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Coronavirus, health insurance and mental health: how insurance could help at this difficult time

Coronavirus, health insurance and mental health: how insurance could help at this difficult time

If you’re struggling mentally during the coronavirus outbreak, there’s lots of ways you can get support and help, including from your medical insurance. Read on to find out more. 

Kamran Altaf
From the Life team
9
minute read
posted 21 APRIL 2020

Please note: The information in this article was correct at the time of publication on 21st April 2020 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. 

The impact of coronavirus on mental health

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is having a huge impact on everyone’s daily lives. Self-isolation, staying at home and social distancing can be difficult.  
If you’re staying home, the big change in lifestyle could potentially make you feel bored, frustrated and lonely. You may also be worried about your own health and the health of family and friends.  

Or it may be that you’re a key worker who has to leave home to go to work. You may be worried about bringing the virus back home to your loved ones, or you’re stressed because of the amount of workplace pressure you’re under.  
Some pressures that you’re feeling may be intensified by worries about money and bills. If you’d like, you can take a look at our guide to keeping your personal finances in order during the COVID-19 pandemic

The way we think, feel and behave can vary as the lockdown continues. We’re all different, of course, and how you feel may be different to how others feel. But the best thing to do to tackle mental health issues is always to seek help. 

Getting help with your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body, and to get further support if you need it. 
If you’re suffering with anxiety, stress or depression, click here for the latest NHS advice

Also, Mind, the mental health charity, has a whole section dedicated to the coronavirus lockdown and your wellbeing.
And if you have health insurance, it’s worth knowing that you may be able to access some additional help and support.  

Many providers have recognised the need to give people increased support with their mental health at this time. Many of them have put in place ways for you to access existing services while observing social distancing measures, such as phone and video consultations. 

What kind of mental health help is available through medical insurance?

This varies between providers and policies, so check with your provider about what kind of help could be available to you. 

To give you some idea, these are some of the options that a sample of providers are offering. Don’t worry if your provider is not on the list, just check your policy or visit their website to see what help is available. 
 

Provider Cover Free/ Optional/ Optional Extra Useful to know
Aviva  Mental health outpatient consultations and therapies up to policy limit. Core cover  
In-patient and day patient accommodation and nursing in full up to 28 days. 
Specialists’ fees for inpatient treatment up to £210 each week.
Optional cover Cover for both in-patient and day-patient treatment if you’re diagnosed with acute psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia
Policyholders (16 or over) can call the Stress Counselling Helpline. Or you can contact a GP through Aviva Digital GP, or your local NHS GP.  Free helpline  
Axa  Access to a free mental wellbeing app and online GP service. Free All customers being emailed details of the service
Mental Health Optional Extra:
extends your cover to include mental health treatment

As an in-patient or day-patient: Psychiatric treatment, including accommodation, diagnostic tests, and drugs if necessary, paid in full at a hospital or day-patient unit in the Directory of Hospitals. 
No yearly limit on specialist fees for psychiatric treatment

As an out-patient
: No yearly limit on specialist consultations for psychiatric treatment. 
 
No yearly limit on psychiatric treatment by psychologists and cognitive-behavioural therapists, as long as your specialist oversees treatment.
Optional Extra This is a benefit you can add to the policy for an extra cost. It gives you access to in/day-patient benefits.
Bupa  Family mental health phone line – available to all Bupa members and their immediate family, to discuss any health concerns with a specialist adviser and mental health nurse Free Free, unlimited around the clock phone line available to all customers who have any concerns about mental health. 
The opportunity to speak to a trained adviser directly, usually without seeing a GP first.  
Depending on your cover and the nature of what you’re experiencing, Bupa can arrange for you to speak to a counsellor who can listen in complete confidence and guide you to the support you need.
Free Included in cover under the heading ‘Fast access to support’. 
No time limit on cover for mental health. Bupa says it won’t leave you without support if you have a condition that returns.  Free A recent change to Bupa’s policy. If you claim for a mental health condition it’ll be covered for the lifetime of the policy.
Therapies including mental health therapies. Free Although included for free, the level of cover is dependent on your cover level. Check your policy for full terms. 
The Exeter  Counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (up to six consultation sessions each year).  
HealthWise also gives you access to counsellors who can assess and treat mental health conditions, as well as offering emotional and behavioural support. The service is provided by video consultation with therapists via the app. 
Free  Part of the HealthWise App available to all customers and their family. It’s a video call with an expert. The service can be used by anyone covered on the policy, or anyone living in your house, even if they’re not covered.  
The App does not have any underwriting so can also give cover for pre-existing conditions and any new ones. 
Vitality  Access to eight talking therapy sessions and access to Big White Wall, an award-winning mental health service that’s available 24/7.  Core cover Comes as standard, regardless of cover level.
Healthy mind allows you to earn points by completing a range of mindfulness activities via a range of free apps. There are discounts on other leading apps, and you can redeem points earned, for rewards. Free Comes as standard, regardless of cover level.
Mental health cover: 

Unlimited talking therapies. 

£1,500 towards out-patient treatment, independent of talking therapies or in-patient treatment. 
If severe, you would be covered for a stay of up to 28 days in hospital. 
Optional extra An optional extra that enhances the talking therapies you’re given as part of the core policy. It then gives you further benefits towards in-patient treatment and hospital stays.

Advice from the World Health Organisation  

The WHO has advice to help support your mental and psychosocial wellbeing during the coronavirus crisis. This includes: 

  • Reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news about COVID-19 that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Get information only from trusted sources. For example, you can try the World Health Organisation website and the NHS.  
  • Protect yourself and support others – helping people in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support and the helper. You could check on how your neighbours are doing by phone, and other people in your community who may need some extra help.   
  • Share positive, uplifting stories of local people who’ve experienced COVID-19. For example, stories of locals who’ve recovered or who’ve looked after a loved one - and are happy to talk about their experience. 
  • Honour the efforts of healthcare workers and carers who're helping people affected with coronavirus in your area. Acknowledge the part they're playing in saving people's lives and supporting your loved ones.

Further sources of help available for everyone

Advice on mental health while you're staying at home:

Advice on mental health if you’re working normally or from home 

Advice for parents and children 

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