Coronavirus (COVID-19) and medical insurance

If you have a health insurance policy, you might be wondering how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting things. We answer some common questions and concerns.

 

If you have a health insurance policy, you might be wondering how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting things. We answer some common questions and concerns.

 

Mubina Pirmohamed
Life insurance expert
4
minute read
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Posted 14 DECEMBER 2020

Coronavirus: a guide to health insurance 

Please note: The information in this article was correct at the time of publication on 14 December but, because of the impact of COVID-19, things are changing rapidly. We aim to keep this page updated. But check with your insurance provider or potential provider directly to confirm any details.

See government and NHS guidelines on how to avoid catching the COVID-19 virus and becoming unwell.

Can I claim on health insurance if I get coronavirus?

You probably won’t need to, as the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 recover quite quickly and, while they might feel very unwell, won’t always need to go to hospital.

If you’re hospitalised as a result of coronavirus, it’ll be considered an emergency treatment. These are always handled through the NHS as private hospitals aren’t designed to cover emergency care. Most health-insurance providers are offering their customers a cash-benefit payment in this case (more below).

Can I get tested for coronavirus if I have medical insurance?

Being tested simply to see whether or not you have the virus isn’t covered by health insurance. But people being treated as inpatients at private hospitals will usually be tested before or when they arrive at the hospital.

The government’s coronavirus testing page is a free and increasingly fast way for people with symptoms to pick up a test.

What if I have a different health issue during the COVID-19 pandemic – will my insurance cover me?

Health insurance providers are continuing to give guidance and support to their customers. Bupa, for example, says they are “continuing to authorise care for health insurance customers, with 98% of the consultants who treat the majority of our customers available to see new patients either face-to-face, or by phone or video.”

Any private medical insurance customer who needs urgent and time-sensitive support and care, like cancer treatment, will still be treated as a priority during the pandemic.

However, if you’re due to have non-urgent treatment, this could potentially be delayed.

If you have a current health problem and you’re feeling worried, check with your provider to see what they’re offering. Start by looking at their website for further guidance.

Can I still get an NHS cash-benefit payment if I go into hospital with COVID-19 or something else?

Yes, you can still get an NHS cash-benefit payment. All health insurance providers pay the NHS benefit to customers unfortunate enough to have COVID-19 and who need hospital admittance – or any other overnight NHS hospital admission.

Many providers have increased the amount they’re paying during the pandemic. The benefit amount ranges from £100 to £500 per night, depending on the provider. The £500 maximum is enhanced during this time, with a limit ranging from £2,000 to £10,000 for the length of the policy.

If you’re in a position to claim, you should check with your provider to see what the claim limits are for your particular policy. 

I heard that private hospitals are helping the NHS in England. What are they doing?

Since the start of the pandemic, the nation’s independent hospitals have bolstered NHS England’s capacity to deal with the pandemic.

This has included the provision of 8,000 hospital beds across England, nearly 1,200 more ventilators and more than 10,000 nurses, 700 doctors and 8,000 other clinical staff.

Under the agreement, the independent sector will reallocate almost all of its entire national hospital capacity to the NHS. Private hospitals will only be reimbursed costs – meaning that no profit will be made for doing so.

Because of this move to help the NHS, there may be some increases to waiting times.

Any private medical insurance customer due urgent and time-sensitive support and care, like cancer treatment, will still be treated as a priority during the pandemic.

See government health advice for dealing with COVID-19