Bupa Fundamental Health Insurance [Review]

Who Are Bupa?

In 1947, seventeen British provident associations joined together to form Bupa. Originally known as the British United Provident Association, Bupa’s aim was to provide healthcare for the general public.

Today it is the UK’s largest provider of Private Medical Insurance by number of policyholders.

Bupa is a private company limited by guarantee. With no shareholders, it therefore reinvests its profits back into the company to further support its members.

Private Medical Insurance Reviews

Bupa Private Health Insurance has more than 7,000 reviews on independent reviews website Trustpilot, rating it as excellent with 4.4 stars out of 5.

Bupa Fundamental Health Insurance

Bupa launched its Fundamental Private Medical Insurance policy in 2015 as an entry-level plan. It offers lower cost access to Health Insurance.

Bupa’s core private medical insurance product is called Bupa By You, you can read our review here.

Policy Overview

Bupa Fundamental pays mostly for private inpatient care only. As Bupa’s Low Cost Health Insurance plan, it pays for very little in the way of outpatient treatment. You therefore use the NHS for outpatient diagnostic tests and scans etc.

Read more about the difference between inpatient and outpatient cover here.

Key Policy Benefits

  • 24 / 7 remote GP access
    Babylon Digital GP aims to offer you a video GP appointment within 2 hours of requesting one
  • Breakthrough cancer drugs and therapies
    Access to cutting-edge cancer drugs and treatments, even when they’re not approved for NHS use due to cost
  • Direct Access fast track service
    For cancer, mental health and musculoskeletal symptoms, you can call Bupa directly for advice and treatment, usually without a GP referral
  • Anytime HealthLine
    Offers unlimited phone calls to a team of trained nurses via a 24 / 7 helpline to assist with smaller health concerns.

Documentation

Bupa Health Insurance key facts
Bupa Health Insurance policy terms

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What Does Bupa Fundamental Cover?

Inpatient and Day-Patient Treatment

Inpatient and day-patient treatment involves all medical care requiring a hospital bed. This might be overnight (inpatient) or just for the day (day-patient). This most commonly, but not exclusively, involves surgical procedures.

Bupa Fundamental Health Insurance Coverage

Hospital treatment

Specialist / consultant fees

Tests / scans
E.g. MRIs, CT scans, PET scans, X-rays

Limited
Only tests / scans directly related to or as a followup after inpatient treatment within 6 months of discharge

Outpatient Treatment

All medical care not requiring a hospital bed. Bupa Fundamental Health Insurance limits the outpatient treatment it will pay for to keep your monthly premiums down on this entry-level plan.

A Fundamental plan therefore offers the following outpatient care:

  • Up to two outpatient consultations in a 6 month period following discharge after eligible inpatient treatment
  • Up to £350 for therapies (e.g. physiotherapy) per policy year in the 6 month period following discharge after eligible inpatient treatment.
Joe Toft, health & wellbeing expert at Drewberry

In addition to the core outpatient cover our clients get peace of mind from knowing that they can access GP appointments 24/7 with Digital GP, which now includes Covid-19 Care Assistant to help recognise Covid-19 symptoms.

Joseph Toft 
Health and Wellbeing Expert

Cancer Care

Cancer cover is one of the most valuable elements of any Private Medical Insurance policy. It pays for diagnosis and treatment of cancer, including offering access to drugs, treatments, therapies and procedures the NHS may not yet offer due to their cost.

When you take out a Bupa Fundamental Health Insurance policy, you have three cancer cover options to choose from:

  • Full cancer cover
    Pays for all eligible inpatient and outpatient treatment for cancer
  • NHS Cancer Cover Plus
    Only pays for cancer treatment if the chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgical procedure you require isn’t available on the NHS
  • No cancer cover
    Does not pay for any cancer treatment. You’ll need to use the NHS if you develop cancer.

If you add cancer care to your policy, Bupa doesn’t impose any financial or time limits on treatment. It pays for all inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy and radiotherapy in full.

As well treating cancer, Bupa’s cancer care offers:

  • Counselling after your diagnosis and during your treatment to offer psychological support
  • The chance to have chemotherapy at home rather than in a hospital setting where clinically appropriate
  • Palliative care if your cancer is incurable.

Hospital List

Your hospital list impacts which facilities you get private healthcare in and also how much your premiums will be. Some hospitals are more expensive than others, so opting for access to a wider array of private facilities increases premiums.

Bupa has three tiers of hospital lists:

  • Essential Access
  • Extended Choice
  • Extended Choice (inc. Central London).

See Bupa’s full hospital list here.

Medical Underwriting Options

When you apply for Health Insurance as an individual, you choose how you want your insurer to underwrite you.

Bupa has two medical underwriting options:

  • Full medical underwriting
    You disclose your medical history when you take out the policy
  • Moratorium underwriting
    Bupa won’t ask for any medical details until you submit a claim

These are two very different options which can impact the way your insurer decides on exclusions for any pre-existing conditions you may have. The best underwriting for you depends on your circumstances.

Read more about the difference between full medical underwriting and moratorium underwriting here.

Additional Benefits

Bupa includes these as standard with Health Insurance:

  • Parent accommodation
    If a child (aged under 16) your plan covers has eligible inpatient treatment under the policy, Bupa pays for one parent to stay with your child in the hospital
  • Private ambulance
    Bupa will pay up to £60 per journey if you need transportation in a private ambulance
  • NHS inpatient cash benefit
    If you opt to have inpatient treatment that your policy would have covered on the NHS rather than using your Health Insurance, Bupa pays £50 per night for up to 35 nights spent as an NHS inpatient
  • NHS cancer cash benefit
    If you opt for full cancer cover but choose to have cancer treatment under the NHS, Bupa pays a benefit of £100 for each day / night you receive eligible cancer treatment. For cancer treatment taken by mouth, Bupa pays the benefit for each 3 weekly interval or part thereof.

Are There Any Exclusions?

Bupa’s Health Insurance exclusions are fairly standard to those across other providers. For example, they include:

  • Take home / outpatient drugs and dressing (unless for cancer)
  • Experimental drugs clinical trials have not proven to be effective
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Health screenings, routine tests and monitoring
  • Accident and emergency admissions
  • Complementary or alternative therapies
  • Birth control
  • Fertility treatment
  • Normal pregnancy and childbirth
  • Allergies, allergic disorders or food intolerances
  • Treatment of or relating to ageing, menopause or puberty
  • Cosmetic surgery.

Do I Have to Pay Towards My Treatment?

Bupa offers the option to add an excess to your policy, which is a sum of money you agree to pay upfront towards your private medical care. The higher your excess, the lower your monthly premiums.

However, you don’t have to add an excess if you don’t want to. Bupa offers a choice of excesses:

  • £0
  • £100
  • £150
  • £200
  • £250
  • £500
  • £1,000
  • £2,000.

The £1,000 and £2,000 excesses are only available at policy renewal.

With Bupa, you pay your excess once per policy year. That means you can claim for multiple eligible conditions in a single policy year and only pay your excess once.

Read more about Health Insurance excesses here.

Key Comparison Points

No Claims Discount

Bupa has a fourteen level no claims discount system. This can offer up to 70% off premiums if you’ve made no Health Insurance claims.

6 Week NHS Wait

Unlike other providers, Bupa does not offer the 6 week NHS wait option, which can be a way of keeping costs down by only paying for private inpatient treatment if the NHS wait for that treatment exceeds 6 weeks.

Large Hospital Network

Bupa has one of the UK’s largest networks of private hospitals and clinics.

Self Pay Option

Bupa is a big name in private healthcare in its own right. This means it has access to its own range of facilities that you can choose to self-fund treatment in rather than having Health Insurance.

NHS Cancer Plus

Bupa’s NHS Cancer Plus option offers you a way to keep premiums down while still getting access to the breakthrough cancer drugs that the NHS does not offer if necessary.

This option means the NHS will manage all of your cancer care. However, if there’s a drug, treatment or procedure the NHS does not offer due to cost, Bupa will still step in to pay for this treatment.

Optional Extras

With a Bupa By You Health Insurance policy, you have the option to add additional coverage to your policy for an extra premium. This includes a cash benefit towards dental and optical care.

However, a Bupa Fundamental policy is Bupa’s entry-level plan. As such, Bupa does not provide these additional extras on a Fundamental plan. You can take out separate dental insurance with Bupa or, alternatively, consider choosing a Bupa By You policy and adding these elements.

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We all deserve a first class service when it comes to issues as important as protecting our health. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.

If you have existing cover with Bupa or are looking to set-up a new policy give us a call on 02074425880 or email help@drewberry.co.uk.

Really good service: prompt, efficient and helpful. Would definitely use Drewberry again.

Mark Bevan
11/06/2020
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