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Update from Health Insurers regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Updated 05/07/2020

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Please find the latest updates from some of our partner health insurance companies. As this is an ever changing situation, it’s important we update the information as we get it.

Health Insurance Magazine has updated information from UK health insurers, Independent/private hospitals and Trade bodies and consumer organisations

For now, the latest position statements from the major PMI providers, independent/private sector hospital operators, trade bodies and consumers’ organisation are set out below.

*On Saturday 21/03/2020, a landmark deal was struck between the NHS and independent sector hospital providers which will see an additional 20,000 fully-qualified staff and 8,000 extra beds be made available.

Spire Healthcare confirmed at the weekend that its entire capacity of 35 private hospitals across the country have been given over to tacking C19, while HCA Healthcare UK, which operates six hospitals in London and a number of other facilities across the country, has also pledged its support.

Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, has said it is making 30 hospitals across England available to NHS trusts following discussions with

NHS England.

*source - ( 23/03/2020)


Released statement and benefit updates 27/03/2020

Vitality has released further benefit updates especially around their Vitality programme. This is specifically helpful for families under lockdown:

Vitality is continuing to work through a number of initiatives that support you and our members during this difficult time and we’ve been working around the clock to identify new ways of adding value to our members whilst they’re adjusting to this current period of lockdown.

Covid 19 Cash Back Benefit

This new benefit will pay £250 per day for any admission as a result of COVID-19, increasing to £500 a day from the eighth day of hospitalisation, up to a maximum of £5,000.

This approach has been informed by research from the Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team, which indicates that on average, after day eight critical care is more likely to be required, and a larger daily cash benefit is therefore appropriate.

This benefit is now available for all health insurance members. New members will be eligible to access the benefit after a 1 month waiting period

Vitality At Home

We are currently aiming to take these live on 01st April and I will share formal comms with you early next week once they’re available. We will of course be sending this to brokers, group secretaries and also members.

Aiming for 01st April, we will be announcing several ‘Vitality at Home’ product enhancements to support members during the current lockdown period. These will include:

· Access to the Peloton workout app for 4 months at no cost, and the ability to earn points for Vitality is continuing to work through a number of initiatives that support you and our members during this difficult time and we’ve been working around the clock to identify new ways of adding value to our members whilst they’re adjusting to this current period of lockdown.

· A year’s free access to Jess Ennis-Hill ‘Jennis’ workout app, and the ability to earn points from using it

· A boosted discount of 50% off selected Garmin and Polar devices until the end of April 2020. Apple Watch Series 3 at a £7 deposit is now also live.

· Home health checks: Health check kits will be delivered by post, and we’ll be doing virtual consultation health checks

· Movies at home: An Active Reward of up to two movies a week – all the latest releases to watch at home through Rakuten

· Status protection: For all policies renewing until 30 June, the higher of a member’s earned status and carry-over status will be used to calculate increases and carry forward to the following year

Please also see our updated FAQs which are being updated regularly

Our businesses will continue to be tested in the months ahead. Every day presenting new challenges but I am confident that we will find ways to support you and your customers.


Vitality is closely monitoring the situation as it develops and is working

to provide support where possible to their members. They have a team of experts working on compiling the best advice that will help members stay active indoors, cook, eat healthily, keep the family entertained, remain connected with people and look after their mental health. Have a look at for the latest content. The Vitality GP advice line is now available to all members who have clinical concerns about Covid-19. Full details on the service and how to access it can be found in Member Zone.

From today (20/03/2020), we are announcing a new cashback benefit for COVID-19 for all VitalityHealth members who are hospitalised in the NHS due to Coronavirus. This new benefit will pay £250 per day for any admission as a result of COVID-19, increasing to £500 a day from the eighth day of hospitalisation, up to a maximum of £5,000.

Online GP services are available to use under the plan and is open to all Vitality plan holders.

Vitality are also working hard to look how we can adapt the Vitality Programme to help you stay healthy and active during these unprecedented times. We hope to be able to able to share a further update with you all on this next week.


WPA Released an email to the broker market on the 26/03/2020

We are pleased to report that the implementation of our Business Continuity plan is going well. We are operating remotely to continue to look after our customers and maintain our high service standards.

Our CEO, Nathan Irwin, has provided a statement for our customers setting out how we think the current COVID-19 situation will impact our customers and how WPA will respond. Please click here for a copy this statement. In addition we have created the attached FAQ document summarising the questions we have received from customers and intermediaries. Please have a read and share with your WPA customers as appropriate. Best wishes from the Team at WPA

Update from 20/03/2020

regarding access to a specialist

Access to a Specialist

Remote phone/online video consultations with a specialistOwing to the current coronavirus situation, we are removing the general exclusion from our policies in relation to specialist consultations undertaken via telephone or digital media. This means that should a customer wish to have a specialist consultation for any condition using the phone or video, this will be covered where it replaces the need for a bona-fide face to face consultation.Please note this specialist consultation must be pre-authorised with WPA as per all other PMI claims to ensure the condition and specialist are covered under the customer’s policy.Please note - this is a temporary benefit and we will advise when our rules revert back to the terms within the policy literature.For more details and FAQs, please visit the WPA website.

WPA released an email to the broker market on the 18/03/2020 updating us on how they would assist. They recognised the many may find themselves having financial difficulties owing to the coronavirus disruption and therefore for coporoate age-rated customers and retail there may be a range of options (not routinely offered) available at renewal or mid term that will enable customers to reduce their premiums and or protect their underwriting, should their existing scheme become unaffordable.

In the UK, you would be covered if you contract the illness, though this is subject to your policy terms.  In most cases if you contract Coronavirus and require hospitalisation, this will be as an emergency admission into an NHS facility with isolation units.  It is unlikely that treatment will be available in a UK Private Hospital as they are not set up for this however WPA will provide NHS hospital cash benefit for an inpatient stay (subject to the usual policy terms and benefits).

WPA will fund private Coronavirus testing.  This is available if a client has symptoms (such as temperature, shortness of breath, etc.) and their GP suggests they are tested for C-19 then we will fund the C-19 test privately (subject to availability).  If they do not have symptoms then we would not provide benefit for the test.  Please note that testing will come from the out-patient benefit on your plan and therefore is not available on our Flexible Health Essentials plan.


Updated Email to members sent on the 01/04/2020

BUPA has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and putting measures in place to make sure our services are safe for their customers and their employees.

Public Health England have recently advised that all non-essential healthcare services should cease to run. BUPA health assessments fall under this category, and as a result, we’re temporarily postponing this service until further notice.

Its an online GP Service

Next steps

You don’t need to do anything at this stage. Their teams will start contacting our shared customers to rearrange any health assessments that have already been booked.

Our health centres will remain open, offering primary care services, physiotherapy and dental appointments.


We know some of their employees may be feeling overwhelmed. They may also have health concerns they want to discuss without burdening the NHS. Remember, employees and their families can still call our 24/7 Anytime HealthLine on 0345 607 7777* for advice and guidance, day or night.

COVID-19: Supporting our UK customers, residents and their families.

We recognise the exceptional circumstances that we’re all facing as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The nation is in an unprecedented situation, health services across the country are under tremendous pressure and many families, individuals and businesses are facing great uncertainty.

Bupa is in a position to help and we are here to play our part. We are redirecting resources and people to support the NHS and other public health bodies wherever we can during this difficult time.

Independent hospitals

We fully support the announcement that independent hospital providers will work in partnership with NHS England to help respond to COVID-19. Tackling this disease is everyone’s priority and we welcome the commitment of independent hospitals, including our own Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London, which is already accepting patients from local NHS trusts to create bed capacity in the NHS. We have also accelerated the commissioning of our new Acute Intensive Care Unit at the Cromwell which provides much needed ICU capacity for more severely affected patients.

Support from across Bupa UK

Across our network of health clinics, we are rapidly working through how we can offer GP services and other resources we have access to in order to support NHS 111 or other vital NHS services.

Similarly, across our 125 care homes we are closely connected to local authorities and local NHS trusts to ensure we can support the most vulnerable. Through Care England we are working actively across the aged care sector to simplify and ease processes to ensure beds are available in the right environments for those who need them most.

As a significant provider of both private and public NHS dentistry, we are working to ensure we continue to offer emergency services in order to keep patients away from hospitals so they can focus on treating those that truly need help.

Support and guidance for our UK insurance customers

We’re conscious that many people are now needing to stay at home or are understandably reluctant to go out to access healthcare. To help address this, we have a range of resources and channels open should our customers need support and guidance to help them stay in control of their health and wellbeing from their home.

• Remote consultations: We will fund telephone and video consultations with all Bupa recognised consultants, where they are medically appropriate and the technology is available, to help patients avoid exposure to the virus. This service includes remote consultations with an accredited physiotherapist for muscle, bone and joint conditions.

• See a GP from home: The majority of our customers have fast access to expert advice through our digital GP services in partnership with Babylon and we are extending this rapidly to all our customer base so everyone can use this service. Customers can also use the AI-driven symptom checker feature to check for symptoms for a full range of conditions – this has been updated to include COVID-19.

• Talk to a nurse 24/7 for general health and wellbeing advice: our customers can call our Anytime HealthLine.

• Support for family emotional wellbeing: parents and carers can call our Family Mental HealthLine where we have trained advisers and mental health nurses available to provide support.

• Extension of referrals: we’ve also extended the time that a GP and consultant referral is valid for ongoing treatment up to three months.

Mental health support

We understand that the current situation could adversely impact customers with underlying mental health conditions, including but not limited to, stress, anxiety and depression. If symptoms from previous conditions come back, then Bupa customers are covered. For customers whose policies include mental health cover, we will cover treatment for mental health conditions relating to COVID-19.

We are expanding our capacity for mental health support including remote consultations and online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

This is in addition to Bupa’s Direct Access service, removing the need for a GP appointment, the online Bupa Mental Health resource hub and our Family Mental Healthline which parents and carers can call to talk to us about their child’s emotional wellbeing.

Customer Cash Benefit

To ensure that we're supporting our customers who are being treated for COVID-19, we will pay a Cash Benefit to our customers where this is included in their policy. When there's a pandemic (like COVID-19) in the UK, the NHS coordinates all care and works with private hospitals to maximise capacity of care for people affected. It's very important it's done this way so that the Government is able to continuously monitor, assess and manage the situation.

Keeping you updated

The COVID-19 situation is moving rapidly so we have launched a dedicated Bupa COVID-19 online information hub. We will be posting regular updates including frequently asked questions as well as helpful content to help people manage their physical and emotional wellbeing during the crisis. We will use the hub to announce further initiatives over the coming weeks.

COVID-19 is a public health emergency which society needs to tackle together. We are responding and adapting as the situation evolves, closely following advice from the World Health Organisation, UK Government and Public Health England. We are absolutely committed to playing our part, rising to the challenges ahead and keeping our patients, residents, customers and people safe.

If you have any questions, please speak to your Bupa Account Manager. We will continue to keep you updated with regular communications as the situation develops.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support.

Mark Allan

Commercial Director

Bupa UK Insurance

CS Healthcare

Can members use their CS Healthcare policy to be tested for COVID-19?

The Government has given Public Health England (PHE) authority to carry COVID-19 testing with samples being analysed at a limited network of Designated PHE regional laboratories. The testing from these laboratories is strictly controlled and is currently only available on the NHS. CS Healthcare members are therefore unable to use their health insurance for COVID-19 testing at this time.

How is CS Healthcare supporting its members?

CS Healthcare continues to provide a full range of normal services to our members. The Society also provides members with 24-hour access to medical advice through GP24. This service is available to members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and provides health advice and the face to face video consultations with a registered GP.

As expected, GP24 has experienced an unprecedented sharp increase in demand for GP consultations and associated call volumes, which has led to extended wait times for GP appointments. Whilst they have increased their capacity as much as possible to keep delays to a minimum, they inevitably anticipate that there will be longer wait times than normal due to concerns about COVID-19.


Freedom Health Insurance is taking the threat of coronavirus very seriously and I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about the steps we are taking to help prevent the spread of the virus and minimise any impact on our respective businesses.

In common with most companies, Freedom is closely following information and advice being provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), UK Government and the National Health Service (NHS) regarding the development and progression of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Given the serious threat to health and whilst the situation around the world is changing from hour to hour, Freedom is regularly reviewing and updating its business continuity plans, and taking sensible precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and to ensure we continue to be available to our brokers and your clients when you need us.

National Friendly

Our operations in Bristol are running as scheduled. We continue to monitor the situation and will take all precautions needed to ensure the safety of our employees and the continuity of our operations. Below are highlights of actions we are requesting of our employees both office based and field based:

We have instituted a hold on all travel.

All employees have access to our COVID-19 awareness and prevention stance and all are recommended safe hygiene practices in line with government recommendations. We are asking our employees to maintain safe distances while at work, also in line with the Government guidelines.

Managers and employees have been asked to contact our HR Department immediately if symptoms develop at their workplace.

We request that customers avoid travel to our facilities until further notice.

We are working to realign employee work shifts to avoid any facility impacts and to minimize exposure to our employees. While we do not anticipate any impact to our day to day operations, some employees will be asked to work from home



An intermediary Q&A guide was released to the broker community giving guidance to brokers regarding their clients questions.

About Aviva PLC’s financial position

We’ve been in this industry for over 300 years, so we’re well versed in weathering financial storms and crises. So we’ve applied all that experience to the current situation. We’re watching it closely, but as an organisation we’re financially strong. As of December 2019, we have a significant capital surplus of £12.6 billion.

Coronavirus is having a huge impact on all our lives. We're working hard to offer you the best service we can while looking after our staff.

You’ll have to wait longer than normal to speak to us, so consider if you really need to call. There are other ways to do or find out what you need:

• You can manage your Aviva policies by logging in to MyAviva

• You may also find our contact hours vary over the days and weeks ahead

AXA PPP healthcare will continue to cover any medical claims because of coronavirus if you are travelling to an area or country where no FCO advice against travel exists.

Email going out to all members updated 26/03/2020

Please click here to see latest update from AXA regarding Private hospitals supporting the NHS.

Further updated from AXA 25/03/2020

We've created a range of materials to support your clients' employees and managers when it comes to coping with the signs of stress. There are lots to choose from, from posters, factsheets and guides as well as webinars. Help your client's build resilience, understanding and a supportive culture.

For companies and your employees wellbeing (For Employers who have group plans):

Welcome to the 2020 Health and Wellbeing Calendar. This calendar focuses on supporting your team’s whole health, both mental and physical. Aligned to popular National Awareness Days it’ll include three expert led campaigns that will generate interest, improve your employee’s knowledge and increase engagement. Click here to access the calendar

Update to all Brokers from AXA 23/03/2020

As COVID‑19 continues to spread within the UK, the number of people needing to be treated in hospital continues to rise. You will have no doubt read that NHS England has reached an agreement with the independent health sector to reallocate its national hospital capacity en bloc to the NHS. With unprecedented levels of demand on NHS services, we understand the requirement to prioritise treatments and focus on the needs of the most vulnerable. This is a significant national crisis and we all need to work together to come through it. Please find our response to this announcement below, which can also be viewed at NHS England has announced (21 March 2020) an agreement with the independent sector to reallocate its national hospital capacity en bloc to the NHS. David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network said today: "Independent hospitals are boosting emergency capacity to put at the disposal of the NHS over these coming weeks. We have worked hand‑in‑hand with the NHS for decades and will do whatever it takes to support the NHS in responding to this pandemic. This significant additional capacity across the country will be a major boost to the NHS's efforts to treat those patients that need hospital care over the coming period and the independent sector stands ready to maintain that support for as long as needed." As part of this agreement, private hospitals will be reimbursed, at cost ‑ meaning no profit will be made for doing so. With unprecedented levels of demand on NHS services across the UK, we understand the requirement to prioritise resources and focus on the needs of the most vulnerable. We will work in partnership with our private hospital partners to support our members at this challenging time. While it is too soon to say exactly what this announcement will mean for members accessing upcoming private hospital treatments, we would expect that patients in both the private sector and NHS will be affected by delays to non‑urgent, in‑patient, elective surgery. For the moment, the advice for members who have treatment booked in the next 2 to 4 weeks is to contact the hospital where their treatment is booked, whilst we engage with the hospitals to establish the specifics of how they propose to phase in this change. All our members throughout the UK will continue to be able to access many of the other services that are available through their AXA PPP healthcare plan. Depending on their plan, this could include:

  • Consultations with specialists and practitioners over the phone and online (where clinically appropriate)

  • Cancer treatment at home (where appropriate)

  • Phone and online assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions

  • Access to our 24/7 Health at Hand helpline staffed by nurses, midwives and pharmacists

  • Mental health support services, including access to counsellors

From next week, we will also be offering our personal members and those on our SME plans complimentary access to Thrive ‑ an app with tools to support mental wellbeing ‑ for three months. We are also working with key partners to increase the number of virtual services we can offer.

About Thrive Thrive is an app that can help people to boost their mental wellbeing, manage their mood and build resilience ‑ especially important during this period. There are no specific sessions in the app for the coronavirus, but the concern around the impact of this virus can clearly cause anxiety. The app has a lot of techniques to support; sessions on calm breathing and CBT are very effective at helping with in‑the‑moment anxiety or panic. We will be contacting members directly about the service and how they can get started with their three months complimentary access to the app. Details will also be on Member Online. There is no action for intermediaries to take. If you are asked by your client please direct them to Member Online.

Update 01/04/2020

An update to our private medical insurance

As a mutual, we put our members’ needs first. Over the coming months, we understand that many of our PMI members will experience the effects of COVID-19, either directly by being hospitalised or indirectly by having their treatment delayed or treatment provider changed.

We’re therefore making some changes to our PMI plans to offer additional support, because we feel it’s the right thing to do.

Enhanced cash benefit for PMI members

To provide our valued members with some certainty in these uncertain times, we have added an ex-gratia benefit to our PMI policies:

• From April 1st 2020 and for a minimum of 3 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*.

Treatments & consultations

We await further guidance from our healthcare providers on how private hospital treatments will be affected while they provide additional support to the NHS, 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.


With the NHS currently under immense pressure, we would like to remind all members about HealthWise, our free member benefits app. Currently, all our HealthWise services are available. Remote GP consultations can be used for general treatment and advice on day-to-day, non-urgent medical conditions. HealthWise can also provide free access to mental health and physiotherapy. Visit our HealthWise page for more information.

*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.

To find out more about how we can help your clients, please do get in touch with The Exeter sales team. Call us on 0300 123 3207 or email Please do check our website for the latest updates

Update 27/03/2020

On all Health cover for me and Health choices products members will benefit from a £250 cash back facility if they are admitted to a hospital bed after A&E assessment, and in relation to the Coronavirus. This is not a capped benefit.

On the Health Plus products the benefit is £150 per night for a duration of 30 nights.

There is no exclusion for Covid-19 on the NHS cash benefit or cash plan.

Message from Andy Chapman, Chief Executive on Linkedin 26/03/2020

'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 this challenging time. You can read what The Exeter is doing here -

Stay safe and take care,

Andy Chapman'

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 09:30hrs 18/03/2020

Exclusion for income protection policies underwritten from 18th March 2020

In addition to our stance on self-isolation (please see details below), from Wednesday 18th March we are adding an exclusion to all new policies with a Day-1 or 1-week waiting period. This also applies to previously submitted applications that were not underwritten before 18th March. The exclusion will state:In the first 12 months after policy start date, any claims due to, or arising from symptoms of respiratory illnesses which includes colds, coughs, influenza-like illnesses, coronavirus infections and upper respiratory tract infections, with or without fever [will be excluded].

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.

Self-Isolation – existing income protection policies and applications submitted before 12:00pm on 16th March 2020 For anyone wishing to make a Coronavirus (Covid-19) related claim on their policy, we will consider claims for medically advised self-isolation, which aligns with current NHS 111 guidance. In these highly unusual circumstances, any payment we make for self-isolation will be outside of the normal terms and conditions. Our team is highly experienced in handling high volumes of short-term claims where evidential requirements will be varied and depend on the specific circumstances at the time.

Business Continuity We are constantly reviewing the government advice and we have a Business Continuity Plan in place, which includes additional home working provision, to allow us to ensure both members and advisers continue to receive the high level of service they have come to expect from The Exeter.As always, our employees are also a key priority, firstly to protect their health and safety and secondly so that they in turn can provide an ongoing service to our members, advisers and business partners. We are currently restricting all business travel as well as visitors to our office, but otherwise continue business via phone and web conferencing.

General & Medical

General and Medical have released an update with reference to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Please click here to see the updates


March 26th 2020

To our Business Partners/Brokers

With so much conflicting chatter in the Media about how things are developing I am sure by now you have seen and heard so much about it, there is little that has escaped you, so I will not go through all the things which are being recommended to enable you to stay safe and to keep the vulnerable safe as this is all available on our, Government websites and many more sources.

In over 30 years of business we have weathered more than one financial crisis in this country and although this pandemic is unprecedented we will weather this new crisis and will be there for you and our clients. Our staff are complying with all the recommended safety measures and at the same time are steadfastly rallying around to ensure we maintain the service we promised our Clients when they purchased cover.

We therefore want to reassure all our business partners that we are available as normal to deal with your enquiries, we are open for business and we will continue to be available throughout this situation in the usual way unless the Government or circumstances beyond our control prevents us from being able to do so.

We are in regular contact with our clients to reassure them of our support and are here for them.

We are also making available to all our clients a wide range of financial and cover options to help them through this difficult period especially if they are experiencing financial difficulties. There is no "one size fits all" and our Team is ready to talk to you and our clients and will tailor support to help them through this wherever we can.

In addition, to support all of our clients during this difficult time we are introducing some important changes and new services with immediate effect. These include expanding our essential helpline services, our 24/7 GP advice line is now available across all of our product ranges and so to all members, whilst our Employee Assistance Programme has been added to all our corporate, business and sports club clients schemes to support them and their staff during this unprecedented period.

Finally, we are receiving daily updates from Private Hospitals throughout the UK as to how they are dealing with the pandemic and it shows a trend towards a situation where many beds in private hospitals are being allocated for NHS use, therefore a full range of services from some private hospitals may not be available for the time being or may be delayed. This of course only affects one part of the service and cover we offer our clients, so please be reassured that all services offered on our PMI policies are still available but perhaps with some minor delays on certain types of claims.

I strongly urge clients to contact us to discuss any concerns that they may have when we will be able to help them find a suitable solution that will help them now whilst importantly maintaining their cover for the future.

Please contact us in the usual way if you have any questions.

Keep safe and I wish you and your staff well.


Managing Director

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