MetLife launches long-Covid, mental health and musculoskeletal pathways

MetLife has bolstered its group income protection offering with the launch of three new clinical pathways – long-Covid, mental health and musculoskeletal (MSK).

Related topics:  Protection   |   Rozi Jones
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5th November 2021
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"Now more than ever there’s a focus on mental health, MSK and long-Covid, which is why it was a priority for us to launch our new clinical pathways to support those who need it."

MetLife’s clinical pathways aim to help minimise employee absence duration and can prevent an absence becoming long term. The three pathways help employers and employees understand the options available to them and provide tailored return to work support alongside early intervention case managers, access to necessary treatment, and training for employees and managers.

More than one million people in the UK report experiencing long-Covid symptoms. MetLife’s own claims data reveals that long-Covid accounts for 10% of new claims in the last three months – up 250% from the previous quarter. Although long-Covid is a new illness, how best to treat and manage symptoms is also fast evolving. Treatment plans and approaches may vary, but what is clear is the impact it can have on an employee’s ability to work and their productivity levels. Symptoms currently can include fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and ‘brain fog’. To support those with long-Covid, MetLife has launched the long-Covid pathway to help employees manage their symptoms and begin the process of returning to work after a period of the illness. In addition to the support provided across the three pathways, the long-Covid pathway provides access to functional assessment resources and wellbeing partners for businesses to lean on whenever they may need to.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries are also a key concern for businesses, particularly with many working from temporary set ups at home during the pandemic. A serious MSK injury can leave employees unable to work for many weeks or even months at a time. 480,000 employees suffered from work-related musculoskeletal disorders in 2020. MetLife has launched a new MSK pathway, available to group income protection clients that offers support from early intervention to the reporting of symptoms right through to rehabilitation.

The topic of mental health has been a poignant one in the past 18 months. Business leaders have a greater awareness that that employees may be struggling, so are beginning to prioritise mental health for their businesses moving forward, whether employees are struggling to balance work and familial responsibilities, experiencing feelings of isolation or suffering with financial insecurity. The mental health pathway can provide employees with the support they need at the right time to help manage illness, gain access to treatment and safely begin the process of returning to work. The pathway will also provide employees with links to local support networks so they can access the help they need at a time and place that is most convenient to them.

Adrian Matthews, EB director at MetLife, commented: “The world has evolved in the last 18 months, so it’s only right that employee benefits do too. Now more than ever there’s a focus on mental health, MSK and long-Covid, which is why it was a priority for us to launch our new clinical pathways to support those who need it.

“Our health is rightly one of our biggest priorities. If you’re struggling following an accident or illness, you may be left unable to work which could impact both your overall wellbeing and financial position, but also the business output for your employer. Employers have a key role to play in providing employees with access to early intervention and preventative support services as well as support with any hospital and rehabilitation treatment to aid their return to work in a way that is empathetic and helps all parties to be clear on the way forward together.

“Our previous research found that more than a third (34%) admit that they’ve had to take four weeks or more off work due to having an accident, falling sick or to care for a loved one. Aa significant period of leave like this can be detrimental to employees’ financial and mental wellbeing and can make the return to work feel even harder. Through providing access to services of this kind, employers can be safe in the knowledge that they are doing all they can to look out for their employees’ mental and physical health, even at times when they can’t look out for themselves.”

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