Bupa delivers more for customers in health insurance reforms
Health insurer Bupa today announced they will provide their four million customers with coverage above the minimum requirements when they introduce the Australian Government’s Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic cover categories from 1 July this year.
Bupa will offer Gold, Silver Plus, Bronze Plus and Basic Plus, with items added to policies. It is expected this will deliver an additional $10 million in annual benefits paid to customers.
Dr Dwayne Crombie, Managing Director of Bupa Health Insurance, said where possible Bupa had sought to add value to policies and provide customers with higher cover, rather than remove items to meet the minimum criteria.
“The majority of Bupa customers will be better off or see no changes to their existing product because of the introduction of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic. People on top cover will now be on Gold cover with no changes to their hospital benefits,” Dr Crombie said.
“For those on Silver, Bronze or Basic cover, Bupa will be providing ‘Plus’ cover, where benefits are higher than the minimum requirements. This means we will be offering Silver plus, Bronze plus and Basic plus.
Overall we have looked to add in extra value and offer a better product in a number of areas rather than remove items and simply meet the minimum requirements.
“Where we have removed items, most often in our budget products, we’ve tried to align that to the needs of customers. An example of this is joint replacements; some of our policies currently cover replacements for shoulder and ankle joints but not hip or knee. Under the new guidelines insurers have to cover all joint replacements or none at all.
“We know that many of our customers on Budget cover have limited use for hip and knee replacements so rather than add additional cost to their policy, we have chosen to remove shoulder and ankle procedures to maintain an affordable level of cover,” Dr Crombie said.
Like all health insurers, Bupa will also no longer be able to provide cover for some natural therapies as part of government reforms. Bupa will inform customers of how the changes will impact them as part of the annual rate review letter received from mid-February through to March.
“We’ll make it very clear to our customers where they have items removed. The aim of these reforms is to make health insurance clearer and easier to understand; we’re committed to delivering these changes in that spirit.
“Bupa is proud of maintaining meaningful value in our products for our customers. Having more in our health insurance policies is what differentiates us from our competitors,” Dr Crombie said.