Since 1 April, Bupa’s new Business Mental Health Advantage proposition provides cover for mental health conditions to businesses and their employees.
The offering – Bupa describes it as ‘the most extensive mental health cover for businesses and their employees’ – provides support and treatment for long-term mental health issues, with the main exceptions of dementia and learning/behavioural development problems.
Existing mental health benefits and services including a self-referral service, which gives employees access to a specialist consultant without GP referral, are included too. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is also available through Bupa’s wellbeing and mental health support service.
Key features of the new offering include:
* Extending the mental health conditions covered. The proposition covers all mental health conditions, including conditions PMI insurers typically exclude such as alcohol and drug abuse. Also included is cover for mental health conditions, even if connected with a condition Bupa does not cover e.g. anxiety as a result of sleep disorder, even though sleep disorders are not covered.
* Removal of the time limits on treatment for mental health conditions. Employees have access to medical treatment and support if their condition comes back.
* Ongoing support. Employees diagnosed with mental health conditions will be provided with help to manage their condition and prevent worsening symptoms. So, if an employee’s treatment involves ongoing, daily medication, they will have regular reviews to ensure they are on the most effective and appropriate treatment. If there is a clinical need, employees can have a follow-up appointment with a consultant psychiatrist.
What They Say
Alex Perry, CEO of Bupa Insurance UK, said: "Mental health is one of the biggest people issues that businesses - big and small - face today. This launch makes it possible for business leaders to provide better support for their colleagues."
What We Say"Bupa says claims for mental health treatment have doubled over the past ten years, while the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health plus employer research suggests poor mental health costs employers between £33bn and £42bn a year. That’s over £1,000 per employee each year.
"It’s no surprise then that mental health is now the most common reason for employees being off work, with around 70 million working days lost a year as a result.
"Bupa’s new proposition covers most mental health issues (only dementia and learning/behavioural development problems are not covered) and enables employers to offer specialist help to employees. Unlike many physical conditions, metal health issues can be ongoing and, in the past, insurers have often taken the easy route and excluded or limited cover. Now however, mental health is becoming much more front of mind and employers are stepping up to the challenges (and rewards) of tackling it.
"Bupa’s new offering could also be the start of a new opportunity for PMI insurers and advisers (Aviva is launching its approach to mental health in May for example) that could see the product much more sought after by more employees. One to look at."