Message for our Victorian members 

New restrictions on non-urgent elective surgery

In the last week, the Victorian Premier has announced that all non-urgent Category 2 elective surgery across public and private hospitals in Victoria would be paused, to ensure the availability of hospital beds, equipment and staff, and for the evolving situation with aged care home residents. This expands on the announcement made on 16 July suspending all Category 3 elective surgery.

Where possible, pre-booked surgeries will proceed, but for the time being only new Category 1 and urgent Category 2 surgeries will be booked. 

If you need to find out about the status of a pre-booked or planned admission, it is important that you speak with your doctor and hospital first to confirm whether you have been impacted.  

Support measures are still available to all members

We take this opportunity to remind members, especially those in Victoria, of the support measures available at this time - 

  • Options for financial relief are still available if you are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. We encourage you to contact our Member Services team to discuss your situation and the options available. Each submission will be reviewed confidentially and, on a case-by-case basis.
  • All members with a hospital policy will continue to be fully covered if admitted to hospital as a private patient due to COVID-19. This includes members with Smart Starter Bronze Plus, regardless of the exclusions and restrictions that apply on this policy. Normal waiting periods apply for new members. 
  • Tele and video consultations for psychology, physiotherapy, dietetics, speech pathology, occupational therapy and podiatry can still be claimed under all Extras covers. 
  • Information on hospital in the home services can be found here.

Our thoughts are with members as the uncertainty continues

We extend our thoughts to all members in Victoria, as the uncertainty and events of heightened stress continue. We especially thank those responding to the crisis on the front-line, and the sacrifices they are making to keep our community safe. 

We are closely monitoring the evolving situation and will continue to provide updates as they arise. At this stage, it is too early to determine the impact of this announcement, and time will ultimately tell if we need to provide more options and support to members. Pleasingly, we have seen a return to normal for hospital admissions since the previous nation-wide elective surgery suspensions, implemented in March and lifted soon after in May. Many services returned to 100% (or more) of the numbers we were seeing ‘pre-COVID’, reinforcing the sentiment that this surgery is largely deferred and not cancelled permanently.

As part of a member-owned, not-for-profit organisation, Avant Mutual, it is not our intention to profit from these events, and will ensure we return any extraordinary profits back to members.  

Our continued service levels during COVID-19

We have been proactively implementing measures to allow us to continue serving our members as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate. Please rest assured that we anticipate no significant changes or disruptions to the normal level of service provided. 

Together with servicing our members, the health and wellbeing of our staff is of paramount importance. Although we have not experienced a case of COVID-19, we must put in to practice measures to reduce any potential risk to our team and the community, which include remote working arrangements. We thank you for your patience for any short delays you may experience during this time.

So please don’t hesitate to still contact us with any enquiries about your health cover, particularly if you have an upcoming admission. Now is also a good time to ensure you have set your login details for our new Online Member Services. Submit your claims, update your payment and other details, check your limits and other policy information, and request a time for us to call you - all online on any device. 

Information on Avant’s preparations can be found here
Avant Mutual website has a comprehensive set of FAQs about the disease, testing, isolation, and medico-legal ramifications

Information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a relatively new virus that has become of significant concern to the health of Australians in recent weeks. After its first reporting overseas late last year, we are now seeing an increasing number of confirmed cases within Australia, making the health of our community a top priority. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) causes respiratory illnesses, with symptoms ranging from no symptoms at all, to a mild cough, to pneumonia and potentially fatal disease. While many will recover, others may get very sick very quickly. 

Maintaining personal hygiene is paramount to minimise contact with and the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The following actions have been strongly recommended -  

  • washing hands regularly with either soap and water for 20 seconds, or alcohol-based hand sanitiser, especially after touching hard surfaces;
  • avoiding contact with areas of the face including nose, eyes and mouth;
  • distancing contact with others who are showing signs of a respiratory illness; 
  • practicing good cough etiquette (like catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue of flexed arm), and
  • staying at home if you are feeling unwell and limiting unnecessary travel. 

As the situation and advice is rapidly changing, it is important to regularly check credible sources for up-to-date information on the spread of this virus, particularly the Department of Health’s website

Additional resources including national support services are provided below, to assist with understanding Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please also refer to your relevant state and territory government health websites for more information.

National information: 

You can call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

International information:

If you have any questions regarding your cover in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19), please do not hesitate to contact our Member Services team on 1800 226 126 or by email.  

This information is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to the individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this information must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Avant and Doctors Health Fund is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information. Information is only current at the date initially published.