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LIVING

healthy MAGAZINE

FEBRUARY 2013 Queensland Country Health Fund Policyholder Newsletter ed.9

SPECIAL OPTICAL

discounts

CHANGES TO

benefits super foods

THE MEANS TEST

for you

better health cover shouldn’t hurt


From the

General Manager Health Fund

Health insurance has remained in news headlines over the past six

As you may be aware, it is coming up to that time of year when we

months with the Government announcing a number of proposed

need to notify our policyholders of an increase in premiums. Our

changes to the Medicare Rebate. The most recent proposed change

focus has always been to keep health insurance as affordable as

reduces the Medicare Rebate for policyholders who currently pay a

possible. We are proud of the fact that our premium increases have

Lifetime Health Cover loading.

been less than our major competitors and the industry average for

The Government has proposed that from July 01 this year, the portion of a policyholder’s premium that relates to the loading will no longer receive a Medicare rebate. For most people (who pay a loading) this will not be a significant change, although the change is

each of the past eight years. During the past five years we have also been able to increase benefits each year. This year we have done it again. Our latest review of benefits has been completed and we have outlined these changes further in the magazine.

likely to impact lower income earners. This is certainly not a change

Thank you for continuing to support the Health Fund and I welcome

Queensland Country Health Fund supports and these concerns

any feedback you would like to share.

have been expressed to Government via our industry association (HIRMAA). The change is yet to be passed through parliament. On a more positive note, Queensland Country is in the final testing stage of a mobile optimised website and Online Member Services. We will have both of these access points available in the next couple of months. These enhancements will provide policyholders with improved online access to information and policy details via smart phones, tablets etc. You also might be interested to know that we have commenced a

Aaron Newman General Manager Queensland Country Health Fund Em. anewman@qccu.com.au

promotion in February which benefits our existing policyholders. If you appreciate the value of your health insurance with us why not tell a friend. If your friend then joins as a policyholder by the end of March we will send you a $200 gift card to say thank you!

“

We are proud of the fact that our premium increases have been less than our

major competitors

and the industry average for each of the past 8 years

2 Queensland Country Health Fund | FEBRUARY 2013


SPECIAL OPTICAL discounts

Queensland Country Health Fund has established a number of preferred provider arrangements with leading optical providers. These arrangements mean that our policyholders receive special discounts (for those who have Extras cover) for the purchase of eyewear frames and prescription lenses. The following table outlines the different optical providers we have arrangements with and the discount they offer to Queensland Country policyholders.

Townsville only

A 40-60% discount will apply to all optical frames when purchasing a complete set of spectacles

Prescription spectacle lenses attract a 15% discount

Prescription contact lenses attract a 15% discount

Townsville only

A discount of 21% on all glasses frames and lenses and a discount of 10% on all contact lenses purchased at retail stores.

A discount of 21% on all glasses frames and lenses and a discount of 10% on all contact lenses purchased at retail stores.

A discount of 21% on all glasses frames and lenses and a discount of 10% on all contact lenses purchased at retail stores.

25% discount for one pair of complete glasses (frames and lenses) from the $149 range or above, purchased at retail stores (no discount applies on two pair deals or complete glasses with less than $149 value)

20% discounts on optical extras (extras include suntint and UV filter, Polaroid lenses, Transitions lenses, driving tints, Drivewear lenses, Thin and Light lenses)

Free contact lens assessment, fitting and trial (no discounts apply to contact lens purchases)

Eye tests bulk billed to Medicare plus free Digital Retinal Photography

Be rewarded with $200

VISIT qldcountryhealth.com.au/cover-options/promotions FEBRUARY 2013 | Queensland Country Health Fund 3


Did you know... Queensland Country pay benefits towards the usual and customary charges of essential health care expenses not reimbursed from any other source e.g. School indemnity Insurance or Travel insurance if a Dependant Child is injured at school, in a school activity or travelling to or from school. These benefits may include services claimed through Medicare which can be submitted to Queensland Country Health Fund for a top-up to be paid from the School Accident Benefit up to the Membership year limit.

@ 4 Queensland Country Health Fund | September 2012

School Accident Benefit Limits per membership year and what we will pay

Type of

Waiting

Service

Period

Premium Extras

Essential Extras

Young Extras

2 months

100% - limit of $750 per dependant child per membership year

100% - limit of $450 per dependant child per membership year

Not offered under Young Extras

School accidents


Supporting the Community Queensland Country Health Fund actively supports many community initiatives across the state that assists to build healthier communities.

L

A more recent event we sponsored was the Bowen Triathlon. It was a great success with more than 250 adults and 40 kids participating.

12pbUAZN Hospital Network

Queensland Country Health Fund has negotiated purchaser provider agreements with most of the private hospitals and day hospital facilities Australia wide. We have agreements with over 500 private hospitals across Australia which means you have access to quality medical care wherever you live. In most instances, the approved hospital charges for policyholders of a Private Hospital policy will be covered in full once the agreed excess has been deducted. This means that you will benefit from capped fees we’ve negotiated and convenient billing as your invoice will be sent directly to Queensland Country.

To find the nearest contracted private hospital go to our website www.qldcountryhealth.com.au/find-a-hospital

FEBRUARY 2013 | Queensland Country Health Fund 5


CHANGES to benefits Dental The Health Fund completed an extensive review of dental benefits in 2011, with increases to most diagnostic and preventative treatments and restorations. This review has focussed on areas where we have received the strongest feedback from policyholders and staff. For the most part this revolves around crowns and bridges. Crowns can have substantial out of pocket expenses depending on the dentist used. The amounts payable for individual items numbers has been increased along with the annual sub-limit for Crowns. The changes are as follows: Crowns and Bridges increase to individual dental item numbers:

Current benefit

New benefit

Current benefit

New benefit

Premium Extras

Premium Extras

Essential Extras

Essential Extras

Existing Benefit $

New Benefit $

$500 (accumulating

$550 (accumulating

to $700 per year

to $1,000 per year

after 2 years of

after 2 years of

membership)

membership)

Existing Benefit $ $700 (accumulating Sub-Limit

to $1,400 per year after 2 years of membership)

New Benefit $ $800 (accumulating to $1,500 per year after 2 years of membership)

611

450

500

288

320

613

700

800

448

512

615

700

800

448

512

618

700

800

448

512

625

190

240

122

154

627

110

130

70

83

629

181

230

116

147

631

150

180

96

115

632

180

200

115

128

We have also increased the benefits paid for individual item numbers for Smart Start Extras and Young Extras. There has been no changes to sub-limits for these products.

6 Queensland Country Health Fund | FEBRUARY 2013


Therapies The Health Fund currently pays attractive benefits for dietician consultations. Whilst our current benefits for these services compare favourably against our competitors our wish was simply to make it more affordable for policyholders to seek advice from a dietician. Obesity is one of the leading causes of chronic disease and if we can provide our policyholders with more affordable treatment it will hopefully lead to some improved health outcomes. We have also increased the benefit for occupational therapy. The table below shows the increased benefit available from April 01, 2013. New benefit Premium Extras

New benefit Essential Extras

New benefit Smart Start Extras

New benefit Young Extras

Dietician initial consultation

$75

$48

$55

$55

subsequent consultation

$40

$26

$35

$35

initial consultation

$80

$51

N/A

N/A

subsequent consultation

$40

$26

N/A

N/A

Occupational Therapy

Single Parent Premium for Private Hospital Cover Queensland Country currently has premiums for single adult policies and family policies (which is twice the single adult premium). Given that adults under a family hospital cover account for the majority of claims, it is logical that a single parent family cover premium should be lower than a family policy covering two adults. Therefore we will be introducing a reduced premium for family policies where there is only one adult covered from April 01,2013. We will be reducing the family premium for Private Hospital Cover by 20% for family covers with one adult. There will be no discount for Extras cover. Existing policyholders who hold a family Private Hospital cover and have only one adult covered, will be contacted in the next month to be advised of the reduction in their policy premium.

FEBRUARY 2013 | Queensland Country Health Fund 7


.

CHANGES to benefits (cont.) Healthy Living Benefit Queensland Country currently pays a living healthy benefit of $125/$150 per policy depending on the product. This payment provides a benefit for policyholders who participate in a quit smoking or weight loss program. We are changing this benefit so that it is available per person covered under the policy rather than per policy.

No Excess for Children

This will therefore provide all family members with access to a benefit

For those policyholders who have a private

which will allow them to be more proactive at managing their health.

hospital cover with an excess, we currently

Extras Product Premium Extras

Essential Extras

Smart Start Extras Young Extras

offer an excess exemption for children up

New benefit

to and including five years who require a

$150 annual limit – benefit limit applies per person covered

hospital admission. This will now be extended to

$125 annual limit – benefit limit applies

include children up to and

per person covered

including 10 years to try

$125 per person up to $250 per policy

and reduce the financial

per year

burden for young families

$125 per person up to $250 per policy

if there is a hospital or

per year

day surgery admission.

Mobile optimised website Queensland Country has been developing betters ways for our policyholders to access information regarding their policies. One initiative which will be available in March is a mobile optimised website. This means that when our website is accessed using a mobile device, i.e. a smart phone or tablet, a simplified website is shown providing easy access to the most popular pages of our site. Below is an example of how the mobile site will look. 8 Queensland Country Health Fund | FEBRUARY 2013

We are also working on a mobile optimised version of our Online Member Services which will allow policyholders to access their own personal policy details via a mobile device to check on the availability of benefits, update personal details and even change the level of cover. Testing is being completed at the moment and this should be available in April.

^


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.

Lauren Nugent Eat Smart Nutrition Consultant

Make 2013 Super with the New Super Foods! There are a host of new ‘super’ foods being touted as energy giving, disease preventing, revitalizing, youth preserving and overall powerhouses of nutrition. But do they do all they claim to?

giving but they still contribute calories and

eating a block of raw cacao however

carbohydrate to the diet so be aware that

it can be added to smoothies, yoghurt,

you can have too much of a good thing!

used in cooking or making a hot/cold

They do carry a hefty price tag so you may

chocolate drink. It is touted to have

like to get your antioxidants from fresh,

many health benefits from being an

frozen or other dried berries.

aphrodisiac to increasing our feel good chemicals to being a muscle relaxant due

Acai Berry

to its high magnesium content. For my

Pronounced ‘ah-sigh-ee’, this non-typical

eating pleasure, I’d rather a great tasting

berry is actually a reasonable source of

chocolate a little less often over a very

protein. Similar to Goji it is also high in

bitter somewhat chocolate-y powder

Chia seeds

antioxidants and a range of micronutrients.

every day!

Originating from Central America, this

The Acai berry is extremely sensitive

seed is a water absorbing seed that can be

to light and air so make sure you store

Spirulina

made in to a gel or used in baking as well

it properly. Is it worth the hype? A

A high protein, non-meat source of

as simply being added to cereal, yoghurt or

reasonable source of protein for those who

nutrition. While this may be true in large

a smoothie. The seeds are high in soluble

struggle to find enough protein in their diet

quantities, most people only consume

fibre, Omega-3 fatty acids and contain

(e.g. vegetarian or vegan eaters) but for

spirulina in small doses so its value is rarely

protein, calcium, vitamin C and antioxidants.

most they are not a tasty (in fact they’re

felt. Most people would prefer to get their

Great for people who experience

quite tasteless) way to good health!

protein from a nice piece of steak, chickpea

constipation and for those looking for a

pattie or a tub of yoghurt rather than a

non-fish source of Omega-3s. They can be

Maca

expensive however, a cheaper option with

The Incan super food! This is a “revitalizing”

the same benefits are flaxseeds.

powder, which contains amino acids (the

Super foods they may be, but good health,

building blocks of protein), essential fatty

vitality, youthfulness and vigour is achieved

Goji berries

acids (e.g. Omega-3s) and micro nutrients.

through many aspects of life, not just the

An extremely rich source of antioxidants

Anecdotally people swear by it, however,

foods we put in our mouth. So to live

that provide high levels of vitamin C. They

the scientific community is still waiting for

a long and prosperous life - Eat Smart,

taste like cherries and can be added to

the revitalizing to occur!

exercise, keep your mind active, care for

cereal, muesli, yoghurt, baking or simply

green drink.

your heart and you are on your way to a

enjoyed by themselves. Goji berries are a

Cacao

dried fruit and as such should be enjoyed in

Raw chocolate? Yep, this is raw chocolate!

a 2 tblsp serving size. They may be health

What does it taste like? Very, very bitter

super 2013!

chocolate. Can’t see too many people FEBRUARY 2013 | Queensland Country Health Fund 9


The Low Down on High Intensity Not all of us can afford a gym

the park while the kids play, and then walk

membership, or can fit in hour long

that same distance back. How many times

workouts at the gym each day. And some

can you do that in 20 minutes? Next time

of us, who might be exercise-phobes or

– beat it! Be inventive, be creative and

workaholics, find it pretty daunting to even

time yourself. Exercise isn’t just about how

START! Well, let me introduce you to the

you look and a number on the scales. It’s

wonderful, time efficient world of

also about fitness and strength gain, and

interval training!

feeling happy and strong, in body

“Inter....whaaaaa’?!” you say. Interval

and mind.

training! This form of training generally

If you are lucky enough to have some

includes cardio and often strength training

gym equipment at home, think full body

exercises, working at a high intensity,

exercises. Why just squat when you

with less intense blocks, or rest periods,

could be holding dumbbells (or even a

in between. With the peaks and the lows,

tin of beans or water bottles!) and doing

it’s a really efficient way to boost your

overhead presses at the same time? More

metabolic rate which means you’ll still be

muscles, more calories burnt.

burning calories even after the session has finished. Studies have shown that a 20 minute interval session versus a 45

“I

Lauren Kelly Lauren Kelly Personal Training

How much and how often you do this is ultimately up to you. Ideally, a 20-30 minute workout 4-6 times a week would

don’t have time for exercise!”

minute steady pace session can actually

Sound familiar?

So my question is, why aren’t we ALL

improve your health and wellbeing. Just do

doing this? Especially as most of us are

what you can! Add in extra bits and pieces

Well, I have some exciting and possibly surprising news for you....you do!

time poor, working long hours, looking

where you’re able – park a little further

after the kids, the house, studying - the list

away from work, ride your bike to work,

goes on and on.

take the stairs. All those things count!

Don’t have equipment? No problem! Think

But the most important thing is to find balance. Find exercise you love that fits in with your current lifestyle. Dancing, rock climbing, bush walking, swimming - just move! That, with a healthy, balanced diet will make our mind and our body work as one.

You don’t always need to do a lot, you just need to be doing the right things at the right intensity. Even five or ten minutes a day will do, especially if it’s a choice between that and nothing at all.

burn more calories overall. More bang for your buck – yes please!

push ups, sit ups, squats, lunges, hovers and planks. Then introduce what I like to call, the puffy stuff! Jump squats, sprints in your backyard, fast mountain climbers, and utilising hills and steps. Check out body weight exercises online, and you’ll

So, what’s in it for you?

be amazed by the variety of things you

Ultimately, exercise makes us happy. It

can do, even in your own home. How

keeps us healthy, helps you to sleep better,

about squats for one minute, followed by

maintains energy levels throughout the

a 30 second wall hold squat and 10 jump

day and it can even assist in alleviating the

squats? Repeat that whole sequence 3-4

symptoms of stress and depression.

times for a cardio leg blast! Or sprint in

10 Queensland Country Health Fund | FEBRUARY 2013

be best, for fitness and strength gains. But if you only have 5-10 minutes a day, that’s OK, you’re going to definitely help

A very happy one!


News too good to keep to yourself REFER A FRIEND BEFORE MARCH 29 TO JOIN QUEENSLAND COUNTRY HEALTH FUND AND BE rewarded with $200* …Don’t forget to remind your friends when joining they need to tell us your name and contact details so we can send you your reward!

qldcountryhealth.com.au *Offer valid 4 February to 29 March 2013 and excludes corporate, public hospital cover and Young Extras. Terms and conditions apply and can be obtained by calling 1800 813 415. Queensland Country Health Fund Ltd ABN 18 085 048 237.


Wellness Portal

+

Queensland Country launched an exciting new feature through our Online Member Services in October last year. Our new wellness portal provides some online tools to help our policyholders manage their health. The portal includes a Health Risk Assessment (HRA), a personal health record and a web based coaching and personalised health news. We have had a great response from policyholders since the launch and many have already completed a health risk assessment. As an incentive over the past three months, we offered policyholders the opportunity to win one of three iPads for completing a HRA. The promotion finished at the end of December and the following lucky Members each won an iPad:

Zora, Warilla NSW Robert, South Mackay QLD Lisa, Thuringowa Central QLD

Congra

tulation

s Lisa!


Martin Hodgson BSc (Hons) Optometrist, The Optical Superstore, Townsville

Cataracts Explained A cataract is an opacity, or loss of transparency of the eye’s crystalline lens. Age related cataracts are common, however cataracts can occur at any age and children may even be born with congenital cataracts. Fortunately, with modern surgical techniques the treatment of cataract is a simple matter for the patient – normally a short, low-risk outpatient procedure.

vision. Some small congenital cataracts

at the same appointment if arrangements

may resemble dots or specks on the

are being made for surgery. Alternatively

crystalline lens and not require treatment,

the surgeon might recommend periodic

but larger cataracts require surgery. Other

observation until the cataracts are ‘ready’ to

possible causes of cataract include trauma,

be removed.

systemic disease, eye disease and sideeffects from medications.

Modern cataract surgery is a truly amazing hi-tech procedure with very low risk of

Cataracts can be detected during a routine

serious complications. A surgeon should

eye examination by your optometrist or

explain the procedure in detail and make

general practitioner. Often early signs of

the patient fully aware of the risks involved.

cataracts will prompt a clinician to simply

Normally a single cataract is removed and

monitor your eyes with annual or six-

replaced with an intraocular lens implant

monthly check-ups. Cataracts may take

during an outpatient procedure that may

several years to develop to the stage where

take as little as 20 minutes. Surgery is

surgery is indicated. On the other hand,

performed using local anaesthetic, but the

occasionally an early cataract will worsen

patient is often also given a mild sedative.

significantly in a matter of months. It is

The majority of patients are pleasantly

The symptoms of age related cataract

always important to see an optometrist

surprised at how easy and comfortable

often begin with glare from oncoming

promptly if you feel that your vision in one

the procedure is. If a cataract needs to be

car headlights at night or from the sun

or both eyes has deteriorated.

removed from the second eye this is often

when it is low in the sky. This is caused

The decision on when to refer a cataract

by light scatter from the cataract. Other

patient to an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon)

Accurate measurements and modern

common symptoms are the result of

is based on the severity of a patient’s

surgical techniques ensure that many

cataracts significantly reducing the amount

symptoms and the observations of the

patients are less reliant on spectacles

of light entering the eye – often patients

optometrist or GP. Some patients are

following cataract surgery. Often reading

complain of needing a bright light close

keen to have cataracts removed as early

glasses only will be required.

by for reading and difficulties with poor

as possible to achieve optimum vision and

contrast tasks such as reading newspapers

possibly reduce the reliance on spectacles.

or sewing dark fabrics. Age-related

Others prefer the more conservative

cataracts become increasingly common

approach of waiting until symptoms

with advancing age over the age of sixty

are causing noticeably poor vision and

and, although one eye will often develop a

significant inconvenience (e.g. not being

cataract earlier than the other most patients

able to drive at night) before opting

eventually develop cataracts in both eyes.

for surgery.

Congenital cataracts occur in roughly 4

A cataract patient’s initial appointment with

in 10,000 infants and are responsible

an ophthalmologist will involve a thorough

for nearly 10% of childhood vision loss

eye examination and a discussion of the

worldwide. Early detection and treatment

implications of surgery. A number of scans

is essential for a child to develop normal

and measurements will be taken, possibly

performed a few weeks after the first.

As an optometrist it is a pleasure to see patients return to me a month after cataract surgery, delighted with the outcome and

S

amazed at how simple it was to fix their cataracts.

FEBRUARY 2013 | Queensland Country Health Fund 13


Travelling Overseas

If you’re lucky enough to travel overseas, and you’re going to be absent from Australia for more than 4 weeks and less than 24 months, and provided you’ve fulfilled all the criteria, you may apply for a suspension on your policy. This will allow you to stop paying your premiums for a period when you are overseas. Please call us for full details when you’re making your travel plans.

Queensland Flood Appeal Queensland Country is again getting behind the Queensland Flood Appeal after flood waters ravaged Central Queensland in late January this year. Donation points have been set up at all Queensland Country Credit Union branches, to raise funds for the great work St Vincent De Paul are doing in providing financial aid and personal support to those who need it most.

14 Queensland Country Health Fund | FEBRUARY 2013

Funds donated to St Vincent De Paul will provide recovery efforts for those most affected and assist in the long term support they will require. We have also written and emailed to policyholders in the locations affected offering options if they are having difficulty paying premiums to help ease any financial difficulties. If these communications have not reached you and you have been affected by the floods, please feel free to contact us on 1800 813 415.


Healthy Living Benefit As well as helping you get well we want to help you stay well. Therefore we offer benefits to encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle. Queensland Country offers benefits for a range of services that assist in improving health. We will pay up to $150 per person per membership to assist you to:

P  articipate in your choice of weight loss programs (excluding: gym memberships, personal training and other physical activity programs)

 Consultation fees for Metabolic dieticians and nutritionists when providing assistance with weight loss

Participate in quit smoking programs

B  owel screening tests and bone density tests (no doctors referral will be required)

Have your skin checked for skin cancers through mole mapping

 P  SA test (one per year). We will cover a second yearly test not covered by Medicare

Consultation fees for Diabetes educators

Limits per membership year and what we will pay *From April 1 the benefits will apply per person covered.

Type of service

Healthy Living

Waiting periods

2 months

Premium Extras

Essential Extras

$150 per person

$125 per person

covered*

covered*

Smart Start/ Young Extras $125 per person, up to $250 per policy per year*

FEBRUARY 2013 | Queensland Country Health Fund 15


OUR GREEN LOANS CAN HELP YOU

spend less

AND SAVE MORE‌ By paying no establishment fee or ongoing monthly fees and less on future utility bills

a refreshing attitude to banking

Call 1800 075 078 or visit your local branch today.

16

1800 075 078 qccu.com.au Queensland Country Health Fund | FEBRUARY 2013

Minimum borrowing of $3,000. Maximum amount of $20,000. Normal lending criteria applies. Interest rates subject to change. Terms and conditions available on request. Queensland Country Credit Union Limited ABN 77 087 651 027 Australian Credit Licence 244 533.

Living Healthy Magazine February 2013  

Queensland Country Health Fund Living Healthy Magazine February 2013