Inpatient vs. outpatient cover

What is the difference between in-patient cover and out-patient cover?

When you choose a health insurance policy you'll need to understand the difference between in-patient and out-patient treatment. In-patient covers you for procedures or treatments that need you to stay in hospital overnight. Out-patient covers you for procedures and treatments where you don't stay in overnight or occupy a bed for the day. This is the main difference.

It's important to understand these terms, as they can have an impact on your health insurance policy. This page gives you all of the information you need to understand these common health insurance terms, and how they may affect your policy.

Just to make you aware, health insurance is generally designed to cover conditions that a develop after your policy has started.

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What’s included in in-patient cover?

Inpatient treatment is any treatment that requires you to stay overnight in a hospital or clinic for at least one night.

Inpatient cover on your health insurance policy can cover a wide range of things, including:

  • diagnostic tests, such as blood tests during an admission for surgery
  • surgeon and anaesthetist fees for surgery, and physician fees for in-patient care
  • hospital fees for the treatment itself, including any medications you may require whilst an in-patient
  • your stay in hospital as an in-patient

What’s included in out-patient cover?

Out-patient cover is when you don’t need to be admitted to hospital, but you will still attend a hospital or clinic for treatment such as any diagnostic tests, MRI, CT and PET scans or therapies you may need.

Out-patient cover on your health insurance policy mainly covers:

  • minor diagnostic tests such as X-rays, blood tests and ultrasounds
  • therapy sessions such as physiotherapy
  • out-patient consultations
  • out-patient MRI, CT and PET scans

It is possible that you could be referred to a hospital or a clinic for in-patient treatment.

In-patient and out-patient cover for cancer treatment

Where cancer cover is included in your policy

When you need support through cancer, we’re here for you. Our cancer care includes:

  • fast support through diagnosis, treatment and beyond, including mental health advice from our nurses
  • access to breakthrough drugs, often before they are approved by NICE and available on the NHS*
  • treatment options at home such as chemotherapy, if your consultant agrees it’s right for you

*Applies to eligible cancer drugs and treatment covered by your policy.

Is in-patient and out-patient cover included on Bupa policies?

Each of our policies include full in-patient cover for all eligible treatment as long as you use a facility from your chosen Bupa network and a Bupa recognised consultant who agrees to charge within Bupa limits (this is called a fee-assured consultant).

With our Comprehensive health insurance cover you’ll be able to choose an annual limit of £500, £1000 or unlimited out-patient cover. If you choose unlimited all of your out-patient fees will be fully covered, as long as you use a fee assured consultant in a network hospital. However your premium may increase as a result. As with in-patient treatment, we’ll only fund eligible treatment when you use Bupa-recognised facilities and consultants.

Sometimes out-patient cover may not be included on basic health insurance policies. If it is included there may be limits applied, meaning you’ll only be covered up to a chosen amount per year. Once you’ve reached your annual limit you’ll need to pay for any further out-patient treatment yourself or use the NHS. That’s why it’s worth checking your health insurance policy to see if out-patient cover is included and if any limits apply.

In-patient cover is included in most health insurance policies as standard, meaning you’ll be covered for any treatments you may need. You should check your health insurance cover to find out exactly what’s covered, and what isn’t.

Whether you need out-patient cover is entirely up to you. Think about what you’d like to get out of your health insurance cover – if out-patient cover is something that is important to you, add it on. Our health insurance is flexible and fits around your individual needs and lifestyle.

Everything you need to know about health insurance

Our useful guides are here to help you understand the fundamentals of health insurance. Not only that, but we also cover a number of key health topics – such as looking after yourself as a parent and taking care of your children’s health.

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Terms and conditions
Families save 10% with Bupa:

10% saving applies to family cover which includes one adult or more and one or more children. The savings apply to family cover with children on their policy compared to the price of individual cover for each family member. Savings only apply to Bupa By You core insurance. We reserve the right to amend or withdraw our family rate at renewal.

Bupa health insurance is 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. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London, EC2R 7HJ.

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