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Bupa Health Insurance Review

Bupa is the UK’s biggest and best known health insurance provider with a wide range of amazing customer benefits on offer.

With over 2 million UK customers and over 75 years of history, Bupa is a very popular choice with consumers looking for top quality private healthcare. Health insurance is a great way to protect yourself and ensure you have access to the best hospitals and specialist care if you become unwell.

About Bupa Insurance Services Limited

Bupa was founded on 3rd April 1947 with the aim of providing the best private healthcare to the whole UK. They started out by offering the UK’s first large scale company health insurance scheme, with over 200,000 members by 1955.

In the years since, the business has expanded massively. By the end of the 1990s, Bupa had customers in over 170 countries Worldwide. By the mid 2000’s, Bupa had opened 40 Bupa Wellness clinics providing top-quality private healthcare.

About Bupa health insurance UK

The aim of Bupa health insurance (also known as Bupa private medical insurance) is to help you to get the best care and cover the costs of private medical treatments in the UK.

Bupa has the choice of two policies, so you can pick the one that works best for your budget and the level of cover you want.

Bupa is also different in that they offer pay as you go healthcare services as well. This is designed for people who want access to Bupa specialist healthcare, but don’t want to commit to a full-time plan.

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Bupa has won a wide range of industry awards for their health insurance policies and overall customer service. This includes the following awards:


UK Health & Protection Awards (Provider Awards) – Best Health & Protection Technology Innovation

UK Health & Protection Awards (Provider Awards) – Best Wellbeing Provider

UK Health & Protection Awards – Best Dental Benefits Provider

UK Health & Protection Awards – Best Group Healthcare Provider

UK Health & Protection Awards – Provider of the Year

Cover Excellence Awards – Outstanding Client Engagement (Provider)

Why choose Bupa health insurance?

if choosing a big brand name is reassuring to you, Bupa is a household name in the UK with millions of happy customers. Even without looking at their reputation, Bupa has a lot to offer with extensive coverage and benefits to help you look after your health.

Some of the key benefits of Bupa private health insurance are:

  • 24/7 Digital GP access
  • Mental health cover as standard (most insurers include this as an add on)
  • Access to breakthrough cancer treatments and specialists
  • AnyTime HealthLine connects you to nurses to answer all your health questions
  • Health and wellbeing rewards e.g. 40% off gym memberships, 20% off Fitbit products and even 20-25% off floral bouquets and candles

Bupa health insurance is there to help you cover the cost of (non emergency) medical treatments. Health insurance allows you to access the highest quality care that is available in your area with fast access to medical support.

Your policy will cover you for any new conditions which occur after you have bought your policy, as long as they are not chronic (ongoing). You pay for your policy monthly or annually, whichever is most convenient for you.

Bupa has a couple of health insurance policies that you can choose from which are:

1. Bupa comprehensive health insurance: This is the highest level of cover and will cover you for diagnosis of conditions and specialist treatments.

2. Bupa treatment and care: A more cost-effective option that will cover your private treatment, if you’re happy to first be diagnosed by an NHS doctor

Bupa Cancer Cover

Bupa has extremely comprehensive cancer cover compared to other UK health insurance providers.

With Bupa Full Cancer Cover you get:

  • NO limits to cover for the entirety of your cancer treatment
  • Full support at every stage of your cancer treatment and recovery
  • Access to qualified counsellors to help support your mental health
  • Access to breakthrough medicines and treatments (even before they are available on the NHS)
  • Individual and employee cover (depending on your policy)
  • The option to get chemotherapy treatment in the comfort of your own home
  • A specialist oncology support team to explain everything and support you

With Bupa, you can call as soon as you experience any worrying symptoms. Bupa may then be able to immediately book you in to see a cancer consultant.

Bupa also has specialist centres for certain types of cancer (breast and bowel cancer) that can provide all the tests you need within one visit.

Waiting times for specialist centres:

  • You can be seen at a Bupa breast cancer centre within 2 working days of contacting Bupa
  • You can be seen at a Bupa bowel cancer centre within 4 working days of contacting Bupa

What does Bupa health insurance cover?

Type of CoverBupa Private Medical Insurance
Available policiesBupa Comprehensive Health Insurance Bupa Treatment and Care
What is covered?You will be covered for various things as standard such as:  

Fully paid in-patient and day patient hospital treatment
Up to 28 days per year of in-patient or day-patient mental health treatment
Diagnostic tests and scans (MRI, CT and PET scans)
Outpatient treatment for cancer (no therapy benefit limit)
Mental health benefits
Full cancer cover or NHS Cancer Cover Plus (covers you if your cancer treatment is not available on the NHS)
£60 per journey for private ambulances
NHS cash benefit for NHS hospital stays (£50 per night for up to 35 nights per year)
Enhanced NHS cash benefit for hospital in-patient cancer treatment
Parent accommodation benefit
Additional benefits such as access to AnyTime HealthLine and Family Mental HealthLine  

Note: There may be some restrictions to cover that will be detailed in full in your policy documents.
What is not covered?Bupa health insurance policies will not cover you for:  

General nursing care
Drugs and dressings for out-patients (not including cancer patients)
Excluded hospital treatments or conditions
Alternative/complementary therapies
Health screenings, routine tests and monitoring (some cancer screenings not included)
Any medical exclusions specific to your policy
Emergency medical treatment (A&E admissions)
Treatment of allergies or food intolerances
Treatment of complications of excluded conditions or treatments
Deafness (deafness because of injury or acute conditions is covered)
Eyesight correction (eyesight correction because of injury or acute condition is covered)
Gender dysphoria/affirmation
Epidemic disease
Pandemic disease
Sleep disorders (or sleep related)
Weight loss treatments  
Policy termYou will be covered for 12 months from your policy start date.  
The policy will auto renew, unless you choose not to continue your cover.
Where am I covered?You are covered for any medical treatment within the UK (includes Channel Islands and Isle of Man)
Increasing cover option included?There isn’t an ‘increasing’ option but you can choose to add a higher level of cover when your policy renews each year.  
You can also add family members to your plan at a later point, if you want to cover them as well.
Decreasing cover option included?For less cover to lower costs, you can choose options such as:  

Bupa Essential access hospital list
NHS Treatment and Care cover (lower cost option)
Premium options (when do I pay?)You will pay for your Bupa policy monthly or annually via Direct Debit (unless another arrangement is agreed with Bupa)

Bupa has a few simple rules and requirements for anyone who applies for their health insurance policies:

  • You must pay your premiums on time (or early)
  • You must be a UK resident who is registered with a GP
  • You must provide Bupa with your medical history if asked
  • You need to tell Bupa about any change to your address (or your dependents address)
Global healthcare provider with a good reputationCan be complicated to understand all your cover options without advice
Covers more mental health conditions than other health insurance providersBupa website can be hard to navigate for customers
Gives you access to breakthrough cancer drugs and treatments for the best carePre-existing conditions/ongoing medical conditions won’t be covered

Bupa is well known for their business health insurance plans. This is how Bupa started out with a focus on company healthcare and they have continued to be leaders in this form of health insurance.

Bupa business health insurance (also known as Bupa company health insurance) is designed to give employees quick access to the best medical care. They have a couple of options for cover, so you can choose the one that works best for your business.

1.  Bupa small business health insurance (1-249 employees)

2.  Bupa corporate business cover (250+ employees)

Bupa offers some great benefits with their business health insurance plans such as:

  • Access to treatment in 600 hospitals across the UK
  • High level of mental health cover
  • Extensive cancer cover
  • 24/7 digital GP access through Anytime helpline
  • Outpatient consultations and treatments (for eligible conditions)

How much does Bupa health insurance UK cost?

Your main first question about Bupa health cover might be ‘how much is Bupa health insurance UK?’. How much Bupa health insurance costs will usually vary a bit from person to person. This is because Bupa will look at factors like:

  • Your age
  • Where you live
  • Smoker status
  • Type of policy

If you want to save some money, you can opt for Bupa treatment and care cover. This will cover you for any private treatments (following an NHS diagnosis) and can be useful for those with a tighter budget.

You also have the option of choosing a less extensive hospital list. Bupa’s Essential hospital list is the lowest cost choice, and this still gives you access to specialist treatment at 265 hospitals across the UK.

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YES – You will normally be able to buy health insurance from Bupa if you already have medical conditions. Treatment for these conditions won’t be covered. However, you will be able to claim for treatment of an illness or injury that happens after your policy starts.

You will be asked a few quick questions about your health when you apply, and then it will be easy to tell you what Bupa will (or won’t) cover.

Bupa health insurance contact numbers

Here are the main contact details for Bupa health insurance:

Telephone – 0808 256 6607

Opening hours – 8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Friday / 9.00am – 12.30pm Saturday

How to claim on Bupa health insurance

The way you contact Bupa health insurance to claim will vary depending on the symptoms you are experiencing. There are specific contact details for the following types of symptoms:

Cancer symptoms/concerns – Bupa Cancer Direct Access TeamTelephone – 0800 012 1305
Opening hours – 8.00am – 8.00pm Monday to Friday / 8.00am – 4.00pm Saturday
Muscle, bone or joint painTelephone – 0345 609 0111
Opening hours – 8.00am – 8.00pm Monday to Friday / 8.00am – 4.00pm Saturday
Mental health symptomsTelephone – 0808 231 5114
Opening hours – 8.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday
Moles or skin lesionsTelephone – 0345 609 0111
Opening hours – 8.30am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday  
(This will be to arrange a remote skin assessment, if suitable. You will be sent a kit so you can take photos for a dermatologist to review)  

Other symptoms

Here is how to claim if you have any other symptoms:

1.    See your GP or talk to an online GP

2.    Get an open referral from your GP

3.    Contact Bupa to start your claim

Telephone – 0345 609 0111

Opening hours –  8.00am – 8.00pm Monday to Friday / 8.00am – 4.00pm Saturday

You can also contact Bupa via live chat (Bupa Virtual Assistant)

Before you claim on Bupa health insurance

When you start a claim, Bupa will ask for the following information:

  • Your membership number
  • What your symptoms are, when they began and when you spoke to your GP
  • Details of your treatment
  • Details of the type of specialist recommended by your GP

Before claiming it is important to be aware of these rules that Bupa has for claims:

  • Any treatment you claim for must be with a Bupa approved specialist/hospital
  • You must get your claim authorised by Bupa before starting any treatment, consultations etc
  • You need to let Bupa know if you have another insurance policy that covers the same benefits
  • You must pay any excesses agreed to in your policy when you claim
  • You need to provide any information Bupa requests when claiming e.g. medical information

When you apply for health insurance with Bupa, you will need to select a hospital list for your policy. This list outlines which hospitals you can use when claiming on your cover.

Bupa refers to their hospital lists as the Bupa hospital network. There are 3 lists within this hospital network, so you can pick the one that feels right for you and how much you want to spend.

1. Bupa Essential Access (265 hospitals) – This is the cheapest choice so can be a good option for someone with a lower budget who still wants access to the best medical care.

2. Bupa Extended Choice (1,096 hospitals) – This will give you a wider range of options for your care and may mean you have to travel less.

3. Bupa Extended Choice with Central London (1,291 hospitals) – This is the same as the Extended Choice list, but with extra hospitals added within the Central London area.

You’re never tied into an insurance policy indefinitely and you can cancel your Bupa health insurance at any point during your policy.

Bupa has a 21 day ‘cooling off period’ for health insurance. This means if you cancel within the first 21 days of your cover you will receive a full refund (if you haven’t claimed). After this you would only be refunded any premiums that are for cover after your policy would end (if paying annually).

Bupa health insurance telephone number (cancellations)

To cancel your health insurance policy, you can contact Bupa in one of the following ways:

Telephone – 0800 010 383

Email –



Bupa Place,

102 The Quays,


How to complain about Bupa health insurance

It’s possible you might buy Bupa health insurance and be unhappy with the service or product you receive. If this happens, you’re entitled to submit a complaint.

Bupa states on their website that they aim to resolve complaint immediately if they can. If they can’t, they should contact you within 5 working days. Bupa should keep you updated about your complaint and will write to you and explain if they cannot resolve it within 8 weeks.

Bupa complaints contact details

Telephone – 0345 606 6739

Live chatBupa live chat (9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday)


Customer Relations,


Bupa Place,

102 The Quays,


M50 3SP

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Making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an impartial and free service for financial services customers in the UK. This service can be used to settle any disputes between life insurance companies and their customers in the United Kingdom. If they feel that you have suffered any financial loss as a result of your life insurance policy, then they may rule for compensation to be awarded.

Telephone – 0800 023 4567 (or 0300 123 9123)

Telephone (outside the UK) – 0207 964 0500

Breakthrough cancer treatments and care – Not only is cancer cover included free of charge, you also have access to the best treatments and drugs (often before they are available on the NHS)

Mental health cover included as standard – Bupa will automatically include a level of mental health cover in your policy (this will be a paid add on with most health insurance providers)

Can add your partner (or children) – You can add your partner (if you live at the same address) and your children to your plan to make sure their health is well looked after too.

24/7 digital GP access – You can access virtual GP services 24/7 for medical advice from the comfort of your own home

AnyTime HealthLine – This Bupa service connects you with fully qualified nurses who can answer your questions and give advice on health related issues

GREAT discounts and rewards – Bupa offers their members some brilliant health and wellbeing rewards including gym discounts (up to 40% off), dental treatment discounts, and 20% off Fitbit products

Optional benefits of Bupa health insurance

You can add on additional benefits such as:

Bupa health insurance dental cover – This will cover you for the cost of routine dental appointments and check ups and even trips to the hygienist

Bupa health insurance reviews (TrustPilot)

Bupa has a generally good reputation in the UK, but it can be useful to see what other customers think before choosing your health insurance provider.

Bupa collects their customer reviews on TrustPilot, the UK’s biggest independent customer review site. Currently, Bupa UK has more than 19,000 customer reviews on TrustPilot.

Other policies sold by Bupa

Bupa specialises in health insurance, so they don’t sell other types of insurance like life insurance or income protection.

They do have a few other options though for people who don’t want a traditional health insurance policy.

Is Bupa health assessment covered by insurance?NO – Bupa health assessments are a separate service and aren’t covered under your health insurance policy.  
You will need to contact Bupa’s bookings team if you would like to book in for a health assessment.
How much does Bupa health insurance cost?There isn’t one set price as Bupa policies will vary in price because of factors like:  

Your age
Where you live
Which policy you choose
Level of cover
Choice of hospital list
Additional benefits (add ons)
Is Bupa the best health insurance?This comes down to opinion, but Bupa is certainly a well regarded insurer with a lot to offer.  
They have an extensive list of benefits, flexible cover options and a customer review score of 4.0 out of 5.0 stars (TrustPilot).
Does Bupa health insurance cover dental?NO – but you can add this on as an additional benefit.  
You can also buy Bupa dental insurance, which is a separate policy to help with dental costs.

No one ever wants to pay too much for their health insurance and it’s always worth doing a bit of research before you make any decisions.

You can apply directly through their website to buy private health insurance from Bupa. Your other option is to get some extra help and support from a health insurance specialist.

A specialist health insurance expert will be able to advise you on the best plan for the level of cover you need and can quickly and easily compare Bupa health insurance quotes. Our team can compare pricing across the market to make sure you’re paying the right price for the benefits you need.

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