Information for employers
Frequently asked questions for employers
Public Health England, the EU and the US Food and Drug Administration have now given approval on the accuracy of at least two antibody tests to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which can indicate that an individual has previously been infected with the virus and their body has mounted an immune response.
The World Health Organisation and the UK’s Chief Scientific Officer have however indicated that there is still no evidence that the presence of antibodies to the virus can give certainty to an individual that they will have immunity, how long this immunity will last, or if they will be able to catch it again in the future.
Whilst Bupa is therefore not currently endorsing the use of antibody tests as part of an organisation’s return to office strategy, we do appreciate that individuals may want to take an antibody test to understand whether they’ve had COVID-19 for their own personal health interest. We therefore want to make sure we are giving individuals access to approved tests they can trust.
For this reason, Bupa Health Clinics (UK) will offer the antibody test in clinics to customers. This will allow an individual to establish whether they have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the past. However, we must underline that under current health guidance the test will not provide any information on the individual’s immunity. The result should not be used to make any clinical or return to office decisions but will simply let the individual know whether they have previously been infected with the virus. Given the latest MHRA investigation into the validity of home testing for antibody status, Bupa does not currently advocate the use of this.
Bupa Health Clinics will also be offering an antigen (nasal and throat swab) testing service which detects active infection with SARS-CoV-2. This will be offered to business customers first and can be used as part of a screening regime for businesses, including temperature checks and return to work assessments, to allow the safe return of their employees to the workplace.
Our existing private health insurance policies don’t cover these tests to screen for, or diagnose a suspected case of, COVID-19. However, we will fund an antigen (nasal and throat swab) test where it is needed as part of pre-operative/pre-treatment assessment for treatment covered by the patient’s policy.
We understand the information on testing is changing rapidly and we continue to monitor developments and update the latest advice we provide to our customers, as well as our own return to work strategy.
To ensure that we’re supporting our customers who are being treated for COVID-19, we will pay a Cash Benefit to our customers where this is included in their policy. When there’s a pandemic (like COVID-19) in the UK, the NHS and Public Health England coordinate all cases and manage all resources. It’s very important it’s done this way so that the Government can continuously monitor, assess and manage the situation.
In addition, we’re covering treatment for mental health conditions relating to COVID-19. We’re giving our customers fast access to expert advice through our digital GP services, Anytime Healthline and Family Helpline. We have written to all Bupa recognised consultants to let them know that they can offer their Bupa patients telephone and video consultations, where they are medically appropriate, to help patients avoid exposure to the virus.
We know this will be a stressful time for people and that isolation may impact on overall mental wellbeing, as well as exacerbating underlying mental health conditions. We’ve seen an increase in requests for mental health support and are expanding our capacity – including remote consultations and on-line cognitive behavioural therapy. Customers can also use our Bupa’s Direct Access service, removing the need for a GP appointment. Our Family Mental Healthline is open for parents and carers to talk to us about their child’s emotional wellbeing. The online Bupa Mental Health resource hub has a wide range of support materials and is being regularly updated with relevant content.
For small businesses that are now working remotely, we have a wide range of health support and services for your team to access from their home, reflecting the reality that our country is now facing.
- See a GP from home: A reminder that you have access to expert advice through our digital GP services, in partnership with Babylon. You can also use our symptom checker for a full range of conditions, including COVID-19.
- Talk to a nurse 24/7: You can call our Anytime HealthLine on 034 5 601 3216* for general health and wellbeing advice. Lines are open and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Consult with a consultant: We now cover telephone and video consultations with all consultants who are Bupa recognised, where a consultation is medically appropriate. (Note: Some consultants are not yet set up for video, but all are available by phone).
- Talk to a physiotherapist: If you have a muscle, bone or joint condition Bupa recognised physiotherapists are on hand, via telephone or video consultations.
- Support for mental health and wellbeing: We know this is a very difficult time, so we’re expanding our mental health support. If you have got mental health cover in your policies, you now have the option of consultations with Bupa recognised therapists over the phone or video. We are also offering online cognitive behavioural therapy. Parents and carers of children can also call our Family Mental HealthLine on 0345 266 7938*, where our trained advisers and mental health nurses can offer support. They’re available between 8am until 6pm, Monday to Friday. You can also call our Direct Access team on 0345 609 0111^. They can refer you to a specialist, often without needing to see a GP first. There’s information and advice in our online mental health hub at www.bupa.co.uk/mental-health
*Calls may be recorded and, to maintain the quality of our Bupa Anytime HealthLine and Family Mental HealthLine services, a nursing manager may monitor some calls, always respecting the confidentiality of the call.
^Direct Access telephone services are available as long as the symptoms are covered under the policy. If your cover excludes conditions you had before your policy started, we’ll ask you to provide evidence from your GP that your symptoms are not pre-existing for a period of up to two years from policy start date (or five years in the case of mental health) before we can refer you to a consultant through the Direct Access service. Always call us first to check your eligibility.
Bupa Anytime HealthLine and Family Mental HealthLine are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Yes, we know this will be a stressful time for people and that isolation may impact on overall mental wellbeing, as well as exacerbating underlying mental health conditions. Healthy Minds will continue to be available.
Yes, we are continuing to take calls as usual. If you would like to share information about the service with your employees, please speak to your account manager for a range of support material.
We are also offering remote consultations: We will fund telephone and video consultations with all Bupa recognised consultants, where they are medically appropriate and the technology is available, to help patients avoid exposure to the virus.
The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is our number one priority. We are taking extensive precautionary measures to support and protect our people and our customers.
We’ve conducted a detailed risk assessment on all aspects of our clinics offering, including the properties, tasks performed, needs of our employees and customers, and coronavirus (COVID-19). This has involved clinical teams, property teams, quality and health and safety. The resulting control measures mean that we’re able to protect our employees and customers and provide the best services possible.
We’ve made some temporary changes to our services.
Health assessments – we’ve introduced an alternative way of delivering these by splitting the assessment into two appointments. One part will be completed remotely and the other will be completed in-centre.
Consulting by webchat and video – using technology in this way for some of our services will help us to reduce face-to-face contact.
Yes, anyone can now pay for a remote GP service. This includes a telephone consultation with one of our private GPs where you can talk about any health concerns safely and securely. You can also arrange private prescriptions and discuss the need for further care if necessary.
From exercise, stress, nutrition, smoking, alcohol and sleep please ask your employees to email firstname.lastname@example.org and our dedicated and experienced team of health advisers will endeavour to respond within 24 hours. This service will be available until 30 June 2020
Yes, we’re now offering a range of options designed to support you in implementing your safe return to work strategy. This includes:
Online assessments – supported by our occupational health practitioners and employee questionnaires, we can guide you on an employee’s suitability to return to work.
Temperature checks - we can support with temperature checking within your workplace.
COVID-19 tests - we are currently offering antibody and will soon be offering antigen testing for your employees.
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Read more information on coronavirus and specific Bupa products and services
Get the latest health advice from the NHS on what to do if you or your employees have symptoms of, or have been exposed to, coronavirus (COVID-19).
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Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London, EC2R 7HJ.
Bupa health trusts are administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851 Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ.