The life insurer will extend its Best Doctors offering to allow customers access to a mental health service designed to provide a second medical opinion for diagnosis and treatment plans.
The new service, Mental Health Navigator, will connect customers with a mental health nurse who serves as a consistent point of contact. After the collection of medical records, customers will undergo a video consultation with a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist if required, with a report containing diagnosis and treatment plans then generated. The customer will then work with their mental health nurse to roll out the treatment plan.
MLC Life said mental health claims accounted for about 9% of its new retail claim notifications, and over 20% of ongoing claims management.
Additionally, the insurer said new research it commissioned shows one-third of Australians with a mental health condition felt frustrated when trying to navigate the mental healthcare system.
MLC Life chief customer officer Melissa Heyhoe said the insurer want to ensure customers get the right assistance with their health and wellbeing.
"While we're here to protect our customers financially, we also have an opportunity to support their health and wellbeing and give them confidence they are on the right path to improve their mental health. Mental Health Navigator is a confidential, specialist mental health service that advisers can offer to customers and their families at no cost, and they don't need to make an insurance claim to use it," she said.
Mental Health Navigator advisory board member Professor Bernhard Baune said the service would add a support layer to Australia's existing healthcare system.
Professor Baune - who also serves as University of Adelaide chair of psychiatry - added the service brought together a multi-disciplinary team of specialists to support individuals and their treating clinicians.