Health insurance firms are increasing the benefits they offer and changing working practices to look after customers and staff as much as possible during the Coronavirus crisis.
A number of our private medical insurance partners have improved the terms of their health insurance plans, not only for existing members but also new policyholders, offering increased cash benefits for anyone treated for COVID-19 as well as funding private tests. And many are enabling staff to work from home and implementing social distancing measures in offices to help reduce the spread of the disease.
A staple of many health insurance policies is a NHS cash benefit - a sum of money paid to a patient for each day spent in hospital. From April 1, The Exeter increased its cash benefit of £250 per night to £500, for members who are treated without charge, either in an NHS or private setting, for any eligible condition including COVID-19. The benefit is capped at £10,000, applies to new and existing policies and doesn’t affect any No Claims Discount or excess.
Bupa will pay a NHS cash benefit of £50 per night, for a maximum of 35 nights, to customers with the cash benefit in their policy, while Vitality has introduced a new cashback benefit for all VitalityHealth members who are hospitalised in the NHS due to Coronavirus. This new benefit pays £250 per day for any admission as a result of COVID-19, increasing to £500 a day from the eighth day of hospitalisation, up to a maximum of £5,000.
AXA’s NHS cash benefit applies if a policyholder experiences an emergency admission to an NHS facility, with or without a COVID-19 diagnosis, for treatment that AXA would have covered had they been admitted privately. In addition, AXA plans provide cover for the cost of diagnostic tests when requested by a specialist it recognises, after a member has been referred to them by their GP.
WPA will fund private Coronavirus testing if a client has symptoms such as a temperature, shortness of breath or a cough and their GP suggests they are tested. If they are not showing symptoms, WPA won’t fund a test. This funding comes under the out-patient benefit on WPA plans and is not available on the provider’s Flexible Health Essentials plan.
Several of our partners have slightly reduced the opening times of customer support lines and report that mailboxes may incur a slower response time than usual. ActiveQuote head of partnerships and marketing Rod Jones said: “Consumers are facing very uncertain and difficult times and we are calling on all insurers to continue to help and support them.
“Now is the time to increase, rather than reduce, customer services, to reassure policyholders and answer all their questions as quickly and smoothly as possible.”
If you have any questions about your existing health insurance policy during the pandemic, take a look at our Coronavirus and health insurance Q&As. Not only do current PMI policies remain valid, but they can give individuals and families extra reassurance at this time as they provide access to vital benefits such as virtual GP appointments and phone and online counselling.
And while some private medical insurance providers aren’t accepting new customers for now, many still are, with a good choice of benefits available at a budget you can afford. To compare health insurance prices and benefits, use our online tool.
All information correct as of April 7 2020.