Bupa is a household name and synonymous with health insurance in the UK and indeed private healthcare. But are they the best provider, and what are the benefits of their policies? In this independent review of Bupa, we look at the latest customer feedback, Defaqto ratings and awards to give you a comprehensive view of the services they provide.
Bupa was founded in April 1947 with the primary purpose to 'prevent, relieve and cure sickness and ill-health of every kind. These core values are enshrined in their original constitution, combining both freedoms of choice with a caring ethos. Originally called the British United Provident Association, Bupa today is limited by guarantee without shareholders.
Today, Bupa serves more than 31 million people worldwide, with health insurance representing 72% of their revenues, 17.9 million of its customers. In addition to health insurance, Bupa runs various private healthcare services such as outpatient clinics, dental centres and aged care facilities in a select number of countries.
In addition to their consumer insurance services, Bupa also provides business health insurance policies to a growing number of companies in the UK.
If you'd like to understand how Bupa stacks up against, other leading providers, be sure to read our regularly updated guide to the best providers.
At the time of writing, Bupa has amassed some 9,911 reviews on Trustpilot with an enviable score of 4.3 out of 5. Granted, their service isn't unblemished, but with the number of customers they serve, we think the score is an excellent indicator of the quality they consistently provide.
Here is what just some of their customers have said on Trustpilot:
So good! Worth every penny to be seen by a specialist quickly. (5 stars June 2021)
Excellent service and support as always from BUPA through its Cataract Surgery Pathway Programme at a local specialist private clinic, including helpful advice and flexibility on delaying the surgery for several months due to the need to support my wife at home. (5 stars June 2021)
Bearing in mind, I had not claimed and was charged for a non-existing consultation not impressed.(1 star June 2021)
It's important to note that Bupa is responsive to their reviews and actively reaches out to customers who have had a bad experience trying and putting things right.
Bupa provides two primary levels of cover: Treatment and Care and Comprehensive, both of which can be customised to suit your requirements.
Bupa's Treatment and Care health insurance is their cheaper alternative for those who wish to be treated privately but are happy to be diagnosed by the NHS. Importantly, cancer cover is included as standard, with the option for Bupa to cover your radiotherapy, chemo, drug therapy or surgical operations if they aren't available via the NHS.
All of the following exclusions are reserved for those taking out a Comprehensive policy.
defaqto ratings are updated each year and score insurance policies from one to five stars, based on their market research and robust standards. A defaqto rating demonstrates the overall level of cover and the quality of service provided by a company. Importantly, these ratings are product based, so Bupa's Treatment and Care will have a different score from their Comprehensive product.
Bupa's Treatment and Care product scored a respectable 3-star defaqto rating for 2022, broadly comparable to other provider's products.
Bupa By You Comprehensive is their best private health insurance, designed to cover you for as many things as possible and, importantly, see that you are not only treated privately but diagnosed privately too. With long delays on NHS waiting lists for both treatment and diagnosis, having this level of cover is seen as essential by many people.
Everything that's included in a Treatment and Care policy, as detailed above, is included in Bupa's Comprehensive policy, but in addition, all of the following are covered:
Being Bupa's highest level of cover, their Comprehensive product, as you might expect, scores the top marks from defaqto in 2022, which is a testament to the level of cover and the quality of the service provided.
Depending on your policy and indeed your medical history, what's covered may vary, but Bupa do have several standard exclusions you should be aware of:
Bupa's health insurance gives you many of the benefits that any UK health insurance will, such as:
In addition to these standard benefits, Bupa also gives you:
Bupa's family cover gives you access to their market-leading policies at a 10% discount compared to buying individual policies for each member of your family. You get all of the benefits you would typically get, plus additional children's mental health support services.
Similarly to Bupa's family policy, you can opt to take out a joint policy with your partner, and Bupa will give you a 5% discount. This is pretty rare with insurers, with many not discounting joint policies.
One thing to note is that while Bupa does discount their couple's health insurance, it still may not be the most cost-effective way to buy your policies. In many cases, taking out different policies with different providers will be cheaper as you and your partner will undoubtedly have other requirements and medical histories.
Bupa can provide health insurance to small businesses (2-249 employees) and corporates (250+ employees) in the UK. With a range of options to choose from, you can give your team an excellent perk and even extend it to their family if you so wish. A big plus with Bupa's business health insurance is the comprehensive level of cover for mental health conditions, which, as shown by the table below, stands them out from the other leading providers.
Alongside Bupa's private health insurance, they have a network of private healthcare services in the UK, ranging from care homes and specialist dementia care through to health centres and retirement villages; of course, as you would expect from any leading insurer, Bupa has an extensive list of recognised consultants, and therapists, alongside a significant hospital list. To find out more about the private healthcare options provided by Bupa, please visit their website or get in touch.
0345 606 6739
Bupa Place, 102 The Quays, Salford Quays
Disclaimer: This information is general and what is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances. Please speak with a financial adviser or do your own research before making a decision.
How much your policy costs will depend on your requirements, the number of people that need cover and your medical history. However, to illustrate approximate prices, we have asked Bupa to quote for a 36-year-old male who lives in Dorset and doesn't smoke. The results are as follows:
Treatment and Care - £28.17 per month
Comprehensive - £36.76 per month
These prices are only indicative, and your cost will be different. It would be best to always speak to an independent health insurance broker to compare the market before purchasing a policy.
Depending on whether you take out Bupa Treatment and Care or Comprehensive, what is covered will differ. That being said, broadly speaking, you can expect Bupa Treatment and Care to require that you're diagnosed via the NHS before being treated privately and with Comprehensive both diagnosis and treatment taking place privately.
As with any insurance policy, there are standard exclusions that can be found in the policy terms.
With Bupa health insurance, you pay a monthly fee and then in the event you become unwell, you will be able to be seen privately rather than via the NHS. Precisely what is and isn't covered will vary from customer to customer and policy to policy.
Yes, many people see private health insurance as an essential with those who do have it, often citing the many benefits associated.
Similarly to other leading providers, there are several standard exclusions all Bupa policies will have:
Here is a link to the complete list of exclusions.
The best way to buy a Bupa policy is through a health insurance broker, as this allows you to compare all of the providers before making a decision. If you only go to a single provider, you risk missing out on a better deal or perhaps even better terms.
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*Based on 461 quotes between 01/22-01/23