It’s been over three months since the first official report of the novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) and since then, the disease has spread, causing the World Health Organization to label it a pandemic. As New Zealand went into lockdown at 11.59pm on the 25th of March 2020, we have seen unprecedented levels of calls from our clients about COVID-19 and the risk plan they have in place.
To help you with questions you may have about your existing insurance cover, we’ve put together these frequently asked questions and answers.
Q: Will my Insurance cover me if I contract COVID-19?
Lets Look at this question in relation to the 5 main cover categories:
Provided you meet the terms and conditions of your policy, you’ll be able to make a claim.
While Covid-19 isn’t listed as a specified condition, some policies may provide cover if you have ongoing complications resulting from Covid-19 or are in intensive care for a period of time. If, as a result of Covid-19, you meet the terms and conditions of your policy you’ll be able to claim.
Income Protection, Mortgage Protection, Rent or Household Expenses Cover
You’ll only be able to claim if you’re medically certified as unfit to work, for example if you’ve contracted Covid-19 and are not well enough to work, and otherwise meet the terms and conditions of your policy.
You won’t be able to claim if you’re put in quarantine, for example, or unable to attend your place of work, or can’t work because you’re looking after someone else who has contracted Covid-19. You won't be able to claim if you are made redundant due to Covid-19 restrictions, but please contact us if this happens to you to discuss options to help you keep this cover during this difficult time.
Total and Permanent Disability Cover
The definition of ‘totally disabled’ will be specific to the type of TPD cover you have but can include: unable to ever do your own occupation, or any occupation; or unable to complete activities of daily living.
In general, if as a result of Covid-19 you meet the TPD definition and the terms and conditions of your policy, you’ll be able to claim.
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
- 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.
There may be some out of pocket expenses that your health Insurance 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. In saying this, we know that there are some people who will have ongoing permanent health concerns after recovering from the acute phase of the virus. For these people, their health insurance policy would provide support.
Q: 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. Your cover will operate as per its normal policy terms and conditions.
Q: If I've been financially affected by COVID-19, what should I do?
If you have been financially affected by COVID-19 and are experiencing financial hardship, please call us on 0800 771 331 where we can discuss options to help you maintain your cover through this difficult period.
Q: If I am made redundant as a result of COVID-19 will my mortgage cover pay out?
You won't be able to claim if you are made redundant due to Covid-19 restrictions, but please contact us if this happens to you to discuss options to help you keep this cover during this difficult time. We recommend seeking information about access to the Covid-19 government assistance package here .
Q: What happens if my treatment is delayed or cancelled as a result of COVID-19?
In the event your treatment is delayed or cancelled as a result of COVID-19, your medical practitioner, specialist or surgeon will advise you what the next steps are. Should you need to update your pre-approval to reflect the new date of your treatment, get in touch with us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0800 771 331.
Q: Am I covered for diagnostics tests for COVID-19?
The Ministry of Health will cover diagnostics tests for COVID-19. Please note these tests can only be ordered by your doctor if you meet the testing criteria.
Q: Will COVID-19 be considered a pre-existing condition?
If you apply for cover and have any pre-existing medical conditions such as COVID-19, you will need to disclose these at time of application. Some pre-existing medical conditions may be covered immediately, while others may have a stand-down period or be permanently excluded. To have an adviser contact you about applying for cover email email@example.com.
Q: Should I cancel my planned surgery as a result of COVID-19?
It is recommended that you contact your medical practitioner, specialist or surgeon for any questions related to COVID-19 and upcoming procedures. They will be able to advise you of what the next steps are.
Q: I'm currently on an Income Protection Claim - how will I be affected?
Firstly, your claim will continue as normal. All of our Provider Partners have their business continuity plans in place and are fully functioning in the lockdown environment.
We appreciate you may not be comfortable visiting your GP at this time - GP services are already under pressure and that's likely to increase over time. If you’re not comfortable attending an assessment or appointment with a provider for your monthly update, please give us a call on 0800 771 331. We’ll be happy to discuss other options with your Provider, to ensure we meet your needs.
If you have any further questions, we are just a phone call away 0800 771 331.
Stay safe, Stay well, Stay home!