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SEPTEMBER 2012

living healthy Queensland Country Health Fund Member Newsletter ed.8

THE SKINNY On

fats!

FERTILITY AND

acupuncture THE MEANS TEST

what it means for you

better health cover shouldn’t hurt


From the

General Manager Health Fund

Financial Year Results

Member Survey

Although business conditions were somewhat challenging through

On a more positive note, we have recently received the results of

2011/12 with Australia experiencing a slow economic recovery the

our annual Member satisfaction survey. Thank you to all Members

Health Fund achieved some great results and is in good financial

who took the time to provide valuable feedback. The results showed

shape. We saw strong demand from consumers for our products

a further increase in very satisfied Members which has resulted in

and services with our policyholders increasing by 10% during the

98% of Members advising they are somewhat or very satisfied. This

year which is more that 3 times the growth achieved by the Health

is a terrific result but the data from the survey has also given us

Insurance industry. We now cover just over 38,000 people across

many areas to focus on and staff are working hard to further improve

regional Queensland. Health Fund assets also grew with total assets

our products and service.

now at $73 million which ensures we have strong reserves to pay future benefits payments. Rebate Legislation

Wellness Web Portal A new initiative that we have introduced as part of our new website is our wellness portal. The wellness portal has been developed to

Private Health Insurance has certainly received some focus from

provide Members with the ability to complete a comprehensive health

Government over the past 6 months. Following on from the Federal

risk assessment that will then provide information about how to

Government budget, the Fairer Private Health Insurance Bills were

better manage your health. If you have been thinking about a lifestyle

again entered into parliament for debate and have been passed.

change this might be a way to focus on what’s most important.

This has resulted in the introduction of means testing to determine eligibility for the Medicare rebate. This is a significant change to health insurance and is likely to affect many of our Members.

Thanks for your support of the Fund and I look forward to bringing you further information about policy enhancements a bit later in the year.

This amendment to the rebate does not change the great benefits available from our health insurance policies but will result in higher net premiums for higher income earners. I would encourage everyone to please read the article on page 6 of the magazine to determine if you are affected by the rebate legislation. It is important to adjust your rebate with us if you are affected by the legislation otherwise you may be faced with a tax bill at the end of the financial year.

Aaron Newman General Manager Queensland Country Health Fund Ph. 4750 3300 Em. anewman@qccu.com.au

Our very own staff member Jess is expecting her first child in October

CHECK OUT

JESS’S BLOG 2 Queensland Country Health Fund | September 2012

and has been sharing her experience with us via our blog. If you’d like to join her on her journey, visit our blog on our website www.qldcountryhealth.com.au/blog or follow the link from the home page!


Did you know?

*

national hospital network Whilst the bulk of our members are based in Queensland, we want you to know that we have an extensive hospital network Australia wide. We currently have contracts with 520 private hospitals throughout Australia. To check if the hospital that has been proposed for your treatment is part of this group, you can do a search on our website under the ‘find a hospital’ link. If the internet is not your thing, give us a call. We urge all our Members to contact us before

t

commencing any treatment in hospital so you know exactly what you’re covered for.

branch network We have a number of service centres throughout Regional Queensland. We operate in Mount Isa, Willows Shopping Centre Townsville, Gladstone, Ayr, and Canelands Shopping Centre Mackay. These centres are manned by dedicated Queensland Country Health Fund staff, and can assist face to face. We are also well represented in Queensland Country Credit Union branches Queensland wide. Whilst the staffs there are not solely trained in our products, they are able to assist you with general health insurance queries, and if they are not able to help, they will contact us for you immediately.

find us on facebook Social media is becoming an increasingly popular and efficient way to communicate with your family and friends, and why not your health fund too? Find us on facebook by searching Queensland Country Health Fund, and let us know what you want to see! We’ll be posting all sorts of health related news, recipes and sharing photos. Post on our page

x

and tell us what you want to see jump online and like us today!

emailing claims Have you made a claim recently and been unable to get into a branch to drop it off? Feel free to scan and email your claim to us at info@qchfund.com.au. Just print and complete a claim form from the website, scan your receipts, and email it all together in one email to our email address. We have a very quick claim turn around and if you include your bank details, we can get your money back to you even faster! Always remember to keep your original claim receipts for up to 7 years for audit purposes.

community involvement We love getting out there and support great community events and initiatives, especially if they’re promoting good health! Over the coming months we have pledged our support to the Townsville Running Festival, Charters Towers Cycling Festival and the Bowen Triathlon. Here’s some of our staff getting fit and having fun in the sun!

September 2012 | Queensland Country Health Fund 3


Kandi’s story BE

In March 2012, a good friend of mine was diagnosed with lymphoma, after experiencing lower back pain. Like most of us, she thought she had just pulled a muscle and went to see her physio who recommended a massage. For whatever reason, the massage therapist was concerned and urged my friend to have a

FO

scan. Unbelievably, it was lymphoma, and

RE

in several areas not just her lower back. It was such a shock to hear that a woman

AF R TE

in her early thirties could be facing a

of dealing with leukaemia and lymphoma,

life threatening illness. Mum to young

I made the bold decision to shave off all

children and feeling very scared, I was

my hair. If my friend had to go through

at a loss as to how to help her. There is

the illness, shaving my hair was the least I

nothing that you can do to ease the pain

could do.

or the worry. Aside from offering words of comfort, or babysitting duties, I wanted to do something more significant to show my support. That was when I decided to participate in the “World’s Greatest Shave” through the Leukaemia Foundation.

surrounded by our work colleagues, shaved our heads. It was a fantastic experience and we raised close to $1200. My friend is now on the road to recovery and feeling great. In the end such a small thing, like

As a demonstration of my support for my

shaving my head, made a big impact.

friend, and all those facing the challenges

Kandi

smart investor The Smart Investor magazine reviewed Private Hospital covers in May and we received recognition as being one of the two best health funds in Queensland for growing families and established families. The magazine then reviewed hospital and extras in their June edition and we have been again recognised in these two categories. Smart Investor compared hundreds of policies from 22 funds to get their results. It’s heartening to see that we are still one of the best choices available. We aim to keep it that way!

4 Queensland Country Health Fund | September 2012

On 18th April, I and another friend,


THE SKINNY

Lauren Nugent

on fats! ‘Good’ fat or ‘bad’ fat or even ‘ugly’ fat? Saturated or unsaturated? What are trans fats? Are fats leaving you

Eat Smart Nutrition Consultant

THE ‘GOOD’ Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats

dazed and confused? Let me

These fats help lower the bad

give you the skinny on fats!

type of cholesterol (LDL) and

Firstly, lipids (fats) are transported around your body and stored in your fat cells as triglycerides, a type of cholesterol. High blood cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Your liver makes about two-thirds of the cholesterol in your body with the other third coming from the foods and

increase the good type of cholesterol (HDL) in the body. It is recommended you include a small serve of good fats every day, but remember that even good fats will contribute to weight gain if consumed in too large a quantity. Foods rich in good fats are:

 ll raw and dry A roasted nuts

 eeds such as pumpkin, S sunflower, sesame

drinks you consume. Some types of cholesterol are good for your body as they protect our heart while other types contribute to the build-up of plaque in the arteries, which

Olives and olive oil

 anola, rice bran, C grapeseed and sunflower oils

leads to heart disease and stroke. Next, there are different

 ut oils such as peanut N and macadamia oils

 ish especially the oily F types such as tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines

Avocado

 argarines made from M canola, olive, rice bran or sunflower oil

types of fat, some of which promote good health, others can cause ill health. So which is which?

THE ‘BAD’

THE ‘UGLY’

Saturated fats increase the bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease the good cholesterol (HDL). You should aim to minimise these fats in your diet.

These fats stick to artery walls readily and act in the same way as saturated fats. They only occur in processed foods that use margarine in the cooking process. The best way to check for trans fats is to read the nutrition information panel on the package. Look for the product with the lowest saturated and trans fat level.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats can be found in:

T  he fat on meat such as lamb chops, bacon & rump steak T  he skin on chicken and other poultry

Trans fats

Some foods which may contain trans fats are:

F  ull cream dairy products such as full cream milk, cream & cheese

Biscuits

B  utter, lard, dripping, copha, ghee, Superfry

Cakes

B  aked products such as pastries, cakes and biscuits C  oconut, coconut milk, coconut cream P  alm oil (used in commercial biscuits and cookies) Eggs (if eating more than 6 per week)

Cookies

Baked products Pastries such as pies and savoury snacks F  oods containing vegetable shortening or partially hydrogenated oils (look in the ingredient list) To enjoy the ‘skinny’ on fats, include the good fats every day and limit the bad and ugly fats!

What about eggs and prawns – aren’t they high in cholesterol? Eggs and prawns do contain some pre-formed cholesterol: however they are low in saturated fat. It seems that only foods that are high in pre-formed cholesterol AND saturated fat affects your blood cholesterol levels. The National Heart Foundation recommends limiting eggs to 6 per week and cooking them using as little added fat as possible, for example, poaching, dry-frying, in the microwave or using a spray oil. Prawns can be enjoyed a few times per week as long as they are not deep-fried.

September 2012 | Queensland Country Health Fund 5


THE MEANS TEST

what it means for you! Prior to July 2012, Australians who held a health insurance policy were entitled to a rebate of 30% provided by the Federal Government to help meet the costs. This legislation has recently changed and could have an impact on how much rebate you are eligible to receive.

From 1 July 2012, the private health insurance rebate will be income tested. This means if you expect to earn more than $84 000 as a single, or more than $168 000 as a family, this financial year, then you will be affected. Using the table below, work out which income tier you will be in and see how these changes will affect you. To avoid a nasty surprise at tax time next year, you need to contact us immediately to make sure you are on the correct tier.

Prior to July 2012

Cover

Singles

Families

Income tier

From July 1, 2012

Rebate Level

Medicare Levy surcharge %

Rebate level

Medicare Levy Surcharge %

Taxable income p.a.

Non-tier

Less than $84,000

30%

0.00%

30%

0.00%

Tier 1

$84,001 - $97,000

30%

1.00%

20%

1.00%

Tier 2

$97,001 - $130,000

30%

1.00%

10%

1.25%

Tier 3

$130,001 or more

30%

1.00%

0%

1.50%

Non-tier

Less than $168,000

30%

0.00%

30%

0.00%

Tier 1

$168,001 - $194,000

30%

1.00%

20%

1.00%

Tier 2

$194,001 – $260,000

30%

1.00%

10%

1.25%

Tier 3

$260,001 or more

30%

1.00%

0%

1.50%

6 Queensland Country Health Fund | September 2012


WILL THIS AFFECT ME?

No change You earn less than $84 000 (single) You earn less than $168 000 (family) • If you have private health insurance, you will continue to receive the 30% rebate • You won’t have to pay the Medicare levy surcharge • If you or your partner are over 65 years of age you may receive a higher rebate than 30%

Tier

1

Tier

You earn between $84 001 and $97 000 (single)

2

Tier

You earn between $97 001 and $130 000 (single)

You earn between $168 001 and $194 000 (family)

You earn between $194 001 and $260 000 (family)

• If you have private health insurance, you will receive a 20% rebate • If you don’t have private health insurance hospital cover, you will continue to pay the 1 percent Medicare levy surcharge. For example, a Tier 1 single without private health insurance hospital cover will pay a Medicare levy surcharge of $900 if their income is $90 000* • If you or your partner are over 65 years of age, you may receive a rebate higher than the 20%

• If you have private health insurance you will receive a 10% rebate • If you don’t have private health insurance hospital cover, you will pay a 1.25% Medicare levy surcharge. For example, a Tier 2 single without private health insurance hospital cover will pay a Medicare levy surcharge of $1 375 if their income is $110 000 • If you or your partner are over 65 years of age you may receive a rebate higher than 10%

WHAT ACTION DO YOU NEED TO TAKE?

If you fall into any of the listed income brackets, you need to contact us to advise which rebate you are now eligible for. If you don’t adjust the rebate to match your income, it will be reflected in your tax return.

• •

You can adjust your rebate by logging into your membership via our online member services. If you have not yet registered for a password, please do this first. To change your rebate online, please follow the following steps: • Go to the my details tab • Click on the change contribution details tab

3

You earn more than $130 001 (single) You earn more than $260 001 (family) • If you have private health insurance you will no longer receive a rebate regardless of your age • If you don’t have private health insurance hospital cover, you will pay a 1.5% Medicare levy surcharge. For example, a Tier 3 single without private health insurance hospital will pay a Medicare levy surcharge of $2 250 if their income is $150 000 *The Medicare levy surcharge is taxed on your taxable income, reportable fringe benefits and any amounts on which family trust distribution tax has been paid.

Scroll down the page until you reach Government Rebate Income tiers Select which tier applies to you Submit

If you’re not tech savvy, then please give us a call on 1800 813 415 and we’d be happy to adjust your rebate. Be ready with your membership number when you call. This is brand new legislation and we might not have all the answers for you. If you’re unsure on your taxable income or how these changes will affect you, please contact your personal tax accountant or the ATO.

September 2012 | Queensland Country Health Fund 7


BENEFITS IN FOCUS - Acupuncture

Fertility AND Acupuncture

Fertility focused Acupuncture treatments help to gently nourish the body and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs while balancing hormone and stress levels. These treatments can also improve the lining of the uterus and improve the quality of eggs.

Pre menstruation Signs and symptoms we look for in pre-menstruation are Breast tenderness, bloating, abdominal cramping and fluctuation in emotions – especially irritability. From a TCM perspective, we would see these symptoms as a

When treating Fertility with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese

sign of what we call a Liver Qi Stagnation. Liver Qi Stagnation is

Medicine (TCM), it is vital to first understand all aspects of the

the constriction of energy flow (Qi) at the time when the body is

menstrual cycle. This includes Pre-menstruation, Menstruation and

preparing to shed the lining of the uterus (pre-menstrual). Other

Ovulation. These are the stages of the cycle when Acupuncture

signs that can indicate a Liver Qi Stagnation may be insomnia,

treatments are most beneficial. From a TCM perspective, it is

nightmares, waking between 1am and 3am, frequent sighing or

important to observe the length and regularity of the cycle as well as

anxiety.

the colour and texture of the menstrual blood and also to study what happens to the body pre menstruation, both mentally and physically. Once we have observed these details of the menstrual cycle it helps to draw a clear picture and determine the TCM diagnosis and treatment path.

Menstruation When looking at signs and symptoms of menstruation, there are 2 main elements we focus on. The 1st is blood deficiency. Signs of blood deficiency could be light or scanty bleeding with bleeding only lasting for 1 -3 days with limited use of tampons or pads and menstruation may be irregular.

8 Queensland Country Health Fund | September 2012


N Other signs and symptoms can be dizziness, cold hands and feet,

Menstruation it is best to increase the intake of blood nourishing foods

weak or brittle finger nails, thinning hair, light sleep as well as

such as meat (especially chicken or beef), oysters, eggs, legumes,

fluctuation in emotions - more flat than irritable.

green leafy vegetables, wheatgrass, carrots, beetroot, tempeh, coconut

The 2nd element is Blood Stagnation. Signs and symptoms could be

and even vegemite.

a heavier, dark or clotted flow with lower abdominal pain that is worse

After the time of ovulation it is beneficial to consume warming and Qi

with pressure.

moving foods like lamb and beef kidney, salmon, mussel, black pepper, chive, pistachio, onion, leek, chives and dry ginger.

Ovulation From a TCM perspective, Ovulation is related to the kidneys. The kidneys govern the growth and development of the eggs. If there is an issue with ovulation whether it be low follicle count or lack of hormone stimulation it generally indicates kidney deficiency. Other signs and symptoms of kidney deficiency could be poor memory or forgetfulness, fatigue, frequent urination and weak or aching lower back and legs. Along with the use of Acupuncture and TCM there are also many things that can be done at home to increase chances of conception.

Michael Dare Zen Den Acupuncture

Some things may include dietary and lifestyle changes with certain foods being beneficial at certain stages of the cycle. After

Acupuncture We offer great benefits for a range of natural therapies, including Acupuncture. Acupuncture originates in China and can be used to treat a wide variety of different ailments and conditions. To see what benefits we’ll pay on your level of cover, please see below.

Type of Service

Initial and subsequent consultation

Waiting Period

2 months

Premium Extras

Essential Extras

$1400 overall limit per membership year. Limit applies per person covered

$900 overall limit per membership year. Limit applies per person covered

Young Extras

Smart Start

Alternative therapies combined limit applies

Alternative therapies combined limit applies

$35

$22

$30

$30

Always make sure that your Acupuncturist is fully accredited before commencing any treatment. September 2012 | Queensland Country Health Fund 9


BENEFITS IN FOCUS - Preventative Dental

Have you been to the

hygienist recently? One of the many things I hear are that I brush twice a day but I still get holes, so why does this happen? It’s all about the technique. Cleaning teeth effectively is difficult, like sweeping the floors with your eyes closed. Most people after hundreds of times brushing start to form a habit; they start at the same spot, move around in a certain way and finish at the same spot. This can lead to spots that are missed or places the toothbrush can’t get to, like in between the teeth where only floss can reach. Without flossing bacteria will still build up in between the teeth. This is where

This is where Hygienists or Preventive Dentistry comes in. Regular visits to the dentist or the hygienist allows us a chance to see where habits might be missing or dietary factors that may be influencing dental health. Our role is to educate patients on correct techniques and habits to incorporate these missed areas, like having someone to guide you whilst sweeping the floors with your eyes closed. New habits are learnt but new areas may then get missed. It is why regular visits are so important, to catch things early when a change in the habit may be all that is needed.

decay starts to form. The majority of decay we see is in the fissures

The last time I visited the hygienist, I was missing the insides of the

or grooves of the biting surfaces, around the gums and in

bottom teeth. This time it was the outside of the bottom left teeth.

between teeth.

Maybe the right side got a bit more love and attention but it goes to

Catch decay early enough, before it breaks or before there is pain and you may be able to get a filling into it but that doesn’t fix the

prove even I can’t see my own teeth, so it is lucky I see my Hygienist every six months.

technique. The plaque and bacteria continues to build up around the filling and starts to attack the join between the filling and the tooth. Soon the filling may fall out or the nerve gets hit and a bigger hole, pain or even an abscess exists. Root canals, crowns, bridges, extractions and finally dentures may result, all at more cost and complexity and this continues the cycle.

Dr Josh Pond BDSc Hons. (QLD)

As part of maintaining great teeth and gums,

Type of Service

it’s important to visit your Dentist/Hygienist every 6

Diagnostic

months.

This includes

At Queensland Country Health Fund, we provide

examinations, consultations,

Waiting Period

Premium Extras $600

$400

$500*

$500*

2

Periodic Oral Exam

Periodic Oral Exam

Periodic Oral

Periodic Oral

months

X-rays etc

Essential Extras

Young Extras

Smart Start

- $42

- $27

Exam - $32

Exam - $32

X-rays - $30

X-rays - $19

X-rays - $23

X-rays - $23

$500*

great dental benefits towards diagnostic and

Preventative

preventative dental

This includes cleaning

treatments. Please see

and scaling, fluoride treatment, oral

the table to the right for

hygiene instruction

your coverage. Benefits

and mouth guards

are paid out of your yearly dental limit.

2 months

$800

$500

$500*

Scale & Clean

Scale & Clean

Scale & Clean

Scale &

- $70

- $45

- $53

Clean - $53

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride treatment

Fluoride treatment

- $20

- $13

- $15

- $15

*Young Extras Dental: General dental, surgical extractions and crown and bridges are covered by a combined limit of $500 per person, up to $1000 per policy

10 Queensland Country Health Fund | September 2012


ONLINE MEMBER SERVICES

Have you jumped online to look at our updated website? We’ve listened to Member feedback and made some changes, streamlining the look and making it much more user friendly. If you’re busy and can’t get to the phone, then you can use our Online Member Services to do any number of membership changes. You can review benefit limits, update your address, change your bank details & change your contribution frequency and method, the list goes on! If you are looking for tax statements like rebate statements and claim statements, you can also get these from our website! For a tax statement, please see under the tab Useful Tools and choose which year you would like to reproduce. Claim statements can be found under the claims tab, and select claims history. You can then enter a date range. Due to privacy laws, dependants over the age of 16, will not be shown on the website. Another excellent function through our new Online Member Services is the ability to order a new Membership Card. If your card is looking a little on the sad side, if it’s been sat on in your wallet a few too many times, cracked down the middle, or disappeared to the land where all those left socks have gotten to, then you need a new card! You can give us a call on 1800 813 415 and we’ll organise a new one for you, or you can jump online and order it through your membership. Just follow these steps: • Visit our website www.qldcountryhealth.com.au • Login to online member services using your Membership number and password, if you haven’t registered you’ll need to do that first • Once you have logged in , use your mouse, & hover on the tab ‘useful tools’ then select order membership card from the options • Make sure your address is up to date and if it isn’t follow the prompts to update • Select who you would like to order a new card for • Request your card via the red tab at the bottom of the screen • Please remember that your membership card is as important as your credit card or bank card. If you lose it, please notify us as soon as possible. September 2012 | Queensland Country Health Fund 11


Wellness Portal An exciting new feature through our Online Member

If your results suggest that you may be at risk of chronic disease you may be asked if you would like to participate in a health management program. This is totally up to you and is free of

Services is the Strive for Health Wellness Portal. You

charge.

can find this portal when you login into our Online

Once you login, use your mouse and hover over the tab labelled

Member Services. On your first visit you will be prompted to complete a Health Risk Assessment (HRA). This is an extensive questionnaire regarding your health and wellbeing. Be prepared to answer questions regarding your weight, height, dietary and exercise habits, even your blood pressure. Don’t panic if you don’t have all this information on you at the time, you can go back and complete it later. Obviously the more information that you can provide, the more conclusive your results will be. The assessment will show you where you may need some tips regarding your health. Maybe your BMI is too high, or you could benefit from adding more vegetables into your daily food intake. You can set up a “to do” list, get health tips and add in your upcoming Doctor’s appointments. Why not Strive for Health and use the website as your own personal health management

My Details then select the Strive for Health from the drop down menu. You will be then be taken to the Strive for Health website and asked to identify yourself. This means that you and your partner, or your kids, can use this service individually. You will all have your own password and your information will not be shared with anyone else. That also means that the information and advice given will be unique to your health and wellbeing. As an incentive to jump online (www.qldcountryhealth. com.au) and complete the assessment, we are giving away 3 iPads to three lucky Members who complete the Health Risk Assessment running from the 1st of October to 31st December! Jump online and Strive for good Health today!

record which is complimentary for our Members?

better health cover shouldn’t hurt


Living Healthy Magazine September 2012