Bupa offers customer rebates for online health aid purchases


Australia’s largest health insurer, Bupa, is offering customer rebates on many health aids and medical appliances purchased online.

The move is part of Bupa’s drive to deliver greater flexibility and convenience to its customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, customers were only able to claim benefits for health aids and appliances purchased in-person from a physical store.

Bupa has fast-tracked the initiative because of the pandemic’s drastic impact on the way customers are consulting medical professionals and purchasing devices needed to treat diagnosed medical conditions. As a result, from now until 30 September 2020, Bupa will allow claiming on non-custom-made, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) certified health aids and appliances purchased online, from a pharmacy, Bupa-recognised provider or medical device company located within Australia. Devices covered include asthma pumps, hearing aids, insulin pens and many more[1].

Bupa has also recently made customer rebates available on contact lenses and single vision glasses purchased from recognised online optical retailers.

Bupa’s Director, Healthcare Management and Innovation, Cindy Shay, said social distancing requirements have driven more people online and outside of ‘bricks-and-mortar’ retail.

“Along with enabling customers to reduce their exposure to the community, this initiative will also empower them to do their own research online, where the range and options can be larger and less expensive than in a single store or outlet.

“Online shopping also allows consumers to make purchases in the comfort of their own home at a time that is convenient to them. For our members located in regional and remote areas of Australia, providing rebates for online health aid and appliance purchases will also ensure they don’t have to travel to metropolitan areas to make these purchases in-store during this challenging time,” Ms Shay said.

Additionally, while customers previously required a written referral from a GP or specialist to validate their medical need to purchase a health aid or appliance, customers will now be able to use new or updated electronic referrals from their GPs or specialists to make claims.

“This service acts as an important link between new telehealth services which Australians are relying upon and the devices required to maintain health and wellbeing, at a time when the broader health system is focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“While we encourage consumers to do their research in order to find the prescribed health aids or appliances online at the best price, it’s important they make their purchase from a pharmacy, Bupa-recognised provider or medical device company located within Australia, and not from other resellers or online marketplaces. This will ensure they can successfully claim for their purchase and have peace of mind that the product they have purchased is safe and fit for purpose,” she said.

These new guidelines apply immediately for Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) certified product purchases up to 30 September 2020 with a potential for extension subject to review.

[1] Referral required for: Asthma pumps or nebulisers, blood glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, CPAP and BPAP machines, hearing aids, impotency pumps, INR devices, surgical (compression) stockings, TENS machines, vitrectomy equipment, wigs and hair pieces.

Media reference number: 20/053