Our commitment to customers through COVID-19
Statement from Emily Amos, Bupa's Managing Director of Health Insurance.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bupa has been committed to acting in the best interest of our customers and not seek to benefit from this unprecedented situation.
The extraordinary profits projected at the beginning of the pandemic have not materialised for Bupa. The pause on non-urgent elective surgery and some ancillary services lasted for six weeks as opposed to the several months that were originally projected. During this 6-week period all Bupa customers still had access to urgent dental and hospital procedures (cardiology, pregnancy, emergency dental etc…) in the private system with their choice of doctor.
Ancillary claims and surgeries are now tracking at a level consistent with 2019 and procedures such as hip and knee replacements are at levels higher than pre-COVID. We anticipate that this trend will continue well into 2021.
To support our customers’ health and financial wellbeing through the COVID-19 pandemic, Bupa has helped in a number of pragmatic ways. These include:
- A $50m hardship fund for customers suffering financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic with relief mechanisms consisting of premium waivers, premium discounts, policy suspensions and unemployment cover depending on customers individual circumstances.
- Delaying the April 1 premium increases for six months, saving customers around $134m.
- Making sure ALL customers with a hospital policy are covered for lung and chest conditions, including those arising from COVID-19 related claims, irrespective of the terms of that policy.
- Expanding cover to include claims for psychology, speech pathology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and dietetic services delivered through telehealth, while at home.
- Expanding cover to include rebates on many health aids and medical appliances purchased online to provide added flexibility at a time where many people are practising social distancing.
- Providing customers with access to Australia’s leading home fitness and nutrition program, 28 by Sam Wood, for three months at no cost.
- Access to a dedicated COVID-19 assistance and advice helpline.
Moving forward, we will continuing to monitor the impact that COVID-19 is having on our customers and the increase in claims as surgery and health services begin returning to normal levels.
Media reference number: 20/074