Hollywood Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Changes to health insurance

Changes to mental health insurance

Jul 18, 2018

Often when you need medical treatment, you need it right away. That goes for mental as well as physical health.

On 1 April 2018, the Australian Government introduced changes to the private health insurance system to improve access to mental health services to help ensure those who need help can get it in a timely manner.

What are the changes to private health insurance the Government introduced?

There are several important changes the Government has introduced which could alter the way you access mental health services. Here’s what the changes mean:

  • Patients with limited mental health cover will be able to upgrade their cover to access in-hospital mental health services (including psychiatric care and drug and alcohol treatment) without serving a waiting period. (Policyholders will only be able to use this exemption from the existing two-month waiting period once.)
  • Benefit Limitation Periods sometimes applied for mental health cover will also be removed.

What do I need to do to take advantage of the changes?

To access the immediate upgrade at Hollywood Private Hospital’s mental health facility, The Hollywood Clinic, you must either be admitted, or planned to be admitted for mental health services.

In most cases, your eligibility for higher benefits will apply from the time of the upgrade, but in some cases retrospective cover is available. If you upgrade your cover within five business days of your admission to hospital, you will be entitled to higher benefits from the time you’re admitted.

If more than five business days following admission have passed, you can still upgrade your policy and use the waiting period exemption, but you will only be eligible for the higher benefits you get with your new policy from the date you purchased your upgraded cover.

Here are a few other important points to note:

  • If you have been covered by private health insurance for less than two months, your insurer may require you to serve out your waiting period before accessing psychiatric care services.
  • The exemption can be used by more than one person on the policy.

You don’t need to upgrade your policy with your existing insurer, you can choose to switch to a different private health insurance provider and still access the exemption.

What should I do now?

Whether or not you think you or anyone covered by your private health insurance policy might need mental health services in the future, now is a good time to look carefully at the cover you have.

Review your private health insurance policy carefully and, if you have any questions, talk to your insurer about your coverage.

What if I or someone on my policy needs mental health services right away?

Hollywood Private Hospital’s mental health facility, The Hollywood Clinic, provides care and support for patients affected by a wide range of mental health conditions including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Alcohol dependency
  • Prescription drug dependency
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma

Patients are cared for and supported by a friendly and experienced team of mental health professionals including psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, specialist nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, an art therapist, physiotherapists and dieticians. Clinical staff work together to ensure patients benefit from a treatment plan that is specific to their needs.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, please call (08) 9346 6803 or email thcbookings.hph@ramsayhealth.com.au.