LONDON, March 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In an industry first, Bupa, the leading international healthcare group, has announced plans to improve the quality of its cancer cover by no longer selling corporate health insurance schemes which feature overall cost or time limits for cancer treatment.
Cancer treatment costs increased sharply in 2005 and 2006 due to the introduction of new drugs. In response to the concerns this caused about rising costs, the health insurance market developed financial benefit caps and time limits to restrict financial exposure for client businesses.
However, experience has shown that these limits mean that patients who claim on their policies can be left vulnerable at critical points in their treatment.
Once employees reach their benefit ceiling they face the possibility of having to change their treatment mid-stream. The varying cost of cancer drugs also makes it very difficult for patients to make informed choices about their treatment path, and its likely cost, at the point of diagnosis.
Dr Natalie-Jane Macdonald, managing director, Bupa Health and Wellbeing explained: "We work closely with our clients to help them to provide their employees with the best quality healthcare at a sustainable affordable cost, and this remains a priority for us. We have developed better, fairer ways of controlling healthcare costs without compromising the experience and outcomes of patients at a difficult time in their lives."
In 2010 Bupa spent GBP18m on drugs that are not widely available elsewhere and it routinely funds cancer treatments that are approved by the European Medicines Agency. Bupa also makes prompt decisions to pay for experimental drugs when clinically appropriate.
Notes to editors
Bupa launched Corporate Select in December 2009 with an option to apply an overall annual maximum benefit. Based on this experience, Bupa has recognised that these limits offer a poor customer experience.
Faced with the reality of what they mean in practice, businesses that signed up to them often choose not to apply them. Bupa currently has a very small number of clients who operate these limits on their corporate policies and it will work with them to find options to manage their healthcare costs.
About Bupa Group:
A leading international healthcare group, Bupa offers personal and corporate health insurance, run care homes for older people and hospitals, and provide workplace health services, health assessments and chronic disease management services, including health coaching, and home healthcare.
With no shareholders, Bupa invests its profits to provide more and better healthcare. The group is committed to making quality, patient-centred, affordable healthcare more accessible in the areas of health and wellbeing, chronic disease management and ageing.
Employing nearly 52,000 people, Bupa has operations around the world, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, New Zealand and the USA, as well as Hong Kong, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, India, China and across Latin America.
For further information contact: Samantha Maslen Bupa Corporate Affairs Bupa House 15-19 Bloomsbury Way London WC1A2BA +44(0)20-7656-2638 http://www.bupa.co.uk