According to French ICMIF member Mutualité Française, all the mutual players in France are fully mobilized in the field to provide care, prevention and continuity of their activities for their members thanks to their 2,800 establishments across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are just some of the initiatives carried out by the mutualist sector according to Mutualité Française:
Mutual healthcare institutions and services on the front line
Mutual hospitals and clinics that receive coronavirus patients have reorganised their services to cope with the situation. Some have opened units dedicated to the treatment of Covid-19 patients with dozens of new beds for hospitalisation or resuscitation. Others have deployed mobile teams to provide back-up support to hospital emergency teams, and some clinics have deployed stations to provide more than 90% of their consultations remotely.
Services in institutions which care for the elderly have been rethought, for example by setting up hotlines to provide a link between residents and their families, but also to assist patients and carers through the support of psychologists.
Also, to support the nursing staff, around twenty mutualist crèches offer a childcare solution thanks to a start-up that operates outside normal reception hours.
This unusual situation caused by the pandemic has prompted players in the sector to set up new services, such as home delivery for frail people, a psychological support system for front-line staff and the accelerated manufacture of essential components for the assembly of medical ventilators.
Every day, mutuals are mobilizing and proposing appropriate responses and solutions, said Thierry Beaudet, Chairman of the Mutualité Française in a recent press release.
Supporting the most fragile
In order to protect their 35 million members, mutual insurance companies have established a common base of measures, including providing cover for work stoppages for vulnerable people, as well as the maintenance of guarantees and benefits in the event of short-term unemployment.
For very small companies and self-employed workers in difficulty, the mutuals say they will keep all contracts as collateral during the period of confinement and review requests to suspend or defer payments on a case-by-case basis.
Many mutuals have decided to go even further in terms of guarantees and solutions they propose to their members, for example by abolishing deductibles from their guarantees on the daily allowances of health professionals on sick leave or by creating mutual action funds that will make it possible to respond to the most difficult personal situations.
Many health professionals themselves may also be financially challenged in this period of lockdown and Mutualité Française said it will be ready to participate in any governmental reflection and initiative to support health professionals and establishments.
As of the end of March 2020, mutual insurers in France had mobilized more than EUR 150 million through their various initiatives.
Chaired by Thierry Beaudet, the Mutualité Française federation represents almost all mutuals in France, representing 540 diverse mutual organisations.
Mutuals are the leading financers of health expenditure after Social Security. With their 2,800 care and support services, they play a major role in providing access to care in the territories at controlled rates. They are also the leading private player in preventive healthcare, with more than 8,000 actions deployed each year in all regions.