COVID-19 has led to a paradigm shift in countless areas, the health sector being one of those most directly affected. With medical centres and hospitals saturated, the pandemic has severely strained the country’s health system, despite the enormous efforts of the excellent professionals who have been, and are still, on the front line, doing an outstanding job.
However, the delicate and tense situation experienced during the days when the curve was rising steeply led many people to consider contracting medical insurance to gain more flexible access to healthcare. To this factor, we must add the fear of contagion when people are physically present in a hospital.
It is not, therefore, surprising that workers who had an employee benefit programme in their company should sign up for collective health insurance, especially if it offered specific guarantees related to the virus. The tax advantages compared with individual health insurance were another incentive to take into account, since the employee, his/her spouse and descendants are exempt from Personal Income Tax up to 500 euros per beneficiary per year.
From a business point of view, the increase in infection figures also meant that companies were suddenly exposed to not having some of their staff available, as they were on sick leave, a factor which was also key when assessing the option of a policy of this type.
Video consultation and new communication channels
In addition to the specific cover linked to the virus and the tax advantages, collective health policies are also attractive because of the accelerated digitalisation that has occurred in recent months. A clear example of this is the increased use of video consultation, which played a central role during lockdown: the other person did not need to be physically present, exposure to the virus was reduced, and there were savings in time and travel costs.
New communication channels have also become an excellent tool for establishing closer and more direct links between patients and medical professionals. An example of this is the WhatsApp groups set up for individual specialities, a practice that has been widely supported in this period.
Reinvention of policies
However, not only remote consultation and chats have emerged as useful tools. The reinvention of policies has led to some already including the cost of pharmaceutical products, some even offering the possibility of having drugs delivered to the company.
Apart from the advantages of the digital world, home care cover represents high added value for insured persons if they are isolated because of COVID-19. They then have someone to collect the children from school or to take care of cleaning the house.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way in which we assess the importance of preserving our health and collective health insurance is gaining positions in the market.