together.

Kind regards,

Andrew Smith

Group Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director


FAQS: CBHS COVID-19 Health and Financial Assistance Program

What is CBHS COVID-19 health and financial assistance program?

Eligible members experiencing financial hardship and an inability to pay their premiums due to COVID-19 will be able to apply for a waiver of premium payments for up to three months. Before this three-month period ends, if you are still experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, you can apply for a further waiver of up to three months (up to a total of six consecutive months).

Members can continue to use services and claim benefits during the premium free period as normal. For full terms and conditions, click here.

Who is eligible for CBHS COVID-19 financial assistance program?

CBHS Health Fund members whose policies are paid up to date as at the time of application for financial assistance and who have held Hospital or combined Hospital and Extras cover which started on or before 27 March 2020.
You must be the main member or a partner on the policy. Dependants, including student dependants and non-student dependants, are not eligible.

What evidence do I need to provide to CBHS when applying?

Member must provide evidence proving financial hardship where their income and ability to pay their premiums has been significantly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as:

  • Letter from employer confirming termination of employment or significant reduction in income and the date of occurrence.
  • Evidence they are a business owner of a trade or business that has been closed by the State or Australian Government, for example, a gym.
  • Evidence of acceptance for Centrelink (Jobseeker/Newstart) assistance dated on or after 11 March 2020 in conjunction with a separation certificate and/or letter from employer confirming the date of termination of employment (being the date the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic).
  • Evidence of a significant reduction in income due to COVID-19, such as a letter from member’s accountant.
  • Evidence must refer to a main member or partner on the membership.
  • Evidence for an extension of the initial 3 months free period must indicate that the financial hardship is continuing and must be dated 3 months after the original application and follow the above guidelines.

When will I receive the outcome of my application?

We’ll make a decision on applications within ten business days of receiving all required evidence. You’ll then be advised by email confirming any arrangements.

What if I need to make a claim during the premium waiver period?

If you contract COVID-19, we will pay ex-gratia benefits towards related chest, heart, lung and kidney hospital admissions – regardless of your level of Hospital cover. Any other claims made during the premium waiver period will be processed as normal, in accordance with the level of cover you hold. Any unserved waiting periods will continue to apply.

I can’t get through to Centrelink to prove I’m unemployed

We understand there may be potential delays with Centrelink. Get in touch with us when you can, with your supporting document(s).

Can I get a refund of premiums I’ve already paid?

No. This program is designed to assist our members going forward.

I pay my premiums annually or six months in advance and now I’m experiencing financial hardship, will you give me a refund?

If you’ve paid your premiums a year or six months in advance, and believe you qualify for assistance, please contact us on financialassistance@cbhs.com.au and we will discuss your options.

I joined CBHS after 27 March 2020 and am experiencing financial hardship. What assistance am I eligible for?

If you joined CBHS after 27 March 2020, you can choose to cancel your cover within the 60-day cooling-off period. If you have not made any claims, any premiums you have paid will be refunded to you.

I’ve only got Extras or Ambulance cover, do I qualify?

The COVID-19 financial assistance program is available for members with Hospital cover or Hospital and Extras package cover.

What if I can’t provide evidence of financial hardship?

You can choose instead to suspend your policy for up to two years based on financial hardship under our standard temporary membership suspension rules. Find out more by calling us on 1300 654 123 or contacting us by email at help@cbhs.com.au.

I haven’t lost my job, but my partner has

This benefit applies to the main member or partner, provided the partner is covered under the same policy.

Am I eligible for a discount on my premiums because I can’t access certain health services right now?

No. Please note that in light of recent announcements by the Australian Government to cancel all non-urgent elective surgeries, we will seek to add value to our members in other ways.

Due to this unprecedented situation and recent restrictions by the Australian Government, we understand there may be some health services which you can’t access right now. However, we have partnered with a number of providers who can still deliver their services to you safely within your home, or via online or telehealth services. This includes medical services such as chemotherapy and dialysis in the home, and a number of allied health services including psychology, physiotherapy, dietetics, speech therapy and occupational therapy.
Please see cbhs.com.au or contact us on 1300 654 123 or by email at help@cbhs.com.au for more information.

Why are you increasing premiums on 1 October 2020?

The Department of Health which approves all premium increases will only permit insurers to defer the date of premium changes until any time prior to 30 September 2020. All premium increases will be automatically postponed on 1 April 2020 until 1 October 2020.

Why will I notice a slight change to my premium on 1 April 2020 if you are telling me my premium increase has been deferred for 6 months? UPDATED 31/3/2020 – The reference to slight change to your premium no longer applies.

The Minister of Health approves all premium increases - which by convention for all health funds - takes effect on 1 April each year.

The Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance provides a reduction in the cost of private health insurance. The rebate levels are adjusted annually on 1 April based on the Rebate Adjustment Factor. The Rebate Adjustment Factor is calculated in accordance with the Private Health Insurance (Incentives) Amendment Rules and is solely determined by the Australian Government. The Department of Health had originally confirmed on 27 March 2020 that there will be no change to the Rebate Adjustment Factor for the period 1 April 2020 - 31 March 2021.

The Department of Health updated its position on 30 March 2020. The Rebate Adjustment Factor for the period 1 April 2020 - 31 March 2021 will now remain the same as the period 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020 and there will be no change to your premium for the period commencing 1 April 2020 until after 30 September 2020.

Does my CBHS Hospital policy cover COVID-19?

Provided you hold hospital cover, CBHS will support members with COVID-19 by paying ex-gratia benefits towards COVID-19 related chest, heart, lung and kidney hospital admissions regardless of your level of hospital cover. You’ll just need to have served the standard 2 month waiting period.

If I join CBHS now, will I be covered for COVID-19?

If you join on a CBHS hospital policy now and you don’t already have hospital cover with another health fund, a 2 month waiting period applies before you can be covered.

Can I apply to suspend my policy if I am suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19?

Yes. In accordance with our existing Fund Rules, a member experiencing financial hardship can apply to temporarily suspend their CBHS policy for a period of up to 24 months. While you won’t be able to claim during the suspension, you will also not have to pay premiums during this period until you resume your cover.

Members normally need to have been a member of CBHS for at least 12 months to request a suspension but for all members who held cover as at 27 March 2020, we'll waive this requirement so we can support you during this challenging time.

Please see cbhs.com.au or contact us on 1300 654 123 or by email at help@cbhs.com.au for more information.

What if I still require further financial assistance when my relief program is due to end?

If you are still experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19, visit cbhs.com.au/covid19terms to access our COVID-19 Relief Extension Program terms and conditions. If you’d like to apply for further assistance, please carefully read the terms and conditions of the program and email a copy of your supporting documents to financialassistance@cbhs.com.au.