Bupa is once again at the forefront of innovation in the IPMI market with its new product, "Bupa Flex", released earlier this month. Bupa Flex is a new plan that provides the same benefits of a long term international medical plan but for a flexible, short-term period of 3-11 months. This short-term plan is something unique in the insurance market, utilizing the best aspects of both a travel plan and a traditional health plan.
Best of Both Worlds
A traditional long-term international health plan covers your medical needs while abroad according to your one year policy. A travel plan on the other hand covers you when you're in another country for a short period of time. If the treatment needed is an emergency, then the travel plan will cover you where you are. However, if there is no immediate need for the treatment to be done, the travel plan is more likely to send you back to your home country for treatment. The travel plan may only cover the cost of sending you back home, not the cost of the treatment itself. With the new Bupa Flex plan, clients can receive full treatment at any local facility, whether the treatment is an emergency or not.
Bupa explained that this new plan is suitable for professionals on international short-term work assignments and families who have relocated to another country and are seeking short term international private medical insurance. This is especially helpful if you need a specific time of cover with the option of 3 to 11 months.
For example, imagine that you are between jobs overseas and you don't want to remain without medical insurance during that period, but, at the same time, you don't want to spend a large amount on a policy for an entire year. Now, Bupa Flex gives you the option to purchase international private inpatient and outpatient coverage, in and outside your country of residency, at any hospital you wish to go to and only for the time you need it.
The Bupa Flex plan allows for cover of inpatient and day case treatment, local ambulances costs, and outpatient surgery. Clients can also choose Bupa Flex Plus to get a full range of outpatient coverage, such as consultation and family doctor's fees and accident-related dental treatment in any place in the world, except USA. The annual limits for both Bupa Flex and Bupa Flex Plus are US $1,700,000 (€1,200,000). Bupa Flex Plus also includes cover for vaccinations that would rarely be covered by a travel plan as they are preventative treatments.
Both Bupa Flex and Bupa Flex Plus include nursing care, drugs and surgical dressings, intensive care, diagnostic test and imaging, prosthetic implants and appliances, parent accommodation, 24-hours Healthline service, and evacuation and repatriation.
With the short term nature of Bupa Flex, this plan requires a complete application form for underwriting. For the same reason, coverage of pre-existing conditions is not covered. There are some other benefits, however, that are excluded on the plan such as Cancer treatment, congenital conditions, maternity and newborn care, home nursing or hospice care, psychiatric treatment, transplant service and donor organs, or dental, vision, preventative and wellness treatments, among others (note that if a client is diagnosed with Cancer, the Flex and Flex plus plans will both cover the cost of travel for the client to return to their home country to receive the necessary treatment).
Access to the Bupa Network
After the purchase, as a Bupa International member you will have access to the same network of hospitals offered to clients on Bupa'a normal annual IPMI plans such as the Worldwide Health Options and Lifeline plans. As the largest provider of international private medical insurance in the world, Bupa offers customers access to more than 200,000 medical providers worldwide and can settle bills directly with over 7,500 hospitals and clinics.
In a press releases about the launch of this product, Muriel MacCallum, Marketing Director at Bupa International said, "This new product means that our customers will still have access to the best possible care and treatment, wherever they are in the world, but with a timeframe and price that suits their needs... and unlike with travel insurance, Bupa Flex will allow customers to extend their cover at any time, down to the day, wherever they are in the world".
Managing the Premium and the Policy
For the Bupa Flex, premiums can be paid by direct debit (only for GBP payment from a UK bank account) or credit card (USD/EUR/GBP). Clients also have the opportunity to pay the full premium at once or utilize monthly payments (though the first three month's premiums must be received in one payment).
With Bupa Flex, clients can choose between no deductible and a deductible of US$1,700 (€1,250). A deductible is a way to share the costs with the insurer company and help to manage your costs. Deductibles are not available for Bupa Flex Plus.
Bupa Flex is a primarily digital product, which means you can manage the plan online in the portal "MembersWorld". After registration, a client can view documents such as the membership certificate, a temporary card, and the plan terms and conditions. The service also uses email and SMS alerts to notify members when a new document requires their attention.
This online platform allows clients to submit claims online instantly, then track and specify a preferred address for claim reimbursements. Also, clients will be able to request pre-authorization for treatments, apply for a second medical opinion at no extra cost and access the live web chat service with advisers.
Bupa International is a leading international healthcare group with over 14 million customers in more than 190 countries. With the new Bupa Flex and Bupa Flex Plus plans, this insurer is once again proving why it deserves its status as the leading provider of international private medical insurance in the world.