Well, what a year 2021 was! From vaccinations and some easing of restrictions to check ins, masks and border openings, it has certainly proven to be trying for many of us who were hoping for life to return to normal. COVID-19 and its variants have continued to burden the public health system and as a result the public hospital elective surgery wait times have continued to increase significantly. Many of our Members have been able to receive elective surgery privately and I am happy to see them valuing the peace of mind that holding Private Health Insurance Hospital Cover brings.

COVID-19 as mentioned earlier has been challenging and as part of our ongoing initiative to support Members impacted by the pandemic, last December we were excited to be able to giveback $2.5 million dollars to eligible Members who held a Hospital and/or Extras policy between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021. I’d like to say a big thank you to our Members for the positive feedback we have received since then. The payment was a further extension of our COVID-19 Member support package. Please feel free to reach out to our team anytime if you do have any concerns with your policy and COVID-19.

We often receive queries from Members about whether they should elect to be a private patient in a public hospital as they have felt pressured by staff to do this. You shouldn’t feel forced to elect to be a private patient when in a public hospital. As an Australian citizen you’re entitled to free public hospital treatment and shouldn’t have to use your private health insurance to pay for public hospital treatment.

If a patient in a public hospital elects to be a private patient, this means that instead of the cost of the treatment being covered by the public hospital the cost will be passed to the patient’s health fund and also Medicare. The decision to be treated as a private patient in a public hospital is contributing to the ongoing increases in health insurance premiums. It’s a decision that should give you the best benefit and one that you should never feel forced to make if you don’t want to.

If you have any concerns or would like to share your experience as a private patient in a public hospital, we’d like to hear from you. Please call your friendly team on 1800 813 415.

Last November we farewelled our Board Director and former Chair, Michael Beard. Michael made significant contributions during his 20 years with the Health Fund including the significant growth period under his Chairmanship during 2006 to 2020. The Health Fund has now expanded to include three dental practices, a Care Navigation team and the launch of Territory Health Fund. Michael also successfully led the Fund through the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank Michael for his contribution to Queensland Country and wish him well as he continues to work in his accountancy practice that operates out of Mount Isa and the Sunshine Coast.

On the 14 February Queensland Country Health Fund we celebrated a wonderful milestone birthday… 45 years of business. From our humble beginnings in Mount Isa to where we are today, our Members have always been at the core of everything we do! Thank you for your continued support over the years and we look forward to assisting you to live a better life through better health for many years to come. We are looking forward to celebrating with you, stay tuned for celebrations over the next few weeks!

Finally, thank you again for all your support over the past year and I would like to wish you and your family all the best for 2022!

Healthy Regards,

Glenn Seri, Executive Manager