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BMA reaches agreement with insurers to not discriminate based on Covid testing

The BMA has reached an agreement with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) that doctors who tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies should not encounter difficulties when applying for life insurance or income protection.

This came about after the BMA became aware of reports of doctors finding themselves in this situation. 

Having previously warned that GPs must not be ‘disadvantaged’ if this was to take place, the BMA subsequently launched an investigation with financial partner Chase de Vere. As part of this, Chase de Vere contacted the majority of insurers to determine how they assess the risks from Covid-19 when people apply for insurance policies.

These investigations revealed that some of the questions they asked did have the potential to ‘lead to some difficulties’ for healthcare workers, predominantly because they are both more likely to come into contact with those with Covid-19, and to undergo PCR (antigen) and antibody testing.

However, they also concluded that the insurers’ intention was to treat healthcare workers fairly.

In a joint statement, the BMA and ABI said. ‘Having discussed the issue in detail, the BMA and ABI are clear that there should be no detriment to healthcare workers and no one should be discouraged from having a test.

‘Each application for life insurance and income protection will be assessed on an individual basis, regardless of profession, and focussed on the person’s health and severity of any symptoms at the time. A positive test for Covid (either a PCR or antibody test) should not delay an application as long as the individual has recovered and been back at work for the required period.’

Meanwhile, the BMA is continuing to work with the ABI to ensure that the approach taken by insurers when assessing applications form healthcare workers ‘remains appropriate’. It noted that the environment is ‘rapidly changing’.

Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA GP Committee, also recently told Pulse that GPs are not obliged to offer antibody tests to patients.