impact on income and health insurance – Which? News – Get your quote in 5 minutes

Health insurers offer extra services and some promise reimbursements as the coronavirus delays and stops private medical care.
These changes in health coverage come when life insurers limit coverage for new applicants, travel insurers withdraw or downsize coverage and unemployment protection is put on hold.
Here, which one? explains what is going on with the protection insurances you may need to turn to during the coronavirus crisis.

You can stay up to date on the latest coronavirus news and tips with Which?

You can navigate through this story using the links below.

How coronavirus is affecting health insurance
COVID-19 has delayed and stopped health care across the private health sector as staff and hospitals have moved on to support the NHS-led response to the epidemic.
Waiting times have increased
Insured persons will have to wait longer for treatment. Elective surgery can be canceled or postponed.
Leading supplier Bupa said urgent cases, including cancer treatment, will continue.
New expanded services
Although private health insurers may not provide access to care in some areas faster than before – one of the main reasons people buy health insurance, many insurers have strengthened other services.
Some have stepped up the provision of services such as mental health support and expanded the range of patients they can refer to.
In response to social distancing, most have greater access to medical skills by phone, video, online and app.
Irregular response on refunds and premium cuts
So far, insurers have had a mixed response to the cost of policyholders due to the reduced availability of assistance.
Some insurers have made public statements that lower refunds or premiums will be made available to reflect reduced coverage.
Bupa, AXA PPP and WPA have clarified their position to the extent permitted by the development situation. Details are shown in the following table.
Other insurers are deciding on a case-by-case basis, according to ActiveQuote, a broker that provides comparative health insurance data for, Gocompare and uSwitch.
These insurers will take into account what level of coverage an insured has, how long they have been insured, whether they hold a private or family or business policy and what medical treatment is needed.
Depending on the circumstances, they may offer a temporary pause in monthly premium payments or a reduction in coverage coupled with a lower premium.
Cash benefits increased for overnight stays in NHS hospitals
Most private health insurers have collected the amount of money returned to policyholders if they are to remain in a NHS hospital.
Some have increased this so-called SSN cash advantage by £ 100 or more per night.
You can find more details on each insurer in the following table.

How health insurers respond to COVID-19
To find out if the insurer has issued a statement regarding the premium payment or refund policy, please see the table below.
Where the insurer has not issued a declaration, it is necessary to contact the supplier to discuss any changes that you may wish or need to make.

What existing customers should do
Cash benefits for overnight stays in NHS hospitals
New services

Insured persons should discuss the options with the insurer
£ 100 per night subject to the terms of the policy

He will adapt to treatment delays but will not know the figures until the end of 2021 at the earliest.
Increased from £ 100 per night to £ 150 per night from April 1st
Virtual clinic with consultants via telephone, video or online. Extra support for well-being


Some treatments will be delayed but urgent treatments for diseases like cancer continue. Other treatments may not be provided, therefore a refund will be provided. This has yet to be determined, but will vary by customer group.
Insured persons in financial difficulties must send an e-mail to Bupa.
£ 50 per night for a maximum of 35 nights

Reports for treatment were prolonged up to three months during the coronavirus crisis.
Insured persons on a reduced hospital list now have access to an extended list.
The digital GP service that uses an app now covers COVID-19 related mental health conditions.
Physiotherapy through an app.

CS Healthcare
Insured persons should discuss the options with the insurer
No figures confirmed
NHS doctors can turn to policyholders for a private diagnosis.

Insured persons should discuss the options with the insurer
Cash benefits doubled to £ 500. Limited to 20 nights – £ 10,000.

Freedom Health
Insured persons should discuss the options with the insurer
No figures confirmed
All customers can now access the GP 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as an online video consultation with a GP every day from 8:00 to 19:00.

General and doctor
Insured persons should discuss the options with the insurer
Offered but not for insured hospitalized with COVID-19.

All customers can now access the GP 24/7 line.
All corporate, corporate and sports customers can get employee assistance.

Insured persons should discuss the options with the insurer
Increased from £ 100 per night to £ 150 per night from April 1st.

Insured persons should discuss the options with the insurer
£ 250 / night for COVID-19 admissions, then £ 500 / night from the eighth day up to £ 5,000
All Vitality policyholders can now access the GP line.

It can downgrade to reduced coverage for three months, losing the benefits of hospitalized and outpatient patients but maintaining the remote GP, the health care line and the cash benefit of the NHS.
Subject to the terms of the policy
Funding of private COVID-19 tests if available and if recommended by a family doctor. The cost comes from the outpatient benefit and is not available in the Flexible Health Essentials plan.

What will happen to health insurance prices?
Did the British Insurers Association (ABI) say which one? in March, COVID-19 was not expected to raise prices. ActiveQuote has confirmed that it is so. Aviva said that its price hike in April was not due to COVID-19.
Treatment for hospitalized people for COVID-19 will be under the National Health Service even if it is received in a private setting.
What should privately insured COVID-19 patients do?
They should go to the National Health Service 111 and, if necessary, continue with the National Health Service.
All COVID-19 patient management is centrally led by Public Health England with the national health service guiding the response.
Private hospitals do not include emergency facilities. However, policyholders can use their private insurance for advice and support.
How coronavirus is affecting life insurance
Comparethemarket, a comparison website, said which one? he had seen some insurers introduce exclusions on new life insurance policies and applicants were asked if they had symptoms of coronavirus.
However, prices remain stable and new customers are still being accepted.
If you have life insurance to provide for those left behind after your death, keep paying even if you're tempted to put it on hold to cut costs.
You may lose coverage if you stop paying monthly premiums and you may find it difficult to find the same level of coverage if you later start another policy.
Which one? his broker in Leytonstone in London was told by his broker that he was covered for COVID-19, but that it was very likely that many would exempt him from new policies.
Find out more: what is life insurance?
What to do if you have difficulty paying
If you're cutting costs or struggling to pay, talk to your supplier as soon as you can to see if you can have a payment vacation or cut installments.
Payment holidays are at the discretion of the individual insurer. Although these were offered by mortgage providers because of the pandemic, don't assume that the same applies with life insurance.
Each insurer differs and the insurer himself can vary his position depending on the circumstances.
Typically, if you don't pay on time, the insurers give you a grace period before the coverage stops.
If you request a period when you have not paid the monthly premium, often the missing premium must be paid before you can receive the benefit. Some insurers will deduct the premium from payment rather than insisting on receiving the premium first.
Learn more: Check out what support is available for homeowners and borrowers
What is going on with income protection?
Income protection, which used to be called permanent health insurance, pays if illness or injury prevents you from working. However, it does not cover redundancy.
He will pay for one or two years, or until you return to work, or until retirement or death, depending on your policy. The longer the coverage, the higher the rewards.
ActiveQuote, the insurance broker used to protect income from five other major price comparison websites (,,, and, said the number of requests for information on income coverage has increased by more than 1,000%, doubling every week and beating Tuesday, March 17 while the number of people who fear job losses has skyrocketed.
The comparison website announced on Wednesday March 18 that it was temporarily suspending providing estimates on all forms of income protection, including coverage against accidents and illnesses and unemployment protection.
All insurers gave up on providing unemployment coverage for new applicants as thousands of workers had climbed last week to protect their livelihoods while the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its grip.
Although all insurers have reduced unemployment coverage, they are still offering coverage for accidents and illness, although some have imposed restrictions on applicants who have or may have coronavirus and others are considering excluding claims based on coronavirus.
Coverage of unemployment withdrawn
All insurers had stopped offering unemployment coverage by March 19, according to ActiveQuote.
There are more than 20 insurers offering income protection, including Aegon, AIG, Aviva, British Friendly, Exeter, Holloway, Legal & General, LV, Vitality, Royal London, Shepherd's Friendly and Zurich.
The last broker selling unemployment coverage, First Call Group, stopped acquiring new customers on March 19. The First Call group hopes to restore coverage, but said which one? there were no guarantees as insurers are trying to mitigate their losses in an uncertain market.
ActiveQuote, and the comparison websites it works with, issued a message on Wednesday March 18 that unemployment coverage was no longer available, but coverage for injuries and illnesses was found.
Accident and illness coverage still available
Income protection is still available depending on where people shop, but is offered only to cover accidents and illnesses.
Some insurers have started applying COVID-19 restrictions to new arrivals. Others are still considering what to do.
Temporarily, people can no longer access for any form of income protection. He could not offer comparisons until the income protection insurers he had dealt with had found out what coverage they could offer in relation to COVID-19, but could not indicate when this would be.
For the time being, people can still get other forms of income protection that cover injuries and illnesses, either by going directly to the insurer or through other comparison sites, including,, Confused. .com, and

Insurers reviewing income protection policies
Some insurers have already confirmed their position on what they are offering with their current income protection.
Exeter announces restrictions
One of the first income protection insurance companies to reveal the changes was The Exeter.
It has stopped providing income protection for claims of self-isolation of policies requested on or after Tuesday March 16 for any claims, both self-imposed and medical.
People who already had an income protection policy with The Exeter before 12:00 on March 16 could still file a COVID-19-related medical self-isolation request that followed NHS 111 guidelines at that time. Any such payments, he said, were beyond his normal terms and conditions.
The decision was posted on its website half an hour before the breakpoint for new customers.
New Vitality customers wait longer for payment
Vitality said which one? who was still accepting new customers for income protection as long as they don't have coronavirus. However, applicants will have to wait at least four weeks before the policy pays following a complaint.
He described this as a small change that would only affect "a very small amount of people". The premium and coverage remain unchanged.
People who show coronavirus symptoms, have been tested, or have tested positive are postponing their applications.
LV review conditions for new candidates
LV said it was still open to new clients seeking income protection. He will pay for a coronavirus diagnosis and provide support to existing customers who are advised to self-isolate.
Most customers will recover from COVID-19 within two weeks, so LV says it is unlikely to pay for a complaint but for those with underlying medical conditions who take longer to recover, payments will be based on individual circumstances and waiting periods. of policies. At LV, the shortest wait is one month.
However, it is reviewing the terms and conditions and this may affect new applications.
Likewise, LV's life insurance coverage is under review, but he said he will pay for any coronavirus-related death claims.

Is it worth having a protection insurance?
If you are purchasing income protection to cover the COVID-19 epidemic, it is unlikely that you will pay if you get sick for a short time or self-insulate yourself, depending on the duration of the pandemic.
Most policies, purchased from an employer or natural person, are designed for long-term absences, so they will not take effect until after a waiting period. At that point, the disease or self-isolation may be over and you may be able to return to work.
Only policies that provide coverage for a short period will pay off immediately or after a short period such as a week. They will only pay if you have not been able to earn an income at that time, not only because you were unable to go to work, or because you were isolating or falling ill.
However, it seems increasingly difficult to find short-term policies that pay from the first day or after a week as insurers are moving quickly to limit the losses they might otherwise face with new customers.
What to look for before purchasing income protection
If you are looking for any form of income protection, it is essential to understand when and under what conditions it will pay.
Usually, which one? recommends that all working-age adults consider taking out income protection, as only a limited number of employers will support their staff for more than a year if they are sick from work.
Usually pay tax-free between half and seven tenths of your earnings, although there may be a limit.
He will only pay for the duration of the policy or until you can return to work, whichever comes first.
Payments are rarely immediate. Some short-term policies have paid since the first day, with others there may be four weeks of waiting, but long-term policies generally don't start before at least 13 weeks.
Considering protection insurance, it is also necessary to take into account the rapidly evolving government measures that have been established to facilitate cash flow in response to the economic impact of the pandemic.
Which? advice on coronavirus
Experts from all over Which? you've put together the advice you need to stay safe and make sure you're not left out of your pocket.

You can stay updated on our latest coronavirus epidemic advice on our coronavirus advisory hub.