As the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK and across Europe continues to rise, we are monitoring events closely and will continue to update our guidance as the situation evolves.
Updated 07:00hrs 17/04/2020
Further update for our Health Insurance Members
As a member-owned organisation our members have been and will be at the forefront of every decision that we make. As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop, we are committed to making the right decisions and to reassess our approach and the potential impacts for our members.
Access to Private Hospitals
As has been widely publicised, private healthcare providers will be working closely with the NHS over the coming weeks and possibly months to support the treatment of COVID-19 patients. As a result, we expect that some hospital procedures will need to be postponed until such time the pressures on public services are reduced. We appreciate this will be a disappointment to many of you so we have set out below the steps that The Exeter will take to support our members through this period.
Clinical Support Centre
We are pleased to let our Health Insurance members know that along with existing services they now also have access to a new Clinical Support Centre. The centre provides virtual access to specialist consultations with some of UK’s leading specialists and practitioners by telephone, video or online. The panel includes cancer, cardiology, ENT, gastroenterology, gynaecology, orthopaedic and paediatric specialists.
To access the Clinical Support Centre, please contact our claims team who can signpost members to the most appropriate specialist, guiding them to the right support and advice. Members with a confirmed diagnosis already, and waiting for non-urgent, elective surgery can also use the Clinical Support Centre to access support for managing symptoms – for example, accessing pain relief or online physiotherapy. The centre will also support members who need urgent treatment with onwards referral to newly established urgent and immediate care pathways put together by the public and private health systems.
Members using the Clinical Support Centre will not have to pay any policy excesses for the service, No Claims Discount (where applicable) won’t be affected, nor will outpatient benefits for consultations and diagnostics. However, normal policy limits will apply to any treatment resulting from use of this service.
Impact on Premiums
We expect that ultimately, the current situation will result in The Exeter paying less in claims than expected during 2020. As an immediate step, we have already committed to increase the Hospital Cash benefit, details of which are below.
In addition, today we make the commitment to you that any surplus resulting from a reduction in claims will be returned our members. At this stage we do not know how much this is likely to be, but once the full impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is clear, we will be able to review the situation and determine the best way to do this.
Enhanced cash benefit
In response to the requisitioning of private hospitals by the NHS, we recently added an ex-gratia benefit to our PMI policies. From April 1st 2020 and for a minimum of three months, we will offer an enhanced cash benefit of £500 per night to members who are treated without charge in either an NHS or private setting, for any eligible condition including COVID-19.
This benefit will be capped at £10,000 and will not affect any No Claims Discount, excess, available cash benefit or overall policy benefit limits. It applies to both new and existing policies, see below for details of eligible plans and special conditions*.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind all members about HealthWise, our free member benefits app. At this time all our HealthWise services are still available. Currently we can provide access to remote GP consultations which can be used for general treatment and advice on day-to-day, non-urgent medical conditions. In addition, and depending on the policy you hold, HealthWise can also provide free access to mental health, physiotherapy, nutritional and lifestyle support. Please note that HealthWise will be unable to provide any consultations related to COVID-19 as the NHS is ensuring that all COVID -19 treatment is centralised. These services are provided at no extra cost to members. Visit our HealthWise page for more information.
From everyone at The Exeter we would like to wish you all good health and we will continue to provide updates on any future changes should they arise.
*Enhanced cash benefit terms:
- Eligible policies are Health+, Health Cover for Me, Health Choices for Me, Health Essentials for Me, Exeter Care Preferred Plan, Exeter Care Low Cost Plan, RBS Plan, Overseas Plan and Interplan Worldwide
- Enhanced cash benefit applies to eligible claims only, we would not be able to cover claims where there is a personal exclusion or where a moratorium still applies
- Any claims for cash benefit must be submitted within 3 months of hospital discharge.
Message from our Chief Executive
As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members, our business partners and our employees for their loyalty and support during what is a challenging and uncertain time for everyone.
For all our members, we are committed to making the right decisions and looking at each enquiry on an individual basis. We are experiencing an extremely high number of calls and at the same time our staff are adapting to working from home. Each call is important to us and we will get back to you, it may take a little longer than usual and I thank you in advance for your patience at this time.
With the NHS currently under immense pressure, I would like to remind all members about HealthWise, our free member benefits app. At this time all our HealthWise services are still available. Currently we can provide access to remote GP consultations which can be used for general treatment and advice on day-to-day, non-urgent medical conditions. In addition, and depending on the policy you hold, HealthWise can also provide free access to mental health, physiotherapy, nutritional and lifestyle support. These services are provided at no extra cost to members. Visit our HealthWise page for more information.
For existing members (prior to 16th March 2020) we continue to assess COVID-19 related claims for medically advised self-isolation. The length of claim period is dependent on both your specific circumstance and the government guidance issued. Any payment we make for self-isolation will be outside of the normal terms and conditions.
Private Medical Insurance
You may well have seen the announcement that the NHS will work with private hospitals to increase the capacity of our healthcare services. We await further guidance from our healthcare providers on what this means for private hospital treatments, but all our members will continue to be able to access consultations with specialists and practitioners over the phone and online (where clinically appropriate). We are monitoring this situation carefully and will update members of any changes that might affect them in due course.
We are committed to doing more to help those in need of protection. We look at each application individually and consider the personal circumstances of the applicant. The current COVID-19 outbreak brings a new challenge for our life insurance products that are largely designed to protect those deemed at high risk based on NHS guidelines. We are still accepting applications for both our Real Life and Managed Life products, however any applicants who the NHS would regard as higher risk may see a delay in their application. In some cases, the application may be postponed for a period of up to six months before any decision is made.
A number of new applications and claims require medical evidence. In order to observe social-distancing we will not be asking applicants to undergo health screenings. We are working with our partners to find alternative ways in which to underwrite such applications and what information can be used as a substitute. Currently we are requesting medical reports from GP surgeries only when essential, as we are mindful that their priority is to support the national response to this pandemic.
Since we were founded over 100 years ago, we have always made our members our priority and will continue to do so through this current crisis. I would like to wish you all good health and I will continue to provide updates on any changes should they arise.
- Self-Isolation – income protection applications submitted after 12:00pm 16th March 2020
For new applications submitted on or after 16th March 2020, any claims for self-isolation (including medically advised self-isolation), will not be considered.