We had the pleasure of meeting Medicash, a true veteran in the healthcare industry. Medicash is both the oldest and one of the largest healthcare cash plan providers in the UK. Despite their age — 150 years to be exact — they keep up-to-date with the developments of the healthcare industry and society at large. Medicash has a strong focus on health protection, social inclusion, and digital innovation, ensuring they stay relevant, fair, and modern.
We spoke with Paul Gambon, Sales & Marketing Director at Medicash, to find out how Medicash operates, what makes them different from other healthcare providers, and what has changed since the pandemic.
Can you describe Medicash in 30 seconds? What do you do?
Yes, of course. At Medicash, we look after the wellbeing and healthcare of over 300,000 people as individuals and in over 2,500 companies. We do this by providing low-cost cover for everyday healthcare expenses. Alongside this, we want to help people with their mental health by giving them access to valuable digital resources. The main idea is to offer simple tangible solutions for looking after your mental health needs and those of your family.
Additionally, as a not-for-profit organisation, through The Medicash Foundation we support the NHS and other health-related charities across the country such as Inovus Medical, Liverpool Women's Hospital, and Feeding Birkenhead. We are very proud of this tradition and plan to continue donating as much as we possibly can.
Can you explain what a health cash plan is, and how it differs from private medical insurance?
Actually, there are many differences. In essence, a health cash plan is a scheme where you pay a monthly fee to cover routine medical and dental expenses, something you would be paying for either way. This means if you need a dental check-up, filling, visit to a physiotherapist or even a new pair of glasses, you don’t need to put them off due to finances as Medicash will reimburse you the cost up to a specific monetary limit. In other words, health cash plans focus more on everyday life. They have a lower cost tied to it, making them more affordable than private medical insurances. They are especially beneficial for companies. Instead of offering certain healthcare benefits to only a small selection of the senior staff, they can readily offer a health cash plan to their entire workforce.
Another big difference is that we provide preventative healthcare solutions to help people stay healthy in the first place. Saving time, money, and above all, limiting suffering in the long run. Overall, we try to make the claims process as easy and as simple as possible. We also provide cover for pre-existing conditions!
Medicash's history is fascinating. What makes you different from other healthcare providers?
In fact, we are the first health cash plan provider in the UK - we haven’t forgotten our roots. We might be 150 years old with a long tradition, but that doesn't mean that we haven't welcomed digital innovation with open arms. We continuously implement effective digital solutions for our policyholders. Over our history we have endured many changes and challenges including other global pandemics and two World Wars. Indeed, Medicash pre-date the NHS by nearly 80 years so, when they were introduced in 1948, Medicash adjusted it’s offering to ensure it fitted the new needs of the general population. It’s been Medicash’s ability to constantly adjust and adapt to the ever changing requirements and demands of the market that have ensured it’s longevity.
Besides the focus on mental health and preventative healthcare, we pride ourselves on having very low operating costs. Ultimately, we exist for the benefit of our policyholders so this way, we can make healthcare more accessible to everybody.
What is your typical customer profile?
We can assist anybody! We support a variety of businesses from 1 to 8,000+ staff members. Medicash allows companies to offer an extensive range of benefits for a very low monthly cost. The administration is much easier as well as there is no need for companies to source all these benefits separately. What all these businesses have in common is that they understand the benefits of a healthy workforce.
What are your most popular products? Have you adapted any of them due to the pandemic?
We have excellent off-the-shelf products that are in great demand. Besides that, we offer the option to fully customise a scheme to a client's specific requirements. I believe it’s essential to have both these options available.
As a consequence of the pandemic; we’ve been focusing on digital tools to help people during difficult periods. We have, for example, introduced an improved Virtual GP Service. This service means you can consult with an NHS-registered GP on a video or phone-based platform. You can receive advice, diagnoses, and fit notes. You can even get prescription medicine delivered right to your door. This is perfect for people who don’t wish to leave the safety of their own house but need some medical support.
Then there is mProve YOURSELF, an app designed to help policyholders improve their body and mind. It includes meditations, sleep and happiness courses, yoga and fitness videos. Everything to improve mental and physical health.
Another digital innovation is SkinVision, a skin cancer detection app. By taking a photo of your moles and skin spots with a smartphone, you get a risk indication within half a minute. Again, this is our way of focussing on prevention as much as possible!
Amazing! What are the most common health concerns amongst employees today?
Without a doubt, personal wellbeing! Both mental and physical. We can clearly see a rise in demand in those areas, and we try to respond to that. Also, affordability has become a significant concern for many people. How do you pay for the healthcare treatment you need but can't afford? It's tricky.
The pandemic, of course, has brought a whole array of other concerns. For many, this had both short and long term impacts on their lives and the lives of their family members. Naturally, people are looking for healthcare that can cover the entire family.
What is certain is that Medicash will continue to support its customers through the pandemic and beyond. It will continue to adapt and change according to the varied needs and demands of the people who value it so highly, which will hopefully see it through the next 150 years and beyond.
A big thank you to Paul, for giving us a glimpse into the workings of Medicash and showing us that innovation doesn't only come from new players in the market. It's necessary to stay relevant for the everyday person and businesses in every industry.