Wednesday 19 September 2018

Laya Healthcare to offer 24/7 mental wellbeing support

Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

LAYA Healthcare is offering mental health assistance to individual members, in a move that is likely to be replicated by other providers.

From this month, all Laya members aged 16-plus can access the 24/7 mental wellbeing support programme from their renewal at no additional cost.

The move is aimed at encouraging younger people to move to Laya.

The call lines will offer support on issues as diverse those that cause anxiety and stress, legal assistance for a range of issues, career guidance, and mediation for conflict resolution.

Health insurance expert Dermot Goode said other insurers were likely to offer this service, which is similar to employee assistance programmes offered by companies to their staff.

He said it was similar to the supports offered by companies to their staff under employee assistance programmes, and on corporate health insurance policies.

“This shows the stress now is on prevention and on emotional wellbeing. There are more young people who have these sorts of issues and Laya is attempting to tap into that.

“The other insurers are likely to follow with similar benefits,” Mr Goode, of TotalHealthCover.ie, said.

Laya is the second largest health insurer in this market.

Counselling psychologist Dr Sarah O’Neill, who works with Laya on its mental wellbeing support programme, said the new benefit will help people to improve and maintain good mental health.

“Life is busy for all of us, and this new benefit provides a huge breadth of supports that will have relevance to everyone, not just those struggling with anxiety or mental wellbeing issues.

“If you’re experiencing relationship issues, having trouble with a landlord or you’re struggling to cope after the death of a loved one, this benefit will put you in touch with qualified experts who can offer immediate ‘in the moment’ advice and guidance.”

Dr O’Neill said that just feeling listened to and offered expert advice can often diffuse anxiety tied to a specific problem or issue.

Laya increased prices on a number of plans this month.

It said it would also reduce prices on half of its plans and was introducing a range of additional benefits on a number of plans.

The move comes soon after Vhi said it is to cut its prices for the third time in less than a year.

Laya said half of its plans would be reduced in price from the start of this month.

Average reductions would be 3.9pc would be applied to 66 different plans.

This would see an adult member saving €100 when they renew on the Assure Protect plan, taking the price to €482.

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