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Nib Extends Its COVID-19 Member Support Package

nib New Zealand (nib) today announced it will offer its COVID-19 member and community support package for an additional three months to make sure members continue to stay safe and healthy by maintaining their private health cover as New Zealand recovers from the pandemic.

nib Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin, said that while lockdown restrictions have eased and more healthcare services are now available, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have ongoing financial and health impacts on New Zealanders.

“We recognise many of our members have experienced financial uncertainty and additional stress during this difficult time, and we want them to be able to continue to prioritise their health and wellbeing,” Mr Hennin said.

“By extending our support package we hope this provides both our members and the community with additional support to assist them as we return to a new normal,” he added.

Mr Hennin said the health insurer had seen treatment levels across the country quickly return as Alert Levels were lowered.

“Our initial predictions were that elective surgery would be suspended for many months due to the pandemic. The positive response from all New Zealanders to COVID-19 has instead limited this impact and we are now seeing surgeries that have been deferred pick up again,” Mr Hennin said.

"Pleasingly, we’ve also seen increased access to Everyday health services, such as dental and optical, which is good news for members as they are receiving the treatment and medical procedures they need,” he said.

nib’s COVID-19 member and community support package, includes:

• Ability for eligible existing members who are experiencing financial hardship to access special premium relief*.

• Ability for eligible existing members who are experiencing financial hardship to suspend* their health insurance policy and premium payment for up to six months.

• Expanded coverage* for chest, lung, kidney and bladder or other treatment related to conditions caused by COVID-19 across all levels of hospital cover (including Basic Private Hospital Cover, Mid Private Hospital Cover and Mid Private Hospital Cover Plus where currently excluded) at no additional cost.

• Cover for GP or specialist consultations that need to be conducted via video or tele-consultation due to COVID-19*.

• Automatic increase of pre-approval validity to six months meaning members do not need to reapply for pre-approval if they experience delays to hospital treatment#.

• Ability for existing members to increase their excess (payable upon hospital admission) to the maximum allowable level under their policy without needing to be re-underwritten if they choose to reduce their excess as their financial situation improves^.

• Help for members navigating COVID-19 by publishing across our various channels (including nib.co.nz) information on their cover, how to minimise infection risk and related matters.

• A $1 million donation from nib foundation and nib to support charitable initiatives, including Lifeline Aotearoa and Clearhead, to assist the community across New Zealand and Australia during the pandemic.

• Offering up to two weeks paid special discretionary leave for all nib Group employees (permanent, fixed-term or casual) who are impacted by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 member support package will be now available until 30 September 2020. Members are encouraged to visit nib.co.nz or call 0800 123 642 to discuss available assistance.

*nib support package will be available for existing nib members (as at 31 March 2020) for a six month period, up until 30 September 2020. Policy terms and conditions still apply. Members must have GP or specialist cover under their policy to apply for the relevant tele or video conference benefits. #For pre-approvals issued before 1 July 2020. ^Members must apply for the excess reduction by 31 March 2021.

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