Bupa was created on the 3rd of April 1947 with the founding purpose; to prevent, relieve and cure sickness and ill-health of every kind. The Bupa ethos is to combine caring with freedom of choice.

Before the formation of the NHS in 1947 the British health system was a combination of part voluntary and part state funded health services. Within this framework provident groups existed, some from as far back as the 1920’s. The British Provident Association was one of the earliest of these groups and its main objective was to provide medical treatment for low-income individuals and industrial workers.

In 1945 local authority and voluntary hospitals were nationalised and free treatment was made available to all British residents. Although it was voluntary, private treatment was still allowed to continue. In 1946 several associations and hospital contributary schemes came together to create the British United Provident Association, or Bupa as it is known today. Bupa is a private company limited by guarantee without shareholders.

Bupa has several businesses across the world including Australia; Spain and Hong Kong, combined they serve more than 31 million customers.

Bupa has provided healthcare for more than 70 years with its purpose being to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

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Bupa health insurance review

Bupa have two products available to new customers in the UK: Bupa By You and Bupa Fundamental.

Bupa By You is a flexible policy where you can build your cover based on your specific needs and budget. It also includes a basic option called Treatment and Care where diagnosis is carried out under the NHS, but Bupa cover any required treatment.

Bupa Fundamental is in the main a fixed cover with limited specialist consultations, however this does give you the option to have a reduced premium whilst still being covered for most of the care you may need.

Bupa By You - key benefits

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Digital GP – 24/7 access to a private GP, nurses and pharmacists through Babylon, their digital GP service.

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Direct Access Service – If you are worried about cancer, mental health or muscle, bone, or joint symptoms you will have access to trained advisors, physiotherapists, and mental health practitioners. Advice can be given over the telephone without a referral from your GP.

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Anytime HealthLine – 24/7 access to a nurse or a GP for professional advice.

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Breakthrough cancer drugs and treatments – Bupa offer support at every stage of cancer and provide access to eligible breakthrough cancer drugs and treatments, often before they are available on the NHS or approved by NICE.

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Mental health cover – Bupa claim to cover more mental health conditions than any other leading UK insurer. They have created a mental health hub for everyone to use, including people not insured with Bupa.

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Family Mental HealthLine – access to a trained advisor and mental health nurse for parents, carers and guardians who are concerned about the mental health of a child. This is available for members even if the child is not covered on the policy.

Defaqto 5 star rating


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Excellent rating Over 8500 reviews

Cover award 2020

Best provider of: Health insurance and Mental health support service 2020

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First UK health insurer to be rated by CQC Rated good in all 5 areas

Bupa By You - core cover

Here is a summary of what is included in the Bupa By You policies:

Benefit Details
In-patient and day-patient treatment Bupa By You Comprehensive and Bupa By You Treatment and Care provides full cover for specialist consultations and all hospital charges, including surgeon and anaesthetist fees. Diagnostic tests including MRI, PET and CT scans are covered in full along with up to 28 days cover for in-patient or day case mental health treatment.
Out-patient treatment Bupa By You Comprehensive pays for all eligible out-patient diagnostics and treatment in full.

Bupa By You Comprehensive with limits offers different levels of out-patient cover to choose from. With a combined limit for consultations, diagnostics, and therapies you can select either £500, £750 or £1000.

MRI, PET and CT scans as an out-patient are covered in full on all Bupa By You Comprehensive plans regardless of your out-patient limit.

Bupa By You Treatment and Care only provides out-patient consultations, diagnostics, MRI, PET and CT scans when directly related to eligible in-patient or day-patient treatment and is limited to within 6 months of discharge. Therapies are paid in full under Bupa By You Treatment and Care.
Complementary therapies Osteopathy, acupuncture and chiropractic services covered up to your chosen out-patient limit.
Additional benefits All Bupa By You policies include NHS hospital cash benefit, home nursing, private ambulance and parent accommodation.
Cancer cover On all Bupa By You plans there are three options for cancer cover: full, NHS cancer cover plus, or no cover for cancer.

Full cancer cover provides diagnostics, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy along with access to all the latest cancer drugs. The cover is for every stage of a cancer journey including palliative care.

NHS cancer cover plus covers treatment for cancer only when the radiotherapy, chemotherapy or surgical operation required for your treatment is not available on the NHS.
Digital GP 24/7 access to a private GP, nurses and pharmacists through Babylon, the Bupa digital GP service. More on digital GPs.

Bupa By You - benefit options

With the Bupa By You Comprehensive and Treatment and Care plans there are further options to choose from to enhance your cover:

Dental cover Dental 10
100% reimbursement for all NHS dentist treatment including routine, preventative, emergency treatment and dental injury.

Dental 20
75% reimbursement for all NHS dentist treatment including, preventative, emergency treatment and dental injury. Routine treatment with an NHS dentist is up to £150 per year.

Bupa Fundamental

Bupa Fundamental is a reduced policy option that offers a way to have cheaper cover for medical treatment by limiting the out-patient benefits.

The cover for in-patient diagnostics and treatment is paid in full. You can choose from the three cancer cover options; full, NHS cancer cover plus, or no cancer cover. Out-patient surgery and diagnostics are covered in full, but out-patient consultations are only covered up to two per year and only when directly related to eligible in-patient or day-patient treatment. The two consultations must be within 6 months of discharge of eligible in-patient or day-patient treatment. The same conditions apply to the £350 cover for out-patient therapies.

Bupa Fundamental does not cover mental health treatment.

Bupa Guided Care

As with most leading insurers Bupa offer a ‘guided option’ called Guided Care, using an ‘open referral network’. This means that your GP would refer you to a specific type of consultant instead of naming one, you will then be offered the choice of two or three consultants selected by Bupa.

Under the Guided Care option Bupa settle all bills in full and guarantee no shortfalls for the member to pay.

Bupa pass on some of the savings in the cost of treatment and hospital charges therefore reducing the premium you will pay.

Guided options explained

Excess options

An excess is the amount you will pay towards a claim, the higher the excess you choose the lower the premium will be. Bupa offer the following excess options:

£0, £100, £150, £200, £250, £500, £1000, and £2000.

The excess is only paid once per year if you claim and not per claim, so multiple claims can be made without paying the excess again. Excesses can only be changed at renewal and subject to ongoing claims status at that time.

Underwriting options

As with most health insurers Bupa have three options you can choose from for how your policy is underwritten:

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Moratorium underwriting

You do not need to disclose your medical history; a moratorium period of two years is in place for any condition for which you have experienced symptoms or received treatment for in the last five years.

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Continued medical exclusions

You will need to answer a few questions regarding your medical history in the last five years and some questions on specific health conditions. The underwriting will transfer from your previous insurer rather than being re-underwritten. This option is only available to those with an existing health insurance policy with another insurer.

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Full medical underwriting

You will disclose your full medical history which is submitted to Bupa who will then apply underwriting terms accordingly.

You can read more in our guides section on underwriting. Our expert advisors can use their knowledge to assist you in choosing the right underwriting, considering your medical history and future medical needs.

Underwriting explained

What is not covered

As with most leading health insurers, Bupa policies are for cover for acute conditions and flare ups of chronic conditions. Chronic, conditions in terms of ongoing monitoring and maintenance are not covered by health insurance policies. Read more on chronic conditions here.

Private medical insurance does not cover accident and emergency situations or rehabilitation and convalescence. Most leading health insurers do not cover treatment overseas. Self-inflicted injury and professional sports related injuries are also not covered on a health insurance policy.

With regards to treatment of medical conditions you have had, or had symptoms of, before you join Bupa, these will be excluded unless you have switched from another plan and have underwriting for continued medical exclusions.

In many cases pre-existing conditions can be covered, dependent on the status of the condition at the time of joining, and the time that has passed since you last received treatment or experienced symptoms. This is something our expert advisors can assist you with when selecting the best policy and underwriting for you.

Bupa do apply some general exclusions and limitations as below:

  • Chronic conditions
  • Cosmetic treatment
  • Addictions and substance misuse
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Infertility
  • Learning difficulties and developmental problems
  • Gender re-assignment
  • Advanced therapies and specialist drugs
  • Sleep problems and disorders
  • Screening, monitoring and preventative treatment

Member rewards

As with most leading health insurers Bupa offer member rewards through their Bupa Everyday rewards scheme. The benefits include discounted gym membership and lifestyle products, a 10% discount on Bupa health screenings, along with discounts on newspaper subscriptions and theatre tickets.

We offer the most competitive prices available from insurers, you will not get a cheaper price for health insurance elsewhere.

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Summary of Bupa’s policies

Bupa offer good flexibility in their Bupa By You health insurance product, with a fixed offering in their more basic Bupa Fundamental policy.

The Bupa core offering is substantial, with comprehensive cancer cover as standard and several pathways for access to telephone appointments, advice, and onward referral. Bupa also include out-patient mental health therapies under their core cover. There are three levels of hospital access to choose from which offers the ability to reduce premiums should you want to.

The Bupa By You policy has several options for reducing cover, and therefore premiums, with combined limits for out-patient consultations and diagnostics if you prefer not to pay for full out-patient cover. The policy also includes a basic option called Treatment and Care, which will further reduce health insurance premiums. This is where diagnosis is carried out under the NHS, but Bupa cover any required treatment.

Bupa Fundamental covers all diagnostics tests as standard however out-patient consultations are limited to two per year, and only following and within 6 months of eligible in-patient or day patient treatment. Although it is a more basic policy it is a good option for those wanting to have cheaper private medical insurance.

Bupa’s cancer cover is very comprehensive with access to breakthrough drugs and treatment not available on the NHS and includes bone marrow and stem cell transplants. Should you be diagnosed with cancer, Bupa provide access to a specialist oncology nurse. The oncology team consists of over 40 trained advisors and experienced oncology nurses.

Bupa also offer an NHS cancer cover plus option, this covers you for treatment for cancer only when the radiotherapy, chemotherapy or surgical operation required for your treatment is not available on the NHS. This is a good option for those who prefer to have NHS cancer treatment and keep their health insurance premiums lower.

Bupa are leading the way in post COVID-19 mental health support and claim to cover more mental health conditions than any other leading UK insurer. They have created a mental health hub for everyone to use, including people not insured with Bupa.

Bupa do not offer no claims discount protection.

Bupa - hospital list

Bupa has one hospital list across all their health insurance policies with the following options you can choose from: Essential Access, Extended Choice and Extended Choice with central London.

Click on the link below to see the Bupa hospital list in detail.

Bupa hospital list

Bupa - policy documents

Click on the links below for the full policy terms and conditions and brochure for each of the Bupa health insurance products.

Bupa Fundamental brochure Bupa Fundamental membership guide Bupa By You brochure Bupa By You terms

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In most cases we will save you money on your health insurance if you already have cover in place.

Morehealth offers a personal and friendly service, we can discuss your needs over the telephone, and you will always have access to a qualified advisor when you call us.

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