11 January 2023
The Private Medical insurance market is in a dynamic state. We assess what is likely to happen, from new providers to body dysmorphia, gender identity and menopause at work.
We continue to see movement in the Private Medical Insurance market with further contraction in the UK. Cigna being the latest provider to pull out and decline renewal terms after 1 January 2023 to their existing clients. At Verlingue we will continue to monitor the market and seek additional health care providers where relevant. In this respect, we have recently added Freedom Health Insurance to our panel.
Demand for broader cover and benefits grows
We have seen an increasing number of enquiries from our clients around gender dysphoria, fertility support and menopause.
Medical insurance providers in the UK are re-considering their stand on gender-identity and body dysmorphia disorder (BDD). Studies show that approximately 2% of the population is affected by BDD, a mental health condition that has significant detrimental effects including anxiety and depression.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
BDD is characterised by a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in appearance, which are unnoticeable to others. Body Dysmorphic Foundation
The psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity.American Psychiatric Association
Gender dysphoria is often misunderstood meaning colleagues may struggle opening up about their personal lives and potentially leading to serious mental health conditions. Counselling and support services together with gender-identity and gender-reassignment treatments including surgical procedures, are generally excluded from private healthcare schemes.
A number of UK Private Medical Insurers are considering offering these additional benefits to their existing proposition. Currently these covers are only readily available on bespoke large corporate schemes.
However, the position is changing in 2023. From our discussions with the market, it is increasingly becoming a core part of several insurers’ proposition. We understand that the big 4 Private Medical Insurance providers in the UK (Bupa, AXA, Aviva, Vitality) will start offering BDD and gender dysphoria treatment and support for corporate clients. It is a breakthrough in the industry and could drive other providers to follow, in a fluid and evolving market.
Menopause in the workplace
Menopause at work research
“92% said symptoms affected them at work, reporting they were less able to concentrate (72%), experienced increased stress (70%) and a loss of confidence (67%). Symptoms can be exacerbated by work and stress caused by the work environment.”
A subject making headlines is how women in the workplace going through the menopause are being treated. Issues range from individuals’ needs not being catered for, to feeling isolated in the workplace, ignored completely, it has become mainstream news.
In July, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee produced a report that found menopausal women were the fastest growing group in the workforce. They also declared that “while the government is not legally bound to adopt the recommendations of the Committee, with increasing scrutiny and public pressure to protect the rights of menopausal women, further action in this area is likely.”
Women make up 47% of the workforce in the USA and about 27 million, or nearly 20% experience menopause, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The impact is huge, 40% say that their symptoms interfere with their work performance on a weekly basis. Worldwide, it is estimated that menopause-related productivity losses exceed $150 billion a year.
Businesses are starting to recognise this, yet over one third (36%) of employers feel that they are lagging behind when it comes to offering menopause support to the workforce. The demand for help is undeniably on the rise and there is evidence of action. For example, in an effort to support employees and prevent workers leaving, Bank of Ireland Group is offering paid leave for women going through the menopause. In Australia the union movement is pushing for legislation to allow menopause leave. Returning to the UK the House Committee recommended that Menopause be a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act.
At Verlingue we focus on getting to know your business and what you want to achieve through your Employee Benefits package. Whatever your needs, we can design an innovative solution for your unique requirements.