By Paul Crothall
In the third in his series of guest articles with Hillman Saunders, Paul asks for your thoughts on what big insurers can do with their existing policies to better help people suffering from mental health illnesses.
Having written the first two blogs in this series of articles – firstly my own experiences and secondly what companies can do better to help their employees – the next logical step was to begin thinking about what insurance providers could do to help those with mental health problems.
I have heard so many people say (and have read / heard the same in the media) about the long delays for people to get the help they need – even after they have approached their GP or other healthcare professionals – and, sadly, in some instances this has resulted in some people taking their own (or others) lives.
Which got me thinking, many people in the financial services industry (and other
I have had a quick look at four of the main providers and this is what I found*:
AXA has a mental health option but it is an add-on which you have to request. The danger here is obviously that you might not think you need it – I wouldn’t have thought I would.
Vitality provides for up to eight CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) sessions which I’m not sure would be enough for some. Also, is it the best form of treatment for all mental illnesses?
BUPA include mental health treatment in their comprehensive cover, but not their standard cover. It covers up to 28 days in-patient or day-patient treatment.
The AVIVA website was not so clear. They do provide for up to 28 days in-patient or day-patient treatment, but I couldn’t work out if this was an add-on or standard cover.
Which I hope you agree is all very interesting! My questions are:
- Is it enough?
- Does it cover emergency help (for example, if someone wants to harm themselves or others)?
- Why is it not forming part of the standard cover from all providers?
If private medical insurance helped with emergency assistance as standard cover, it may free up other services used by those who have to rely on the NHS – helping more people to get the help they need sooner.
They could also either provide emergency contact details that they operate themselves or combine with a charitable organisation, such as Samaritans, who could refer them to a safe place near to their location.
What are your thoughts on this? I’d be interested to hear any ideas for improved cover regarding mental illnesses. Please contact me on the email below, we can then forward these ideas to the providers mentioned above and seek feedback from them.
*NOTE: The providers mentioned in this article have not been contacted for clarification of the cover they provide or for any other information. If you are thinking of purchasing Private Medical Insurance, please contact them – or your insurance agent/broker – to discuss what coverage (and equally important, what exclusions) apply.
Although I work in the Insurance industry, I have no involvement in the selling of insurance products and have no experience in the Private Medical Insurance sector. Therefore, please do not rely on anything in this article as advice when purchasing cover.