Bupa cuts pregnancy and IVF cover for one third of members

Kinderling News & Features

They have a slogan that reads: "We’re first for families" yet Bupa has just cancelled a range of covers, including pregnancy and IVF. 

Yes, you read that right.  

Hip replacements, pregnancy, IVF and kidney dialyses

According to a report in The Guardian, BUPA's UK-based office has told one third of its members that from July 1 they will no longer be covered for cataracts,  hip replacements, pregnancy and IVF and kidney dialysis for those on "minimum benefits" policies.  

Jennifer Dogget, a fellow for the Centre of Policy Development, says the changes are part of a move towards cheap, basic packages that were "attractive to younger customers".  

Jennifer told The Guardian that young people were snapping up "cheap" health insurance to avoid paying the Medicare levy. 

Public hospitals will bear the brunt of these "junk policies" according to Jennifer, as people will choose to go to public hospitals with certain procedures, to avoid the extra costs.  

So where does that leave Australian families? 

At greater risk of being "caught out", said Jennifer. "It's a dangerous game. The more you (remove ) the less it is a genuine insurance product," she said.  

Currently pregnant or planning to be? Choice Magazine's Uta Mihm has this advice for you:

"If you're currently pregnant and you'll be delivering after 1 July, you should review your cover if you have one of the affected policies. Pregnancy and birth will be excluded on budget policies, so you'll no longer be covered for using your own obstetrician in a public hospital. New parents will have to switch to more expensive top cover policies if you want to maintain the same level of cover. And if you're expecting to need any of the other soon-to-be excluded treatments in the next 12 months, it might also be worth considering Bupa's offer to upgrade your policy."

How to find out more

Not sure if you're affected by the Bupa changes? Choice Magazine details everything you need to know here. Apparently Budget Cover has the most changes, and if you are affected, Choice says your best option may be to upgrade.