In an industry first, Bupa plans to improve the quality of its cancer cover by no longer selling corporate health insurance schemes that 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 limit 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.