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Answers to your questions

The latest answers to questions regarding COVID-19 and Bupa products and services

Health insurance

Please note that there’s no private treatment available for COVID-19. When there’s a pandemic (like COVID-19) in the UK, the NHS and Public Health England coordinate all cases and manage all resources. It’s very important it’s done this way so that the Government is able to continuously monitor, assess and manage the situation. However, if your client chooses to take out a policy now, we’ve developed a wide range of health support and services for them to access from home, reflecting the new reality that our country is facing.

To ensure that we’re supporting our customers who are being treated for COVID-19, we will pay a Cash Benefit to our customers where this is included in their policy. When there’s a pandemic (like COVID-19) in the UK, the NHS and Public Health England coordinate all cases and manage all resources. It’s very important it’s done this way so that the Government can continuously monitor, assess and manage the situation.

In addition, we’re covering treatment for mental health conditions relating to COVID-19. We’re giving our customers fast access to expert advice through our digital GP services, Anytime Healthline and Family Helpline. We have written to all Bupa recognised consultants to let them know that they can offer their Bupa patients telephone and video consultations, where they are medically appropriate, to help patients avoid exposure to the virus.

Public Health England, the EU and the US Food and Drug Administration have now given approval on the accuracy of at least two antibody tests to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which can indicate that an individual has previously been infected with the virus and their body has mounted an immune response.

The World Health Organisation and the UK’s Chief Scientific Officer have however indicated that there is still no evidence that the presence of antibodies to the virus can give certainty to an individual that they will have immunity, how long this immunity will last, or if they will be able to catch it again in the future.

Whilst Bupa is therefore not currently endorsing the use of antibody tests as part of an organisation’s return to office strategy, we do appreciate that individuals may want to take an antibody test to understand whether they’ve had COVID-19 for their own personal health interest. We therefore want to make sure we are giving individuals access to approved tests they can trust.

For this reason, Bupa Health Clinics (UK) will offer the antibody test in clinics to customers. This will allow an individual to establish whether they have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the past. However, we must underline that under current health guidance the test will not provide any information on the individual’s immunity. The result should not be used to make any clinical or return to office decisions but will simply let the individual know whether they have previously been infected with the virus. Given the latest MHRA investigation into the validity of home testing for antibody status, Bupa does not currently advocate the use of this.

Bupa Health Clinics will also be offering an antigen (nasal and throat swab) testing service which detects active infection with SARS-CoV-2. This will be offered to business customers first and can be used as part of a screening regime for businesses, including temperature checks and return to work assessments, to allow the safe return of their employees to the workplace.

Our existing private health insurance policies don’t cover these tests to screen for, or diagnose a suspected case of, COVID-19. However, we will fund an antigen (nasal and throat swab) test where it is needed as part of pre-operative/pre-treatment assessment for treatment covered by the patient’s policy.

We understand the information on testing is changing rapidly and we continue to monitor developments and update the latest advice we provide to our customers, as well as our own return to work strategy.

Private hospitals are working with the NHS to maximise capacity to care for people with COVID-19 so they’ve started suspending non-emergency operations. It’s hard to predict how long this will last for as it’s an unprecedented situation. Please speak to your consultant as they’ll be best placed to advise you. You can let your consultant know that we’ll cover phone and video consultations if that makes it easier. We guarantee to cover the cost of your treatment once you’re able to have it so long as you continue your policy, so there’s no need to worry about your pre-authorisation.

We can pre-authorise your treatment. But we need to let you know that private hospitals are working with the NHS to maximise capacity to care for people with COVID-19 so they’ve started suspending non-emergency operations. It’s hard to predict how long this will last for as it’s an unprecedented situation. If your care is delayed, we guarantee to cover the cost of your treatment once you’re able to have it so long as you continue your policy.

We guarantee to cover the cost of your treatment once you’re able to have it, so long as you continue your policy there’s no need to worry about your pre-authorisation. If you’re still seeing the same consultant at the same hospital you won’t need a new pre-authorisation number so long as you continue your policy.

Private hospitals, nurses and consultants are supporting the NHS in caring for patients with COVID-19, so it’s likely there will be delay unless your treatment is urgent.

Please speak to your hospital, clinic or consultant as they’ll be best placed to advise you. You can let your consultant know that we will be covering them for phone and video consultations if that makes it easier. We guarantee to cover the cost of your treatment once you’re able to have it so long as you continue your policy, there’s no need to worry about your pre-authorisation.

We guarantee to cover the cost of your treatment once you’re able to have it so long as you continue your policy, there’s no need to worry about your pre-authorisation.

NHS England has now confirmed that all private treatment can now resume with the vast majority of independent hospitals offering a full range of services. A very small number will continue to provide solely NHS care.

Unrestricted private services will resume in Northern Ireland at the end of the June and in Wales in early July. For now, restrictions remain in place in Scotland. We’ll continue to update you as the situation changes.

This is a positive step, however it is possible that speed of access may still be delayed and potentially vary depending on which treatments are needed and provider capacity in different geographical areas. You can access information on the most up to date guidance from the NHS on processes in place to protect people accessing healthcare services at this time.

Find out more (PDF, 200KB)

We know this will be a stressful time for people and that isolation may impact on overall mental wellbeing, as well as exacerbating underlying mental health conditions. We’ve seen an increase in requests for mental health support and are expanding our capacity – including remote consultations and on-line cognitive behavioural therapy. Customers can also use our Bupa’s Direct Access service, removing the need for a GP appointment. Our Family Mental Healthline is open for parents and carers to talk to us about their child’s emotional wellbeing. The online Bupa Mental Health resource hub has a wide range of support materials and is being regularly updated with relevant content.

Travel insurance

All live quotations have been cancelled as we are longer accepting new customers.

As of 23 March 2020, we have paused accepting new business applications until further notice. We will provide further updates as the situation changes.

No. As of 23 March 2020, we are no longer accepting new customers until further notice.

B2B and Bupa By You add-on customers will have the option to continue their cover in the normal way. Since January 2020, and unrelated to COVID-19, we are no longer renewing or writing standalone consumer travel insurance policies.

We are currently assessing requests for expansions on a case by case basis.

We’re not currently accepting any request to upgrade travel policies mid term.

Yes, we would recommend continuing to use the same telephone numbers and email addresses. Please note that we are currently receiving a high volume of calls, so try to use email and Bupa Connect in the first instance wherever possible.

We foresee no changes to your key contact however, if your account manager is unavailable, we have a support network in place to respond accordingly. In addition to this our structure enables a clear escalation process to your aligned commercial manager.

In the unlikely event that this happens, we will work closely with the client and intermediary to find the most suitable resolution as quickly as possible.

If the group secretary is unavailable, we're happy to accept confirmation from an authorised contact within the client’s organisation. Our customers are our priority and we will work closely with the client and intermediary to find the most suitable resolution as quickly as possible.

No, we can confirm Bupa Connect will continue to be kept up-to-date and we do not foresee any disruption to service. If you would like to visit Bupa Connect please click here.

If the group secretary is unavailable, we're happy to accept confirmation from an authorised contact within the client’s organisation.

In addition to this both Bupa and Intermediaries will have the flexibility to update and add new users onto Bupa Connect enabling a quick and secure method of transferring documents remotely.

Information for you to read and share with your clients on specific Bupa products and services

Read previous updates from Bupa

The situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) is continuously changing. To ensure you have the latest information, advice and guidance explore these external links and resources.

World Health Organization
Read the latest updates from the World Health Organization (WHO)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

UK Government
Find out more about the UK Government response from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England
https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

NHS England
Read NHS information about how coronavirus is spread and how to avoid catching or spreading germs.
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Travel information
If you are looking for information on how the coronavirus outbreak may affect your travel plans, please follow the guidance of the Foreign and Commonwealth office.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Get advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

For the latest situation reports, and a map of affected areas see the latest from the
World Health Organization.

Bupa health insurance, dental insurance, cash plan and travel insurance are provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No.3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Bupa Health Assessments and Occupational Health services are provided by Bupa Occupational Health Limited. Registered in England and Wales No.631336. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London, EC2R 7HJ.

Bupa health trusts are administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851 Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ.

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