The families of general practitioners who die in service as a result of contracting Covid-19 will receive the benefits they are entitled to, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has assured doctors.
GPs had this week raised concerns that their families would not receive such benefits after receiving correspondence from the General Medical Services superannuation plan.
Following this initial correspondence, the trust that operates the General Medical Services plan clarified that pension and death-in-services entitlements will not be impacted as a result of Covid-19.
“It is not the case that if a member dies of Covid-19 that their estate or beneficiaries will receive no benefit,” said Anthony Lundon of the General Medical Services .
“Under all circumstances the member’s retirement account is payable to the member’s beneficiaries on death in service.
“The possible reduction mentioned in the [initial letter sent to GPs] applies only to the special bonus that can be payable on death in service.
“It would need very large numbers of members to pass away as a result of Covid-19 before any possible impact to members’ benefits would be considered.”
The General Medical Services trustees believe the likelihood of such a “catastrophic” event is very low, he said.
“This view has not changed with the emergence of Covid-19.
“It is the trustees’ absolute intention to continue to pay out the special bonus in line with current practice and the trustees will only take a decision to change this in the most extreme of circumstances.”
No changes have been made to the death-in-service benefit for HSE and other public health service employees as a result of Covid-19, and pension entitlements remain unaffected, the IMO also confirmed.
More than a fifth of cases of Covid-19 so far in Ireland have been confirmed in healthcare workers.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank is expected to write to the major insurers in the coming days to outline how it expects them to deal with claims due to the pandemic.
This follows complaints from businesses that some insurers are refusing to pay out, even on policies that include business disruption causes.
A survey of 500 small to medium businesses carried out by Robert Troy, Fianna Fáil spokesman on business, found 60% will not survive an extended closure without insurance compensation.
“The common response from all respondents was that they were receiving no support from their insurance provider whatsoever.
What also became evident was they were receiving different information from their insurers as to why they were not being covered,” said Mr Troy.
Such reasoning included telling businesses that an employee must have contracted the disease on the premises or that pandemics were not covered in their policy.
“The Central Bank must step in now and issue guidance on the matter.”
- Useful information
- The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department – if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999