The British United Provident Association, or BUPA, is one of the world’s largest health insurance providers. Established in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1947, BUPA has grown to become a company valued at US$12 billion, based in three continents, with over 10 million customers worldwide.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) branch of BUPA was opened in 1976 and, as of 2011, counts more than 230,000 individual members, and over 2,000 companies, as loyal customers. These customers have several BUPA Hong Kong policies to choose from and can enjoy a treatment options with over 2,400 private doctors and other medical professionals, making it the largest private medical network in Hong Kong. As the leading private medical care provider in Hong Kong, BUPA received more than 37,000 hospital claims and 1,100,000 clinical claims in 2010, paying a total of HK$ 739 million (US$ 94.7 million). Additionally, during 2010 BUPA announced that its income of in-force business (insurance policies that are paid-up or are being paid) rose by 16 percent to HK$ 965million (US$ 123 million) and its total number of customers grew by 12 percent to 220,000 policyholders. Despite these large numbers, BUPA strives to resolve claims within five days of reception, boasting a 90 percent success rate.
Worldwide, BUPA announced that their total revenue for 2010 was approximately HK$ 92 billion (US$ 11.7 billion), which reflected an increase of nearly 9 percent from the previous year. As a provident association, all of the profits are reinvested back into the company to improve the organization’s healthcare services, which, worldwide, has expanded from health insurance to various health and community products and services, from hospitals and elderly care centers, to research on chronic disease management.
The number of BUPA customers continues to grow from present levels, with nearly half a million joining in 2010 worldwide. Customers of BUPA range from single individuals to large corporations. In the UK, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is one of its first and most long running customers, having joined in 1950. In Hong Kong, BUPA has, for the past 15 years, been the Hong Kong Government’s recommended health insurance provider to their 18,500 civil servants, despite the SAR having one of the best public healthcare systems in the world.
Hong Kong is by and large a mixed economy, meaning that it is host to both public and private industry. This is also true with regards to their medical care, having three government departments dedicated to public health:
- The Food and Health Bureau – is responsible for forming policies and allocating resources for the running of Hong Kong’s health services. It also ensures these policies are carried out effectively to protect and promote public health, provide lifelong holistic health care to every citizen of Hong Kong and ensure that no one is denied adequate medical treatment due to lack of means.
- The Department of Health (DH) - is the Government’s health adviser and agency to execute healthcare policies and statutory functions. It safeguards the community’s health through a range of promotional, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. The DH provides subsidized healthcare services through its centres and health clinics to citizens of Hong Kong.
- The Hospital Authority (HA) - is a statutory body providing public hospitals and related services to the citizens of Hong Kong. It offers medical treatment and rehabilitation services to patients through hospitals, day hospitals, specialist clinics, general out-patient clinics, Chinese Medicine service and community outreach services that are organized into seven clusters which together serve the whole of Hong Kong.
Every person who was born, or is making a living in Hong Kong, is required to register with the Hong Kong Government. Upon registration they receive a Hong Kong Identity Card, which, among other things, entitles them to receive subsidized healthcare at one of Hong Kong’s 41 public hospitals, 48 Specialist Out-patient Clinics, and 74 General Out-patient Clinics. Even with this subsidy most major international and domestic corporations are encouraged to provide private healthcare coverage to their employees to ensure that the system is not strained. Many local citizens also hold private health insurance, which enables to them to receive care at any of Hong Kong’s 12 premier private hospitals.
These private hospitals and medical clinics are still under the regulations of the Department of Health (DH) which ensures that they comply with all Hong Kong regulations. The DH regularly conducts inspections of these hospitals and clinics, and will also handle and investigate any medical incidents and complaints lodged by the general public against these institutions.
Medical professional flock to Hong Kong from all over the globe and very often come from some of the top medical schools in the USA, UK and Europe. All licensed medical practitioners practicing in Hong Kong must register with the Medical Council of Hong Kong (MCHK). The MCHK is a statutory body responsible for registration and professional discipline of medical practitioners in order to maintain professional standards for protection of the general public.
These regulations and the high caliber medical professionals allowed Hong Kong to become one of the top ranked health care systems in the world. As well as having highly efficient general medical care, Hong Kong is also home to several very active medical research programs at many of the public and private universities and hospitals. This has led to the pioneering of several medical breakthroughs, including the world's first successful adult-to-adult right liver living donor liver transplant in the 1990’s.
Hong Kong citizens generally enjoy a long life expectancy, which is on average 82.04 years, nearly 86 year for females and 80 years for men, making its longevity ranked 8th in the world. This impressive statistic moved BUPA to offer its members lifelong guaranteed renewal of individual health insurance, ensuring that their members are covered in their old age, the first insurer in Hong Kong to do so.
BUPA’s continues to identify factors that may lead to the decline of the average ago of Hong Kong citizens. Its worldwide resources allow it to conduct several international surveys to identify health and social concerns across the globe. In a recent study, BUPA identified that the fast-paced lifestyle in Hong Kong has led to its citizens to participate in very little exercise, and as a result, suffer from long-term health effects such as chronic illnesses. After announcing their findings, the information was passed along to the Hong Kong Government and the media, as well as BUPA members, in the hope of trying to alleviate the problem.
While Hong Kong does enjoy a relatively low mortality rate, its climate and high population density do allow for the spread of communicable and non-communicable diseases including Avian Flu, Malaria and Dengue Fever. As identified in its recent study, Hong Kong’s low exercise rate and increasingly poor diet have led to increased levels of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Hong Kong has also been host to two major pandemics since 1900, the Hong Kong Flu in 1968, and Severe Acute Repertory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003. Despite this, the overall Hong Kong health rating remains high. Having experienced such pandemics in the past has given the Hong Kong Government a sound knowledge on how to handle such incidents should another one occur. This was seen in 2009 when a passenger who arrived into Hong Kong and later developed Swine Flu, the hotel in which they stayed was quarantined for over a week, keeping the 300 guests inside. Although strict, these measures are believed to have stopped the very contagious disease from gaining a foothold in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is committed to the health of its citizens, and BUPA has long been a partner is helping to advance the overall health of people in Hong Kong. This continued dedication and long term commitment to the health of Hong Kong citizens have given BUPA an overall positive reputation amongst the Hong Kong public, not just its members. BUPA often hosts public outreach programs throughout the course of a year to address growing medical concerns in Hong Kong. In mid- 2011 they hosted a charity walking event, which had more than 800 participants walk to increase the level of awareness by the Hong Kong general public in personal health. That event also raised more HK$235,000 for local children suffering from heart disease. BUPA is also a constant participator in events hosted by non-profit organizations and the Hong Kong Government.
Hosting social awareness campaigns is in line with BUPA’s motto - 'feel better' - which highlights the values the company places in promoting good health through a wide range of its products and services. The company’s mission statement 'taking care of the lives in our hands' reflects the company's business values to be a caring, respectful, ethical, enabling, and accountable corporation. This is seen in their focus for first-class health support and ease of access, including providing helplines and online services, staffed by medically trained consultants.
These programs and policies have given BUPA the reputation of being one of the most liked insurers in Hong Kong. A survey done by an independent surveying group in 2010 found that 72 percent of BUPA members, who had a service experience with BUPA over that year, were “satisfied to very satisfied” with their services - up 11 percent from the previous year. That same survey found that BUPA outperformed six other major insurers with the total coverage it provides to its members.
As a fast paced international city, Hong Kong is home to some of the most innovative and successful corporations and individuals from all across the globe, it is because of this that BUPA keeps Hong Kong as one of its prime locations for delivering its first-class service.
For more information about BUPA Hong Kong, or to receive a free Hong Kong health insurance quote, please fill in the short form at the top of this page. Alternatively, you may contact one of our expert advisors to receive a additional information.