Private Business Intermediaries

COVID-19 information for our UK medical insurance customers

Page last updated 21.05.2020. We are regularly reviewing this page, so please continue to check back for updates. The information below affects our customers who have a Freedom Elite, Freedom Essentials or Freedom Your Choice policy.

If you are a Freedom Worldwide customer, click here for more information. 

With the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world, we are all experiencing unprecedented times and uncertainty about the future.
 
On 21st March 2020, the independent healthcare sector pledged to provide its hospitals and services to boost emergency capacity for the NHS over the coming weeks to help treat patients with COVID-19.
 
This means that all patients requiring non-urgent treatment in both the NHS and private sector are likely to have treatment delayed whilst nearly all private hospitals are being made available to support NHS services.
 
At the present time, we do not know how long this will continue but we know this will be of concern to our customers, so we have put together some questions and answers for our UK customers which we hope will answer some of our customers’ questions.

Is Freedom still open and operating as usual?

Absolutely. Most of our team are now working remotely and are ready to take calls and respond to emails as usual during our normal opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. 
 
Phone:  0800 999 2013*
Email:  [email protected]

I think I may have COVID-19. What should I do?

If you think you, or a family member, may have COVID-19, please follow the Government’s advice at NHS.UK

We are here to help

If you are experiencing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our team is here to help. To discuss your individual situation and the options available to you please call us on 0800 999 2013 or email us at [email protected].   

Cover

Can I get testing and treatment for COVID-19 privately?

The COVID-19 outbreak is being managed centrally by the UK Government and, at present, all testing and treatment is being carried out by the NHS/Public Health England. Currently there are no private facilities providing this service.
 

Will I be able to access private healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic?

On 21st March 2020, NHS England announced that healthcare facilities in the private sector will be made available to the NHS to support the fight against COVID-19. This means that there may be some delays placed on non-urgent, elective care, both in the NHS and private sector for a period of time.
 
Until more detail is communicated about this, we cannot be certain exactly how treatment at private facilities will be affected. However, we would expect that urgent treatments such as some cancer treatments, some outpatient diagnostics and other consultations which can be carried out remotely, such as physiotherapy and mental health care, will still be available to our customers depending on the cover purchased.

Following the launch of our GP24 service, UK-based Freedom clients are now able to access private GP services online or by phone from the safety of their own homes, which we hope will enable many clients to get the advice, reassurance, diagnosis and, where appropriate, private medication and open referral letters they need quickly and conveniently. More information is available here.

Can I get access to virtual GP services?

Yes, all Freedom Elite, Freedom Essentials and Freedom Your Choice customers can access GP24, a virtual GP service which gives you access to a fully-qualified, private GP either by phone or online. It’s simple to make an appointment. More details can be found here.

What if COVID-19 exacerbates an underlying condition?

Anyone who has a condition which is exacerbated by COVID-19 will be treated according to their usual policy terms and conditions. This also means that pre-existing conditions will continue to be excluded per our usual terms and conditions.

If I go on to develop a secondary problem related to COVID-19, would this be covered?

Providing the second condition is eligible under your policy, then it should be covered.

I’m due to renew my policy. Will the terms remain the same?

All our terms and conditions remain the same. If you’d like to contact us about your renewal, please call 0800 999 2013* or email [email protected]

Can I get the NHS cash benefit if I am treated for COVID-19 under the care of the NHS?

The NHS cash benefit is paid for planned, elective treatment that would be eligible under the policy for private treatment but which takes place under the care of the NHS. The nature of COVID-19 means that it is not planned, nor elective and therefore NHS cash benefit is not paid for NHS treatment of COVID-19.
 
We are currently reviewing this situation and will make updates available here.
 

Claims

Will I still be able to open new claims?

Yes. Your policy terms and conditions haven’t changed, but you may find it much more difficult to find certain types of treatment now that private hospitals have been made available to the NHS to treat patients with COVID-19. Please call us on 0800 999 2013* if you’d like to talk to us about making a claim.

I can’t get an appointment with a GP to get a referral, what can I do? Will I be able to claim without a GP referral during the current crisis?

Freedom’s UK-based customers have access to GP24, a private GP service offering telephone or virtual online consultations. The GPs can provide advice, reassurance, diagnosis and, where appropriate, private medication, and the phone line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If the GP feels that your condition requires further investigation or treatment, they can arrange to give you an open referral letter. You can then contact the Freedom claims helpline for pre-authorisation of your claim prior to treatment, but you may still find that your consultation and/or treatment is delayed as many consultants are now supporting the NHS.

I’ve got a referral to a consultant and need to pre-authorise my treatment, what will happen now?

If you have a referral and your consultant is still able to accept you for treatment, please contact us to arrange for pre-authorisation of the claim. Many consultants/hospitals are having to postpone or cancel non-urgent treatments though so you may find that your treatment will be delayed.

I have a pre-authorisation but can’t get an appointment with a consultant, what should I do?

As most private medical staff are now supporting the NHS against COVID-19, most non-urgent appointments and procedures have been cancelled or postponed. This means that you may have to wait until private services are resumed before you are able to book your appointment.
 
If treatment runs into your next policy year, we will ensure that you only have to pay the excess once so that you are not disadvantaged due to COVID-19. Please contact us to keep us up to date on your claim.

I have an appointment with a consultant. Will my treatment go ahead?

With most private treatment services being made available to the NHS, we are advising customers who have treatment booked in the next 2 to 4 weeks to contact the consultant or hospital providing the treatment. Some consultants will be able to offer telephone or virtual consultations. 

My consultant has cancelled my pre-authorised consultation/treatment, what should I do?

If your consultant or hospital cancels a non-urgent appointment, you may have to wait until they resume normal services again before you are able to re-book your appointment.
 
In the event that your treatment runs into the next policy year, we will ensure that you only have to pay the excess once so that you are not disadvantaged due to COVID-19. Please contact us to keep us up to date on your claim.

How long does my pre-authorisation last?

Pre-authorisation codes usually last for 3 months. If you are unable to get an appointment/treatment in this time, we will honour your existing pre-authorisation providing your policy is still in force, with no break in cover, when your treatment takes place. If your pre-authorisation code expires you may just need to contact us to obtain a new code.

I have a claim in progress. Will I still be covered?

Yes. Providing your policy is still in force, we will honour any pre-authorisations that we have previously issued for treatment. However, you may find your treatment is delayed. If your pre-authorisation code expires you may just need to contact us to obtain a new code.

How can I access physiotherapy or mental health treatment?

At the present time, certain private treatments are still available so if you are able to find these treatments privately and have taken out the optional cover for these treatments, you should contact us in the usual way to obtain pre-authorisation. You can call us on 0800 999 2013* or email [email protected]