Bupa Global, the international health insurance arm of UK-based Bupa, and the US-based Blue Cross Blue Shield Association have unveiled their first jointly-branded range of “tiered” international private medical insurance products in Jersey, Guernsey and Gibraltar.
The launch of the new international PMI range follows a 2014 announcement by Bupa and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) of plans to join forces in order to better develop a global network of healthcare providers.
The new global health plans for the Jersey, Guernsey and Gibraltar markets will be jointly branded Blue Cross Blue Shield Global and Bupa Global, as will the corporate portfolio, the companies said in a joint statement.
They are specifically designed to accommodate people who travel frequently or who otherwise live “cross-border lives”, for whom conventional health insurance plans are not always well suited, according to a Bupa spokesman.
The launch range consists of five insurance products – branded Select, Premier, Elite, Ultimate and Major Medical – which are ranked, or “tiered”, on the basis of coverage and price, and which were developed in association with research into international customer preferences, Bupa and BCBSA said.
Dean Pollard, general manager of Bupa’s Global Rest of World business, said the research had been carried out over a 12-month period, and revealed that clients prefer “a simple product, where the levels of coverage and price are tiered so it’s easy to choose the option they want or need, based on a clear and distinct range and scale, without the complication of add-ons”.
The new Bupa/BCBSA products being unveiled in the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, he added, were designed to take these concerns into account.
Depending on the plan chosen, the new products will cover in-hospital and out-patient care, health checks, mental and holistic therapies, cancer treatment and other serious illnesses, hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions, transplants and even emergency evacuations if needed, the Bupa/BCBSA statement said.
The cost of one of the new Bupa/BCBSA Global Health Plans will therefore vary considerably, and will also be dependent on such other factors as the individual in question’s specific circumstances, location and needs, the Bupa spokesperson noted.
For example, the annual cost for coverage of a 30 year-old Jersey resident under the so-called Select Health Plan would be £2,089; the same person would pay £3,562 for the Premiere option, £5,431 for the Elite plan and £14,300 for the Ultimate plan, he said.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
BCBSA is a Chicago-based federation of 36 US health insurers that operate under the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brandings, which date back to 1929 and 1939, respectively. Altogether they look after more than 107 million Americans, according to the BCBSA website.
Maureen Sullivan, senior vice president and chief strategy officer of BCBSA, said the coming together of the Bupa Global and Blue Cross Blue Shield names meant that consumers of all nationalities “who require global coverage can now have access to the largest network of health care providers worldwide”.
Bupa Global currently looks after some 2 million customers around the world, and employees more than 1,800 people globally. Its parent, which is formally called the British United Provident Association , is one of the world’s largest providers of health insurance and healthcare, with more than eight million customers in the UK and some 190 other countries.
Bupa was founded in 1947 by a number of regional provident associations, and remains a privately-held company.
A Bupa spokesperson said that the new Bupa Global/BCBSA products are available now for brokers in Jersey, Guernsey and Gibraltar to offer to their clients. More information about them may be found by clicking here.
As reported, the globally-focused Bupa – that is, Bupa Global’s parent – announced on Monday that it had formally boosted its stake in its Indian health insurance joint venture with Max India, called Max Bupa, to 49%, the new maximum permitted under Indian law, from 23%, the previous maximum.
Launched in 2010, Max Bupa is now India’s seventh largest private health insurer, looking after more than two million customers there, and “continues to be amongst the fastest growing stand-alone health insurers” in the country, according to Bupa.