Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) | What will Bankmed cover?
As a valued member of Bankmed we want to keep you informed and alert to our readiness for the Novel Coronavirus outbreak - officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Bankmed is taking the COVID-19 outbreak seriously and has taken the decision to offer our members the best possible cover during this period of infection.
How are you covered?
Bankmed will cover the cost for a COVID-19 test for members across all Plans from our Insured (Risk) Benefit, subject to your Healthcare Professional following the protocol as established by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). Bankmed will cover the cost for the test whether the result is positive or negative, but this is strictly on condition that the test was considered necessary by the Healthcare Provider, in consultation with the NICD. Members must meet certain criteria before a test can be requested by the Healthcare Professional, and we rely on the Healthcare Professional to ensure compliance with the protocol. Click here for the full list of criteria.
Bankmed will cover the cost of treatment In-and-Out of hospital if a member is diagnosed as positive for COVID-19 from our Insured (Risk) Benefit.
Bankmed will waive network restrictions for the COVID-19 condition only, so that members have convenient access to all available hospitals, specialists and General Practitioners during this outbreak. The relaxation of network restrictions is specific to COVID-19 because this outbreak requires emergency intervention.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infection caused by a type of Coronavirus. This class of viruses usually originate from animals and spread to humans (zoonotic infection). In the case of COVID-19, human to human spread has also been occurring. The primary means of spread seems to be saliva-droplet based spread. This is similar to the common cold and the seasonal flu. COVID-19 seems to be more infectious than the seasonal flu with an infection rate that is 1.5 to 2-times higher than seasonal flu. Reassuringly, however, the vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, including potentially fever, a cough and shortness of breath.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infection?
The primary symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
How does the virus spread?
COVID-19 spreads quickly, through:
- Coughing or sneezing – people could catch COVID-19 if they are standing within one metre of a person who has the illness, by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by the ill person
- Close personal contact, such as when shaking hands or touching others
- Touching an object or surface on which the virus is found (after an ill person coughs or exhales close to these objects or surfaces such as desks, tables or telephones), then - before washing the hands – touching the mouth, nose, or eyes
When should individuals consult with their Healthcare Professional?
Healthcare Professionals can only treat the symptoms of COVID-19 as they present. No specific therapy has been shown to be effective against the virus itself. If you meet any of the criteria listed below, you must seek medical care early and share your previous travel history with your Healthcare Professional.
When to seek medical care:
- If you have acute respiratory illness and suddenly have a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever (≥ 38°C)
- Were in close contact with someone who had a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 infection
- If you have travelled to areas with presumed ongoing community transmission of COVID-19; i.e., Mainland China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Iran, Hong Kong, Italy, Vietnam and Taiwan
- If you have worked in, or attended a health care facility where patients with COVID-19 infections were being treated
- If you have been admitted with severe pneumonia of unknown aetiology
People who contract the COVID-19 may take anywhere from one to 14 days to develop symptoms. Even if you have not recently travelled to a COVID-19-affected region, or had contact with an individual who has been affected by the illness, you must still inform your Healthcare Professional if you meet the criteria listed above. A virtual consultation is a good way to consult with your Healthcare Professional.
Private Hospital Preparedness
South African hospitals are prepared at national and regional levels to manage a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa.
All hospitals are being universally guided by a guiding framework that includes case definition and management, suspected case testing, reporting and surveillance. All hospital groups have existing outbreak preparedness policies built off past experiences, e.g. Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (Ebola 2014) and Novel H1N1 2009 (swine flu). These existing policies have now been refocussed on the COVID-19.
All private hospitals have communicated their immediate readiness and preparedness to manage a case of COVID-19, if presented with one. As such, all walk-in cases will be managed at the point of health seeking contact and in line with the established infection prevention and control policies.