BUPA 457 Visa Compared Editor’s Review

BUPA is a relatively new player in the Australian Health Insurance sector.

In May 2008 the Australian courts allowed a $2.41 billion dollar merger to occur between BUPA and MBF. This affected about 3,000,000 Australian policy holders with Mutual Community, HBA and MBF membership. This acquisition has made BUPA the second largest player behind Medibank/AHM which is a government owned organisation.

BUPA has regular advertising campaigns focusing on “Find a Healthier You” and sponsor key sporting events and teams ranging from ‘The Ashes” to “Hawthorn Football Club”.

BUPA Sponsors Hawthorn Football Club

BUPA Sponsors Hawthorn Football Club

Key critics of BUPA points to two key issues with the brand in Australia.

1) Lack Of Choice When It Comes To Hospitals

BUPA has agreements with selected day surgeries and private hospitals within Australia. If a patient gets treated at these hospitals they excess and/or co-payments for treatments are limited and in some cases there can be no gap at all. Depending on a users location and their procedures this restriction can be quite limiting and going to a hospital of the patient costs can leave a large gap for the patient.

2) Poor Customer Satisfaction On Review Websites

Australia’s most popular review website is productreview.com.au which over 130,000 visitors each day to the site. The site has BUPA with 32 reviews at an average of 1.3 out of 5 (26%). It should be noted that the minimum score is 1 out of 5 by users. This is the equal lowest score of the major health funds. Key issues raised by reviewers include poor customer service, limits on claiming for children, lack of cover for specialists and lack of rebates on excess cover. It should be noted that these come from customer reviews and do not reflect this author’s view of the brand. You can see these reviews on the main BUPA 457 visa page.

The other popular review site www.reviewcentre.com.au has a similar trend with a review score of 1.5 out of 5 and only 12% of users recommending the brand. Key issues raised on this site include a lack of communication between hospitals and head office for paying out-of-pocket expenses, poor service from the call centre, a lack of coverage for key medical expenses, increases in premium prices and limitations of where individuals can have procedures done (which for one person was many miles away).

BUPA For 457 Visa Health Insurance

BUPA have offered health insurance for overseas visitors soon after they entered the Australian market. As a global health player it made sense for them to focus on this international product as they have a strong brand awareness in Europe and other key countries.

BUPA 457 Visa Health Insurance

BUPA’s key weakness is their 457 visa health insurance products exist at the budget end. IMAN and HIF are over 14% more expensive then IMAN and also more expensive then HIF (both of which are DIBP compliant) when it comes to singles cover. For many individuals who are looking just to meet their requirements this extra expense can make this requirement too expensive. At the top-end their cover is also one of the most expensive with their ‘Gold Visitors Cover With Platinum Extra’s” been 17% more expensive then Medibank. Customer need to weight up if this price difference is offset by the benefits they will receive when seeing doctors or going to a BUPA agreed hospital in case future operations etc are needed.