Modern PMI can include GP services, aftercare, preventative healthcare information and helplines, according to the non-profit health insurer WPA.
In the past, PMI focused on covering treatment costs. For example, a decade ago, PMI focused on a level of service that was similar to the NHS, but at a quicker pace.
However, insurers now offer much more than the traditional suite of benefits. Tara Gale, SME general manager at WPA, explains:
"Today insurers offer a range of free value-added extras to improve and help the health of their customers."
As such, modern PMI can include GP services, aftercare, preventative healthcare information and helplines designed to complement what is available on the NHS.
Paul Roberts, lead consultant at specialist intermediary IHC, emphasises that much of this evolution has come about from simply "listening" to customers. He says: "Insurers add value by being advocates for the general health of individual and business customers and providing them with choice and support. If in that process they can offer more options and services then that is superb, and retention rates increase substantially."
Technology has made healthcare more accessible to customers and enabled them to access treatment or support in a new, digital and modern way. Covid-19 has also helped boost the popularity of free preventative physical and mental wellbeing facilities accessible from home, often via an App offering everything from stress helplines and virtual counselling sessions to physiotherapy videos.
Moving towards a new future normal
This trend for PMI to extend well beyond merely the cost of treatments is set to continue as insurers work alongside the NHS to develop virtual and face-to-face services.
For example, cancer screenings are normally only available on the NHS at specific ages - around 50 for breast cancer mammograms and 25 for cervical smear tests.
However, WPA's Gale says: "We do see cases of cancer in individuals much younger than that. So, should we as insurers look to offer cervical screening from the age of 20? Preventative therapy treatment is another area we are actively researching. As we move to a hybrid way of working, how can we prevent long-term conditions like musculoskeletal injuries earlier?"
This myth-busting article is one of a series of 10 addressing common myths around PMI. Access the full list