As a specialist health insurance broker we are amazed at the mobile apps that are readily available. This blog is specifically focused on the Mobile Apps available for members who have a health insurance policy in the UK.
Insurance companies are fully aware of the difficulties people face in accessing face to face appointments on the NHS. In 2020 and with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic they have certainly upped their game.
People who have private medical insurance can access remote consultations at the touch of a button. Whether you are insured as part of a company scheme or as an individual or family your policy could help you access speedy primary care. If you have had your policy for a while you may not even be aware that this is included in your policy.
It is worth noting however, if any member has symptoms of COVID-19 they would need to follow the government guidelines for diagnosis and treatment.
So, the big question is, which insurer is currently offering their clients the best Mobile App? There are different options from all the providers and some are more extensive than others.
Please be aware that there may be insurers who are not on our panel who offer a different mobile app to those listed below.
Aviva Digital GP App
The Aviva Digital GP App is available as a value-added service to their clients. This app offers 24/7 GP video consultations and access to repeat NHS prescriptions. It is available to members who are resident in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man whether they are at home or abroad. The Aviva Digital GP app is currently powered by Square Health.
Members can read about the GP’s prior to booking an appointment and can specify the gender of the GP they choose. The GP appointment slot will last for up to 15 minutes.
Doctor@Hand is a mobile app delivered by Doctor Care Anywhere. Members have access to telephone or video GP appointments 24/7, 365 days of the year. GP’s are experienced and are registered with the General Medical Council. If the consultation results in a prescription this will be delivered to your home or local pharmacy for collection.
A copy of the notes can be uploaded to the app if the member would like to have a record of them.
For members that are covered on a Bupa policy the Babylon app gives you access to a registered doctor 24/7. Babylon offers a symptoms checker and uses advanced AI to advise you on your next potential options.
Prescriptions for medication made by the doctor can be delivered to your door.
You can be referred by the virtual GP appointment for a further consultation however, before booking and attending the follow up consultation you should call Bupa to ensure this would be covered under your policy terms and conditions.
Cigna Virtual Health app
The Cigna Virtual Health app is split in to 6 segments:
- My Health: For health and wellbeing assessments and personalised coaching and life skills
- My Activity: Allowing you to sync your fitness tracker and monitor your activity
- My Virtual GP: Giving access to a symptom checker and arrange a virtual GP appointment should you need to do so.
- My Pharmacy: Showing you the local pharmacy options and how you can access prescription information.
- My Services: Where you can access your Cigna member portal, view policy documents, submit and track claims and find other services that can support your health.
- My Health Library: To find further information about health and wellbeing topics that are of interest to you.
The HealthWise app enables members to access telephone or video appointments with UK registered GP’s. You can do this from wherever you are in the world. The GP’s can issue a prescription or recommend further treatment.
HealthWise can also be used to obtain a second opinion on medical diagnosis. This could result in a change of treatment or confirmation that nothing needs to be altered.
When it comes to physiotherapy, the HealthWise app provides members with up to 6 consultations per year for musculoskeletal conditions. This is via video consultation with a network of physiotherapists.
Mental health support is available by video consultation via the HealthWise App. Fully trained specialists can assess and treat a whole range of mental health conditions. They can also offer emotional and behavioural support. This service is also limited to 6 consultations.
Freedom Health Insurance do not currently have a mobile app for the use of their clients however, they do offer the Freedom Virtual GP for consultations via telephone or webcam.
There is no mobile phone app available with the General and Medical policies at this time. That is not to say there will never be one in the future. They do offer a 24 hour GP advice line where clients can receive consultations, prescriptions and referrals in some instances. This is available on certain policies only.
Thrive is a wellbeing app approved by the NHS in 2019. Thrive meets the NHS standards for clinical effectiveness, safety, usability and accessibility and has a supportive evidence base. Thrive includes a number of wellbeing elements such as:
- Mood meter
- Thought trainer (via personalised cognitive behavioural therapy CBT)
- Goal System
- Progress feature
- Relaxation techniques
- Wellbeing guides
If you have a health cash plan with Medicash they have a specially designed app which means that members can upload a photograph of their receipts and process claims via the app. Eligible claims are then processed within a matter of a few days.
As part of the AXA Health group, members who have a policy with The PHC have access to the Doctor@Hand mobile app as shown under the AXA Health heading.
SimplyMe has been designed for Simplyhealth as a free health and wellbeing app. It is currently available to download even if you do not hold a policy with Simplyhealth.
You can link your activity tracker to it and the SimplyMe app will analyse the data provided. It will then provide you with personal insights and data relating to your mind, heart, sleep, weight and activity levels.
The SimplyMe app provides you with a personal dashboard offering advice to help you improve or maintain your health. The app also offers assistance for you to achieve your health goals.
The Vitality GP app provides members with the option of talking to a Vitality GP or have a video consultation. The Vitality GP can authorise treatment and provide consultation referrals where necessary.
The app can be used for self-referral for physiotherapy (your out-patient cover level will effect availability) members will have access to over 7,000 qualified practitioners.
There is a £100 allowance which can be used for private prescriptions and minor diagnostic tests.
Members have access to a unique home diagnostics pathway. This provides quick access to blood tests available with qualified nurses in your own home or place of work.
You can register for the mental health app Togetherall (was Big White Wall) via the Vitality GP app for mental health services. This is an anonymous and safe community support app which is moderated by professionals and counsellors.
For more information about the name change please refer to https://togetherall.com/en-gb/news/we-are-togetherall/
The Vitality GP App also offers information and help relating to medical symptoms via trusted websites and partners.
Are there any limitations or restrictions for the use of mobile apps?
You should be aware of the following factors regardless of which insurance provider you choose:
- Depending on the policy you have, you may be limited to the number of virtual appointments you can access annually.
- Prescription charges may vary however, the good news is that in some cases prescription charges may not even apply.
- Appointments booked are subject to availability at the time of registering for an appointment.
- The specification of your mobile phone may affect your access to the video consultations as old mobile phones may be unable to support the apps.
You should always check the terms and conditions of your policy to ensure you know if there are any limitations to your cover or charges relating to prescribed medication.
What other support is available?
Although many people are looking for support via modern technology such as mobile phone apps. This is not always the case. Not everyone in the world is tech-savvy and therefore having access to telephone support is essential. This could be direct with the insurance provider or via a third party such as a specialist health insurance intermediaries.
Our UK private medical insurers provide their members’ with great resources online. Health and wellness are really highlighted in all areas of life, covering both physical and mental health issues.
What about the future?
There is no doubt that as technology advances on a global scale, the access to healthcare applications will increase. I am sure that the functionality will increase as Artificial Intelligence develops and the healthcare industry may change beyond recognition even within the next 25 years.
If you are looking for a private medical insurance policy and would like to work with a specialist broker, the team at SMP Healthcare will be more than happy to help you. We want our clients to know what their policy covers from the beginning. We can help you make an informed decision regarding benefits and hospital lists to the ever changing world of mobile phone apps and online resources.
Whether you are looking at your policy renewal or are new to health insurance you can be confident in the services we provide.