COVID-19 (coronavirus) and your cover

09 June 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) and your cover

These FAQs provide information about nib’s health insurance policies in relation to COVID-19 and were last updated on 16 October 2020. They may be updated from time to time.

Given that the financial and health impacts of COVID-19 will continue to be felt for some time, nib New Zealand is extending its COVID-19 member and community support package until 31 December 2020. Our priority is making sure our members continue to stay safe and healthy by maintaining their private health insurance as New Zealand recovers from the pandemic.

To assist you, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions.

If I've been financially affected by COVID-19, what should I do?

In response to the financial hardship many New Zealanders may experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put together a range of special premium relief options, available until 31 December 2020, to help eligible members* continue their health cover. These options include:

  • Suspension of your health insurance policy and premium payments for up to six months.
  • Increase of policy excess^ to the maximum allowable level under the policy without needing to be re-underwritten if you choose to reduce your excess as your financial situation improves.

*Existing nib members (as at 31 March 2020). Policy terms and conditions still apply.

^Members must apply for the excess reduction by 30 June 2021.

If you have been affected by COVID-19 and are experiencing financial hardship, please call us on 0800 123 642 to discuss options to help you maintain your health cover through this difficult period.

Does my cover change as a result of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic?

The World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. This declaration does not affect your cover with nib. Your cover will operate as per its normal policy terms and conditions.

Does my policy cover me for doctor and specialist appointments by video or telephone?

Telephone and video consultations with GPs and specialists will be treated the same as in-person consultations and will be covered in line with your policy terms and conditions.

This position will be reviewed regularly to ensure it reflects any changes with the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand and any change will be notified on nib’s website. Standard claim criteria, such as the requirement to provide an invoice for a consultation, still apply.

How can I find a GP or specialist that offers video or tele-consultations?

We recommend that you first check if your current GP or specialist offers video or tele-consultations. If they do not offer this service, Whitecoat provides a directory of dedicated telehealth providers across New Zealand which includes GPs and specialists. This directory is continually being updated as health providers offer video and tele-consultations and register with Whitecoat.

What happens if my treatment is delayed or cancelled as a result of COVID-19?

If your treatment was delayed or cancelled as a result of COVID-19, your medical practitioner, specialist or surgeon should have been in contact by now to advise you what the next steps are.

For pre-approvals issued before 1 July 2020, nib has automatically extended pre-approval validity to six months to accommodate any members experiencing delays to hospital treatment. Should you need to update your pre-approval to reflect the new date of your treatment, get in touch via email [email protected] or phone 0800 123 642.

What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?

If you think you may have COVID-19 call the dedicated Healthline number for health advice and information (free and available 24/7) on 0800 358 5453 and advise them of your symptoms.

For information on symptoms and where to get help, refer to the Ministry of Health website.

For non-coronavirus health concerns, use Healthline’s main number – 0800 611 116.

Does my health insurance cover COVID-19?

The Ministry of Health will cover the cost of your hospitalisation if you are admitted to public hospital with COVID-19. This includes any or all of the following:

  • The surveillance of people who are required to be quarantined
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment of the person’s infectious or quarantinable disease
  • Follow-up services and
  • Contact tracing services.

The extent of the Ministry of Health cover will be determined based on what is appropriate in the circumstances to address the risks to other people and as determined appropriate by a clinician. For more information please visit health.govt.nz.

For expenses that aren’t covered by the Ministry of Health you can check your policy details on my nib to see if there may be some out of pocket expenses that nib may cover.

However, please be aware that in New Zealand most health insurance policies have an exclusion for acute medical conditions and observations. An acute medical condition means a sign, symptom or condition that needs hospital admission for treatment or monitoring, immediately or within 48 hours.

nib has extended cover on all hospital policies, at no extra charge, to include chest, lung, kidney and bladder or other treatments which may be caused by COVID-19.

Will COVID-19 be considered a pre-existing condition?

If you join nib and have any pre-existing medical conditions such as COVID-19, depending on your policy you may need to disclose these at time of joining. Some pre-existing medical conditions may be covered immediately, while others may have a stand-down period or be permanently excluded. To find out more about private hospital cover click here.