Health Shield makes Covid-19 pledge, alongside support measures for clients and members
Friendly society Health Shield today announces that it is committed to passing any unintended profit arising as a result of Covid-19 back to its clients and members: including, but not limited to, a rebate, future premium decreases or benefit & service enhancements. The Health Cash Plan provider has also put in place various immediate support measures to help clients, members and their brokers during these exceptional times. These include the waiving of the provider’s pandemic exclusion on hospitalisation cover, cover for specialist consultations by video call and financial help for businesses and individuals.
Courtney Marsh, CEO, Health Shield, comments: “While it’s impossible to predict the future impact of Covid-19 right now, we want to let our members, clients and broker partners know that we have their interests squarely in mind. Consequently - and in line with our mutual society ethos - we’ll ensure that any assessed, exceptional financial benefit arising as a result of the pandemic will be passed back to customers.”
Alongside this pledge, Health Shield announces the following immediate support measures:
Remote care pathway support
Health Shield is now allowing members to claim for specialist consultations carried out by video call, where individuals are referred by their GP or the provider’s GP Anytime service. The provider says it wants to ensure that care pathway support continues in spite of the current, restricted access to medical treatment and specialists for non-urgent cases. Usually, specialist consultations would be carried out on a face-to-face basis.
GP Anytime also now includes the streamlining of Covid-19 related queries to ensure efficient access to frontline support, regardless of the condition.
Meanwhile, Health Shield’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) remains available for video or phone access to confidential guidance and support 24/7, as does its Physio Triage service. The provider’s evidence-based and NHS approved Thrive mental health app is available as usual, helping individuals manage stress, anxiety and related conditions.
Waiving of pandemic exclusion on hospitalisation cover
Where member plans include hospitalisation cover (cash payments per night spent in hospital for planned or non-planned treatment), Health Shield has announced that it will waive the existing pandemic exclusion.
Help for business & individuals
Health Shield says it will work with corporate clients and individual members on a case-by-case basis to assess what support may be required where they might be facing temporary financial difficulties.
Free access to mental wellbeing support
Health Shield has teamed up with its mental health partners at Thrive to offer key workers, charities and students 12 months’ free access to its mental wellbeing app.
Covid-19 support hubs for adults & kids
The provider has also created two information hubs for support and guidance on Covid-19: one for adults and one for kids. The adult version contains podcasts and articles on everything from what businesses can do to support furloughed workers to top tips for employees on nutrition, staying calm and ensuring social distancing. The kids’ hub is packed with activity ideas including crafts, quizzes, recipes and competitions.
Courtney adds: “Exceptional times call for exceptional measures. That is why we have taken the decision to remove the industry standard pandemic exclusion on our hospitalisation cover. It’s also why we’re speaking to our corporate and individual clients on a case-by-case basis to discuss what we can do to help with any financial difficulties they may be facing. And it’s why we’re ensuring that our integrated care pathway support can continue by allowing members to claim for specialist video consultations, alongside our existing remote services.
“As a friendly society, it’s in our DNA to not only support our employees and members, but also the communities in which we all live and work. We recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought challenges for many - not only on a physical level, but also on psychological and financial wellbeing levels - and we want to reassure all our broker partners, clients and members that we’re here to help keep them and their people in the best of health.
“In the meantime, our business continuity plan is in full swing and we are operating as normal: ready, willing and able to provide support when and where needed.”
Notes to editors:
*Covid-19 guidance and standard operating procedure: Urgent dental care systems in the context of coronavirus, NHS, 15 April 2020 https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/04/C0282-covid-19-urgent-dental-care-sop.pdf