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Private Health Insurance

During the course of the pandemic, private hospitals have supported the NHS by providing their facilities to help the national effort to fight the virus. This meant that many non-urgent treatments for PMI customers were delayed. With the situation in the UK having stabilised, normal service has resumed in private facilities.

People who are due urgent and time-critical support and care, such as cancer treatment, will still be treated as a matter of priority. Some delays may still be possible for customers due to have non-urgent treatment but they will still receive their treatment.

We believe this is the right and the responsible response to the continued strain the pandemic is putting on health services.

This FAQ is set out to provide further clarity for health insurance customers during this unprecedented time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Customer benefits of private health insurance are still available?

  • Value of primary care services - Health insurance provides a range of benefits to policyholders which continue to be accessed during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes the ability to have virtual and telephone (24hr) contact with GPs and consultants, as well as gaining specialist help for physiotherapy or mental ill health. These services have been expanded where possible during the course of the pandemic. Insurers are ensuring their customers have full awareness of the benefits that can be accessed from the comfort and safety of their homes.
  • Managing mental ill health - During this outbreak, insurers have an important role to help people manage their conditions and their mental health as a priority, protecting both NHS capacity and ensuring patient safety. This means customers do not need a GP referral to access an initial assessment for their condition.
  • Cancer care not affected - Cancer care for customers is crucial and insurers and private hospitals are working to ensure minimal impact on services. Private hospitals are endeavouring  to continue to provide cancer services at dedicated sites throughout the UK.
  • Some treatments will be deferred - Whilst customers still have access to urgent and time critical care, a proportion of customer claims may need to be deferred due to the current surge in covid cases throughout the UK, however some regions may still have the ability to deliver non-urgent procedures and treatement, when it is safe to do so. We are working to ensure that deferred treatments remain authorised so they can be accessed as swiftly as possible as services return to normal.

What new benefits are insurers providing to support customers during the pandemic?

  • New services - Where some treatments are deferred over this period, insurers are focusing on delivery of other services. As well as expanding delivery of existing virtual services, insurers have created new virtual services than can be accessed remotely, such as providing musculoskeletal consultations and treatments to help customers manage their conditions. This also includes providing symptom checkers for a range of conditions, including Coronavirus.
  • Managing treatments - Consultants have offered virtual diagnostics and treatment (for example pain relief and pain management) during the outbreak period whilst claims and treatment are deferred.
  • Supporting health and well-being - Insurers are also looking to improve virtual services to support health and well-being, to help customers during a period when gyms are closed and other restrictions mean it is harder to access normal health services or to exercise away from the home.
  • Cash back - If customers are hospitalised with Coronavirus they will be treated through the public health system, as there are no private intensive care facilities. If customers need to receive NHS treatment for Coronavirus, some insurers are offering a cash benefit to provide support to customers.

What if I cancel my private health insurance?

We recognise that this is a challenging time for people financially and personally but cancelling your health insurance policy may lead to difficulties in obtaining a new health insurance policy covering health conditions you may already have, or may develop in the time that you are not covered.

If I am already under the active care of a consultant, will my treatment continue?

We understand that patients who are currently in a care pathway which is urgent, such as cancer treatment, should continue to receive their care. Some other patients will have their care paused due to the extraordinary crisis the pandemic has caused; individual hospital groups and other stakeholders are taking their own decisions for different services, parts of the country, and patient groups.

Please get in touch with your consultant or hospital to find out the on-going status of your treatment.

How do I keep up to date?

The best source of information on the pandemic is the NHS and Public Health England website and we encourage customers to follow news posted there. Your insurer will keep you up to date with developments on how they can help you during this difficult time. If you are currently under the care of a provider, they will also keep you up to date on your care options and when any postponed care may be re-scheduled.

What if I want to help?

Anything you can do to help, no matter how small or large, can make a real difference to the lives of people just like you – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children. There are many ways to volunteer, including approaching the NHS directly, your local authority (who will co-ordinate social services), and local neighbours. Plenty of advice can be found online on how to help. Do follow government advice on social distancing or other measures announced, at all times, as this is the best chance of reducing the spread of the infection in the community.