While the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are not yet fully understood, we do know the events of the last 18 months will leave a lasting impression on our health and wellbeing.

This goes beyond the direct health implications for those who contract the virus and extends to the mental and broader health impacts of measures that have been put in place to protect us from spreading COVID-19.

Our recent MetLife Value of Life Insurance report explores the important role the life insurance industry plays in holistic health, from providing wellbeing support, to rehabilitation programs and education tools.

In the years to come there will arguably be an even greater role for the industry to play in providing more holistic wellbeing and mental health solutions in response to changing customer needs brought on by the pandemic.

In an immediate response, MetLife has launched a ‘It’s ok to see Your GP’ campaign to encourage people to visit their general practitioner to manage existing conditions and for regular check-ups during the pandemic.

The campaign is targeting three key reasons for Australians to connect regularly with GPs to help minimise long-term health concerns arising from the pandemic:

  1. Life after COVID — there is emerging evidence of the long-term impacts of contracting COVID-19. This includes damage to key organs, particularly to the heart muscles, lung function abnormalities, acute kidney injury and neurological impacts.
  2. Mental health impacts of lockdowns — extended lockdowns, and the financial repercussions of these measures, have had a significant impact on mental health. Roy Morgan research showed 40.5% of Australians reported suffering from a mental health condition during the nation-wide lockdown in the June quarter of 2020, an increase of around 800,000 from the March quarter. Suicide rates have not changed based on the latest figures, however, may also increase when Government financial support ceases and the real economic impact is felt.
  3. Unrelated and underdiagnosed conditions — with the current restrictions and reduction in elective surgery, there is an underdiagnosis of serious conditions, predominantly cancer (up to 40% below expected levels). Recent research indicated that a three-month delay in diagnosis can have a significant impact on the prognosis of breast, colon and skin cancer. These cancers are also considered the most “treatable” if diagnosed early. Other conditions emerging as significant risks are heart disease, diabetes and early signs of stroke.

Regular check-ups, early diagnosis and support can help to reduce the long-term health and wellbeing impacts of COVID-19.

In addition to the ‘See Your GP’ campaign, MetLife has also launched an award-winning health and wellbeing offer for customers called 360Health. The offering focuses on health literacy aimed at prevention and detection (pre-claim) as well as return to health (for those on claim).

MetLife will continue to find ways to support customers on their health journey to embed the value of insurance. Insurers who anticipate future needs and move quickly to meet them will deliver the most value to their customers.

Find out more about MetLife 360Health.