Mental health conditions might not be as easy to pin down as physical health conditions, but insurers are increasingly recognising the need to provide cover and support to people suffering with mental ill health.
One in four of us in the UK will be affected by a mental health problem in any given year, and of these, around four million will also struggle with their financial wellbeing. We are therefore aware of the importance and value of insurance in protecting you when life doesn’t go to plan.
The insurance industry continues to demonstrate increasing commitment to aiding people suffering from mental ill health. In 2017, Mental Health was the most common cause of claim on income protection policies in the UK. The ABI continues to engage with charities and the health and protection industry to promote greater access to insurance for people with mental health conditions and has repeatedly emphasised its commitment to aiding people suffering from mental ill health.
There is no difference in any of the insurance decision making processes for mental health to those for physical health. The process by which decisions are made and guidelines are written is consistent for every medical condition whether physical or mental health (or, as is often the case, a combination of the two.)
Why have insurance to cover mental health care?
When it comes to protecting and supporting individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, protection and health insurers not only pay claims, but they also provide additional support. Support services come at no extra costs and start from the day the cover begins. It’s always there to help you, which means you can feel confident that help is always at hand.
- Preventative measures
Many insurers provide specialist mental health service support, which enables employees of company schemes or individual policy holders to receive rapid access to assessment, often within 48 hours. Policy holders will often have a dedicated case manager assigned to them to take them through the whole process. This can include a tailored treatment plan and access to a wide range of specialists including psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists.
- Accessing support services
Most insurers have dedicated Employee Assistance Programmes which provide access to support services 24 hours a day. These can offer support on a range of topics which may trigger stress or anxiety, such as finances, relationships and legal issues, as well as dedicated mental health counsellors. These services can be accessed through dedicated helplines as well as through interactive online services.
- Rehabilitation services
Rehabilitation services are at the heart of most protection insurance products. Many insurers offer access to rehabilitation teams who help manage an employee’s or individual policy holder’s sickness absence. They often offer access to counselling and a wide range of other services, including assistance with HR issues and legal assistance. Many income protection policies have specific mental health pathways for people to get the tailored assistance they need.
Before you buy
There are lots of different types of insurance that provide cover for a wide range of situations. Many people find that buying insurance provides financial security and peace of mind, which can help them on the road to recovery when the unexpected happens.
- Types of insurance
There are many different types of insurance that you might like to consider buying that can provide financial peace of mind. They include:
- Private Medical Insurance – enables faster access to treatment by enabling a speedy diagnosis and reduced waiting times. It also helps to pay for some, or all, of the treatment that you need. This can help you get back on our feet (and back to work) faster.
- Income Protection Insurance – will pay a tax-free monthly income while you are unable to work due to illness, injury and / or suffer a reduction in salary for a prolonged period. This insurance covers mental health issues and provides key support services.
- Travel Insurance – covers the cost of any medical treatment you may need in an emergency when travelling abroad. You can also obtain travel insurance which covers the cost of your holiday if you are unable to travel and need to cancel your holiday due to illness.
- Life Insurance – is a type of policy that can be potentially affected by disclosure of mental health conditions. Find out more about the importance of disclosure below.
- The importance of disclosure
For many insurance products, disclosing pre-existing mental health conditions is very important. A pre-existing medical condition is any condition you have at the time you apply for insurance. Some insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions – this means that they will not pay out on a claim related to a pre-existing condition, sometimes this can include mental health problems
Insurers need to know about existing conditions as it allows them to understand the type of mental health condition, and the associated risk based on scientific evidence. Mental Health conditions can have a direct impact on a sufferer’s risk of premature death or disability and there are also links to greater risk of abuse of medication, drugs or alcohol, which increases the risk of a serious accident.
“Mental health” for most insurers will include all aspects such as stress, post-natal depression, ADHD, eating disorders, addictions, ME, fatigue, as well as depression and anxiety. Individuals will typically be asked to provide their diagnosis, symptoms and treatment.
Regardless of your age or health status, you will need to provide information on your mental health and whether you have been diagnosed with or treated for a mental health condition. Some insurers want clients to disclose all mental health episodes regardless of when they occurred.
It is important that you disclose complete and accurate information because it affects the risk assessment, the premiums charged and the terms and conditions of their insurance policy. It’s a legal requirement that you answer honestly, and failure to do so may result in your policy being void.
Get in touch with Flexible Health today to request a Quote
One of our friendly, experienced consultants will look through the options and take you through the insurance plan that is best for you, even if you have a pre-existing condition. We can also provide you with helpful advice and support.
For customers who already have life or medical insurance cover we can look at options to switch your policy over to a new provider. It may be possible to get similar or better insurance cover for you at a lower premium. But we remain impartial throughout – if your current cover is best for you then we will let you know.
Source: Association of British Insurers/2019