Bupa has introduced two main changes to this and its equivalent standalone critical illness (CI) plan. These are:
Two new conditions – severe Crohn’s disease and benign brain tumour – have been added to the conditions covered. The full list is now: Alzheimer’s disease; aorta graft surgery; aplastic anaemia; bacterial meningitis; benign brain tumour; benign spinal cord tumour; blindness; cancer; cardiomyopathy; chronic rheumatoid arthritis; coma; coronary artery bypass graft; Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; deafness; dementia; heart attack; heart valve replacement; HIV infection; kidney failure; liver failure; loss of hands or feet; loss of independence; loss of speech; major organ transplant; motor neurone disease; multiple sclerosis; open heart surgery; paralysis of limbs; Parkinson’s disease; progressive supra-nuclear palsy; respiratory failure; severe Crohn’s disease; stroke; systemic lupus erythematosus; third degree burns; traumatic head injury; type 1 insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. In addition, the plan also pays out on death or diagnosis of terminal illness. Eleven of the conditions covered now exceed the ABI model definition for that condition.
If the life insured is waiting for an operation on the NHS for aorta graft surgery, coronary artery bypass graft, heart valve replacement or repair or open heart surgery, the plan will pay out the lower of 25% of the sum insured or £25,000 directly into their bank account. Bupa says it is the first CI provider to offer this benefit.
Other features of the plan remain the same. The plan includes options to include fracture cover (up to £2,100 a year), indexation (RPI or AEI), a reinstatement option (a new policy but with reduced cover), and a replacement option (on the second i.e. non-claiming life). The plan also includes access to Bupa’s Healthline and the Best Doctors facility. Life cover can be level, mortgage protection (decreasing), renewable of family income benefit. Premiums can be guaranteed or reviewable
What They Say
Director of Bupa Health Assurance, Steve Payne, said: “These improvements reaffirm our position as a leader in the critical illness market. Having listened to intermediary feedback, we are confident that these enhancements, combined with our Healthline and Best Doctors service, will offer a real point of difference for brokers.”
What We Say
We especially like the idea of paying out part of the sum insured if awaiting a specified NHS operation. Adding new conditions and improving definitions to make them ABI+ is also a positive feature and the plan now covers no less than 38 conditions in total. The Best Doctors and Healthline facilities also provide practical, as well as financial help.
These improvements add to an already comprehensive and popular plan. One issue for advisers though will be which of the Friends Provident brands to choose…
We would add that one downside of this plan is that, along with other CI policies, there is no effective catch-all benefit and it can be difficult for a client to understand exactly what is covered under their plan unless they have a good medical dictionary to hand…