Medicash reports policy surge amid COVID crisis

Liverpool-based national health cash plan provider Medicash says the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted employers to consider the wellbeing of their employees. Tony McDonough reports

Sue Weir
Sue Weir, chief executive of Medicash

 

Liverpool health cash plan provider Medicash says it now has more than 300,000 policyholders across the UK after an 8% surge so far in 2020.

At the end of 2019, the city centre-based organisation has 277,176 policies. Medicash says the COVID-19 lockdown had prompted many companies to see the value of investing in the health and mental wellbeing of their employees.

It said that 67% of all new business written between April and September came from companies who previously had no cash plan in place. In the same time period Medicash also saw an increased demand for its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

There was a 36% increase in the number of EAP policies including this benefit compared to the same period in 2019. EAP offers mental and emotional support at a time when many are feeling pressure from the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

It not only offers 24/7 access to trained counsellors, as well as up to eight sessions of face-to-face (or remote) counselling per issue, it also includes access to Woebot – an AI Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based app.

Through this app users can track their mood, identify patterns, and gain insight into issues or concerns that they may not have realised were causing them emotional distress.

Woebot can also instantly connect the user to a trained human counsellor when it is identified that additional support is required.

Due to the COVID crisis, Medicash has also launched new benefits to market earlier than originally planned. They include SkinVision, a skin cancer screening app that allows users to assess their skin spots and moles for the most common causes of skin cancer via their smartphone and receive a risk indication within 30 seconds.

Another is its mProve YOURSELF app containing a wide range of wellbeing tools and advice to help users improve their body and mind. The app allows users to access a 30-day beginners guide to a mindful life course.

It includes a range of guided meditations and breathing exercises, more than 70 fitness and resistance training videos and a range of mental wellbeing courses with information on how to cope with stress, depression, anxiety and looking after your own mental health.

Both new services have been introduced at no additional cost to policyholders. And Medicash has also enhanced its Virtual GP service. Chief executive Sue Weir said: “Few firms would have disagreed that their employees’ health and wellbeing matters – or that the issue was rising up their agenda.

“The current environment has accelerated this change and firms are investing in their staff. It’s so encouraging that businesses are seeing that caring for the health and wellbeing of their staff helps to boost company performance and make it a better place to work.”

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