Explaining Bupa's policy changes for those with 'Minimum Benefits'

This year Bupa has decided to follow the practice of many other large private health insurers and removed payment for what is called ‘minimum benefits’.

This information has been updated.

This change only impacts customers who have ‘minimum benefits’ as part of their policy, approximately 35 per cent of our customer base.

It does not affect any customers on higher levels of cover

Feedback from our customers has shown the value of ‘minimum benefits’ (restricted cover) included in their health cover were not clear.

To help keep premiums as low as possible, we are changing most services from 'minimum benefits’ (Restricted Cover) to exclusions and redistributing that money into a lower premium increase and additional benefits such as introducing gap free dental care on a number of common preventative dental services at selected dentists.

This change does not include services for psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care which will still be covered at the minimum benefit (Restricted Cover) level on some products.

Those who are impacted are being notified by mail or email.

If customers have been on this level of cover since before 1 March 2018, and would like to continue to be covered for any of these services, Bupa will waive their hospital waiting periods if they upgrade their cover by 1 July 2018.

Please note, changes to minimum benefits are different to Bupa's changes to the Medical Gap Scheme, those changes are explained here.

Additional comments explaining minimum benefits

The 'minimum benefit' is the lowest amount that a health insurer is required to pay for a hospital admission that is included on policy.

It is usually equivalent to the amount a public hospital would charge a private patient for a shared room, usually as an all-inclusive daily rate.

Under the previous arrangement, if a customer with a minimum benefits policy chose to be treated in a private hospital, they would have received the public hospital, shared room minimum benefits, which covers only a small component of what the cost is in a private hospital.

This has often meant that customers have been confused as to what they are covered for and are shocked to receive large out of pocket expenses.