Important information about COVID-19 and your health insurance

To provide clarity for our private medical insurance clients around the coronavirus pandemic and how this will affect their cover whether as a business or personal policy, please read the information provided below:

As we have read in the news the government has announced that an agreement has been made between the NHS and private facilities in the UK. This means that the NHS will be supported with additional resources. This will be essential to help them meet the demand for clinical care which is anticipated over the coming weeks and months.

Every day the numbers are growing in relation to COVID-19.  Therefore the decision to cancel all non-urgent and elective procedures in the NHS was critical in ensuring the necessary medical care is available for those diagnosed with and suffering from coronavirus.

How is the pandemic affecting private health care?

If you have private medical insurance in place, you may find at this time of crisis that you may not be able to access facilities privately for non-urgent and elective procedures as quickly as you would normally expect. The priority at this time has to be for those suffering with COVID-19.

This is something that all of the insurers are aware of. They are really increasing the access to remote, online and telephone consultations available to their members. Whichever insurance company you are with, they are doing whatever they can to ensure you are still looked after and have access to the assistance you need.

Utilising these online/ remote facilities will alleviate the need to visit your NHS GP. This will help you to follow the “Stay at Home” request from the government – see below:

https://www.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/public-health

I have received my renewal terms and am worried if I can afford it?

Business and personal policy holders alike may be worried about being able to afford their health insurance in such turbulent economic times.

We can help you look at the cover options you have in place to see where you can apply the most effective cost containment measures.

By doing this rather than cancelling your cover, you will be able to ensure your underwriting remains in place for when things return to normal.

Continued underwriting is important especially for people with pre-existing health conditions. Let the SMP Healthcare team help you to protect your future and the future of your family or employees.

What if I have had to close my business?

We know that many businesses are facing very hard times financially or maybe even have had to close. Before you cancel your health insurance policy, please get in touch and we will speak to your insurance provider. By doing this you may be able to keep your cover in place whilst the pandemic is still affecting our country so dramatically.

What if I have been made redundant/ lost my job?

If you have private medical insurance cover as an employee and have lost your job due to the COVID-19 virus but still want to keep an element of cover in place, please speak to us as soon as possible. We will be able to obtain continuation options from your current provider and obtain quotations from alternative insurance companies.

The cover levels may differ slightly from the company scheme you are on. Personal and company schemes are rarely identical.

The most important thing however is for you to speak to us and let us know what is important to you. This will ensure you will not be paying for benefits you are unlikely to use.

If you are thinking of cancelling a personal policy because you have been made redundant or lost your job or just because you are unsure of the future security of your employment.

Please speak to us first!

We can liaise with the insurer on your behalf to see if there is anything they can do to help you. Especially important in the current uncertain economic environment that we are facing in the UK.

NHS Cash back in relation to COVID-19

Many private medical insurance plans offer you as members a cash back facility for treatment you have via the NHS. COVID-19 is no different. If you have to have in-patient treatment in relation to the coronavirus you could be eligible to claim your NHS cash back. This would be for the time you spend in hospital if your policy has a cash back benefit attached.

Vitality Health as an example have introduced a cash back specifically relating to COVID-19:

From March 23rd, 2020 they are implementing a new COVID-19 Cashback benefit for all Vitality Health members who need an NHS hospital stay due to Coronavirus.

This new benefit will pay £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.

For new members joining Vitality Health, there is a one month waiting period before you are eligible for this benefit.

The Vitality Health COVID-19 cash back is just one example. Please get in touch with us if you would like to know what options your insurer can offer.

Can I obtain private treatment for COVID-19?

COVID-19 is currently a public health emergency and therefore the NHS is the appropriate route to take. You may find that you end up being treated in a private hospital, however, the diagnostics and treatment you have will be performed under the direction of the NHS.

If you are diagnosed with and require treatment for COVID-19 this would certainly be classed as an emergency. This would therefore be treated via the NHS not your private medical insurance.

The team at SMP Healthcare have many years’ experience of the health insurance sector. None of us have witnessed anything like the situation we are all now facing, yet we are confident that we can help you in finding the very best solution available to you at this time.

Cost containment is definitely going to be a key factor for almost everyone who has a private medical insurance policy in place. We want to make sure that you know exactly what is available and the most effective way to achieve it.

If you would like our help, please do not hesitate to make contact. We are all working from home but are available to assist you as normal.

Please email in the first instance; lianne@smphealthcare.com or telephone 01245 929129.

We look forward to helping you soon.