Bupa (British United Provident Association) was established in the UK in 1947 and has gone on to become one of the world’s leading international healthcare groups. Their group medical insurance in Hong Kong leads with four main plans:
- Tailor Made Group Medical Policies – For groups of 20+, flexible plans designed to fit around your needs and budget.
- Enterprise HealthNet – Full cover for hospital and clinical expenses with a Bupa card and access to a wide-ranging network.
- Bupa Choice Plus – This is the budget friendly offering from Bupa and will have low levels of cover for a low premium.
- Corporate HealthNet Plus – Comprehensive medical cover with access to a wide-ranging network, free dental and portable and lifetime cover guaranteed.
BUPA is a private limited firm by guarantee with no shareholders, thus it can reinvest profit back into the business.
BUPA invests its profits to fulfill its purpose, which is for us to live : longer, healthier, and happier lives.
BUPA employs more than 62,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, New Zealand and the USA, as well as Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, China and across Latin America.
As a Group, BUPA is in the business of providing:
- personal and company-financed health insurance and medical subscription products,
- workplace health services, home healthcare, health assessments and chronic disease management services.
- nursing and residential care for elderly people.
"BUPA Asia" was set up in Hong Kong in 1976 and has since become leading provider of medical insurance in the local market, with around 20% of the local accident and heatlh market. In Hong Kong, Bupa has more than 350,000 members and 2,800 corporate clients.
Many of our clients are start up firms which choose the Corporate Healthnet Plus plan for 5+ staff.
Corporate healthnet Plus provides access to an extensive network (including Quality HealthCare)
* The Quality HealthCare network comprises more than 100 multi-specialty centres and around 5,000 affiliated clinics.
Qualityhealthcare clinics offer:
- Western medicine
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Diagnostics and imaging
- Physiotherapy and other healthcare services
BUPA Asia is on the 'preferred supplier' list for HK Government Civil Servants.
- Health insurance – on a budget
- Bupa CarePro
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NOTE: After age 65 BUPA CarePro reduces your benefit when you are most likely to need cover and escalates the premium charged at the same time:
Maximum Limit /policy year
Below age 65
Above age 65
- Bupa Together
Bupa Together provides Ward level hospital benefits to families which enrol together. The maximum claim amount in any one year is HKD1m. There is the option add outpatient / clinic benefits etc. Bupa also provides No Claim Discounts of up to 15% after 6 years.
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Child health insurance
- Bupa Care Kid
This plan covers children (and optionally parents) from 15 days to age 18 when conversion to BUPA CarePro is guaranteed. Essential cover is Hospital only and there are options to add outpatient/clinic cover using Bupa's Qualityhealthcare network. There are optoins for Private, Semi-Private and Ward cover.
NOTE: CarePro benefits are REDUCED at age 65
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- Bupa Hospital Cash
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- Bupa Civil Servants
- Health insurance - better cover on a higher budget
- Bupa Crystal
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- Bupa Gold
For those of our clients looking for high end health care, this product is not preferred on account of the fact it has many limitations, designed it seems, to try and discipline doctors. The most significant limitation is the cap on restiction on Intensive Care treatment of only HKD69,000 per confinement. We know of cases in Hong Kong where the Intensive care treatment bill has been more than HKD69,000 per day for some months.
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- Critical illness insurance
- Bupa Critical Essential Care
Corporate Healthnet Plus
Bupa's Corporate Healthnet Plus plan is community rated, meaning the group is not penalized for any adverse claim record. All Healthnet company groups enjoy a price rise that reflects the claim experience of all Corporate Healthnet customers. Other products in the market are often cheaper initially, but then if one of our staff suffers some major set back in their health, renewal premiums can increase dramatically. We once had a client company where one of their staff suffered from breast cancer and the costs in the year 2004 were around HKD1.5m for the year. Our client's premium at renewal jumped to around HKD3m from HKD1m the year before.
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This plan serves as a top up to existing medical cover you may well have. You can apply for Bupa Wise Choice if :
- you are: aged 15 days to 59 years
- currently insured as an employee or dependant under a company medical insurance scheme covering hospital and surgical expenses
- normally residing in Hong Kong
Each of your family members has to submit a separate application.
Please note that each member can only enrol in one Bupa individual health insurance scheme (unless enrolling in Bupa Together or Bupa Hospital Cash). RENEWAL AND CONVERSION
Renewal of Bupa Wise Choice is guaranteed until you turn 60, regardless of whether you are still covered by a company health insurance scheme.
At each annual renewal of Bupa Wise Choice, you can choose to convert your membership to the Hospital and Surgical Benefit of Bupa CarePro at the same or lower benefit level without any underwriting. Be warned however, premiums for CarePro escalate and benefits reduce significantly once you turn 65. See Table above.
Packaged Tailor Made Solutions
BUPA provides tailor made group plan, often in an attempt to match of better competitors
For as long as the group's claim ratio is acceptable, annual price increases will be in line with medical inflation (typically +8-12% in HK), but if your group suffers inordinate claims, especially in outpatient claims, you will find premiums could escalate by many times that of the previous year's premiums.
For example we had one group paying c.HKD1m in premium who had a staff incur breast cancer costs in excess of HKD1.5m in one year. The renewal premium was c. HKD3m!
Changes to note for coming year, see news heading of - New Change to Individual Product Wording for Copenhagen Indi products
The name "BUPA Global" was the trading name launched by BUPA in July 2014 to bring together a globally consistent brand for its two international operations of BUPA International and ihi BUPA. "Bupa Global" is the trading name of Bupa Insurance Ltd and BUPA Insurance Services Ltd, which are companies registered in the UK and which market the Bupa Global products through Bupa Asia Ltd.
Bupa Global has a current customer base of approximately 800,000 people in more than 190 countries, served by around 1700 staff.
On Tuesday 20 January 2015, BUPA Global launched in Hong Kong its new international individual medical products, heralding what it says is the next chapter in the provision of lifetime medical cover.
The new plans also feature Obesity and Prophylactic Surgery benefits, which are virtually unknown in the insurance world. Prophylactic Surgery is potentially covered. For example, if you had a family history of breast cancer... you could have a double mastectomy, to reduce your risk of cancer.
As a marked departure from the IHI products, BUPA's new range of Global products DO NOT offer cover to Americans who resettle in the US.
Brochures and policy documents have been produced in both English and Traditional Chinese and premiums can now be paid in either HKD or USD.
Along with the launch of its new product range in February 2015, BUPA in Hong Kong announced that its legacy individual products, ie:
- Lifeline ~ Bupa International
- Worldwide Health Options (BWHO) ~ Bupa International
- International Health and Hospital plan (IHHP) ~ ihi Bupa
- International Swiss Medical Plan (ISM) ~ ihi Bupa
- Worldwide Health insurance ~ ihi Bupa
- Superior~ ihi Bupa
were to be withdrawn from sale in Hong Kong from 5pm on 31/3/2015.
Due to protests by intermediaries, Bupa reconsidered its position and allowed some brokers, such as Navigator, to continue selling the IHHP plan.
Our concern for those on the old Bupa International and BUPA IHI danmark plans, is that when BUPA does finally stop the sale of these products, the claim experience will worsen and hence premiums will inevitably escalate.
At this stage, customers already on the above individual products can remain on the plans and make amendments, such as adding a dependent or changing their cover, at renewal.
At the launch of the new BUPA Global products, BUPA explained it had refined its segmentation in order to offer propositions that addressed new segments such as travellers, retirees, students and so on and not just international professionals.
BUPA's research was based on feedback from 3,000 consumers that people also wanted to feel the insurer had some interest in their long term health, so medical check ups had to be a part of the new plans.
The same research additionally indicated that people wanted simple, yet comprehensive cover.
The new BUPA Global plans have no options in terms of whether to include dental or evacuation cover, for example.
Do note that Bupa Global currently has no product in its range that meets the requirements in Germany or Switzerland... though existing members may retain their Bupa cover.
If you would like further information on these plans please click the links below to view the plan documents that interest you:
Bupa Global Brochures
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Bupa Global Application Forms
- a throat infection,
- urinary tract infection or
- acute injuries,
BUPA access to Blue Cross/Blue Shield networks in the US
One of the reasons BUPA Global is confident to make this offer, is because in early 2014 BUPA bought a 49% stake in the GeoBlue International health operation that was owned by Highway to Health, Inc. (HTH) and promoted by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association as the Global health solution for Americans and others living abroad.
BUPA Global policies are now issued with two cards. One is the Bupa card and the other is a Blue Cross Blue Shield GeoBlue card which they use in the US for direct billing through the provider and hospital network.
The Blue Cross card has a number on the back for resolving any local US claim issues. Customers can also visit www.bupaglobalaccess.com to find a full database of treatment providers.
In the US customers will have access to a network of over 65,000 pharmacies where they may purchase their prescribed medications at a discounted price.
If in the US and you do present your GeoBlue Card when visiting a doctor/hospital, the medical provider (clinic/hospital) will then contact GeoBlue Team in Miami to confirm the coverage and arrange direct settlement whenever it is possible.
Please note you may be required to pay any deductible / co-insurance directly to medical provider.
For any questions/issues related to Blue Cross network access in the US
US Customer Service : +1 844-369-3799 (Toll-free) (9pm to 9am HK Time due to TimeZone difference)
Email : email@example.com
Apart from direct settlement service, this card (pictured below) also enables our customers to purchase prescribed medications at a discounted price in over 55,000 pharmacies
Note 'Member ID' will be different for each insured person. For example, if there's a family of 4 insured persons under one IHHP/ISM policy, each family member will receive his/her own 'Member ID'.
Breaking News of Bupa: no longer provides cover to returning Americans for new business issued under the international health and hospital plan
Please note changes will occur from January the 1st, 2016
What is happening?
Please note that a wording change has been made to all of those individual IPMI products listed below.
This wording change is effective under all ‘new sales’ of those products from 1 January 2016.
This wording is stated as not applying to renewals of products originally commencing prior to 1 January 2016 (it is recognised that it would not be appropriate for us to seek to change the terms of products originally sold without this new positioning).
The new wording is set out below, for reference.
Effect of this change:
The effect of this wording change is to confirm that the product may be terminated, or that it may not be possible to renew the product, where the customer changes country of residency and/or nationality and we are prohibited by applicable laws or regulations from continuing to provide / renew the cover to the customer in that new country.
This change does not remove the assurance that renewal will not be refused based on claims experience or medical conditions. However, the change does provide that the continuation / renewal of the cover will be subject to our being permitted (under applicable laws and regulations) to continue to provide / renew the product should the customer change residency and/or nationality.
Specific reference has been made to the US and Puerto Rico, as we are aware we cannot continue to provide / renew insurance cover should the customer become a permanent resident of either of those territories.
Reason for this change:
This change has been made to ensure that, should the customer change country of residency and/or nationality following their purchase of the product, we are able to comply with any applicable laws and regulations of which prohibit us from continuing to provide / renew the insurance cover in that new country of residency or nationality.
The policyholder is required to immediately notify the Company in writing if any of the insured become a permanent resident of the USA, failing which the Company may terminate the insurance with immediate effect or (where permitted to continue the insurance until such date) with effect from the policy anniversary.
The Company may terminate the insurance with immediate effect or (where permitted to continue the insurance until such date) with effect from the policy anniversary, if the law of the country in which the insured is located, or the insured's country of residence or nationality, or any other law which applies to the Company or this insurance, prohibits the provision of healthcare cover by the Company to local nationals, residents or citizens.
Without limitation to the foregoing, the insurance shall not be renewed at the next policy anniversary if the policyholder becomes a permanent resident of the USA, and, if an insured who is not the policyholder becomes a resident of the USA, their cover under the insurance shall not be renewed at the next policy anniversary. ‘Permanent resident’ shall mean a person residing in the USA who is a citizen of or who is permitted under applicable laws to live and work, on a permanent basis, in the USA, and ‘USA’ shall include the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for this purpose.
This [Article] only applies to insurances with a commencement date after 31 December 2015.
International Health and Hospital Plan (Bupa Insurance Limited version)
International Health and Hospital Plan (Bupa Asia version)
International Swiss Medical (ASN and ASN Sanitas version)
International Swiss Medical (Bupa Insurance Limited version)
International Swiss Medical (Bupa Asia version)
Worldwide Health Insurance (Gr. 3/7/8) (Bupa Insurance Limited version)
Worldwide Health Insurance (Bupa Asia version) Superior (Bupa Insurance Limited version) Superior (Bupa Asia version)
International Top Up Plan (Bupa Insurance Limited version)
International Top Up Plan (Bupa Asia version) Sundhedsforsikring for Danskere I Tyskland (in English: ‘Danes in Germany’) (bespoke-like product only in Danish) Tandpleje-, Brilleglas- og Kontaktlinseforsikring (in English: ‘Dental Insurance’ ) (bespoke-like product only in Danish) Sundhedsforsikring for ansatte ved EU (in English: ‘Employees at the EU’) (bespoke-like product only in Danish) Sundhedsforsikringen for udstationerede ved UM og Forsvaret (in English: ‘Employees at the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ ) (bespoke-like product only in Danish)