Bupa Laser Eye Surgery
BUPA is an international private healthcare company, with its headquarters in London. As well providing a wide range of treatments, they also provide BUPA laser eye surgery, which is used to correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
Will I Be Covered?
To be clinically suitable for laser eye surgery Bupa requires that the patient is over the age of 21 and has had a change in vision of less than 0.5 dioptres over the past three years. Additionally, laser eye surgery isn't considered suitable for patients who have age related long sightedness, who are pregnant or have arthritis. To ascertain whether you are suitable for laser eye treatment you will need to meet with an ophthalmic surgeon who will carry out a full eyesight test and a map of the cornea.
Health Cash Plan For Optical Treatments
If you have a Bupa Health Cash Plan which offers cash back on optical expenses you will not be covered for laser eye surgery. Depending on the level of cash plan that you have taken out, the maximum cash back for optical expenses is between £50 and £150 a year. As laser eye surgery typically costs over £1,500, then this won't be sufficient to cover the costs of the surgery. However, this may cover you for an initial eye test which could be used to assess your suitability for laser eye surgery.
Pre Existing Conditions Exclusions
One important clause to remember in any health insurance plan offered by Bupa is that pre existing conditions will not be covered by the policy. A pre existing condition means one which you have experienced symptoms of, or had treatment for, in the previous seven years. These conditions will be excluded regardless of whether you have undergone treatment or not. This effectively means that if you already had eyesight problems prior to taking out the policy then you would not be eligible for laser eye surgery. However, there are occasionally exceptions to this rule, so in order to ascertain whether a condition related to your eyesight would be considered pre existing, it is best to contact Bupa to speak to one of their advisers who will be able to clarify the matter.
Making A Claim To The Eye Care Team
In some cases, you may not even need a referral from your GP to make a claim to the eye care team at BUPA - you can simply call the members services helpline on 0345 60 90 111 to speak to someone.
A member of the BUPA team will arrange for you to access treatment, and may be able to give you information about what you can do yourself to treat or alleviate symptoms. If you need to come into see someone, BUPA will arrange an appointment with the appropriate eye care professional. If you do require a referral from your GP, you should ask for an Open Referral letter, which means your GP outlines the required care but does not request it at the hands of a specific healthcare professional or hospital.
Once you have your referral, or have determined that you have symptoms that don’t require a referral, contact BUPA straight away to facilitate appropriate care.
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Bupa Select, Bupa Superior & Corporate Cover
Many people have private health insurance provided through their employer. If you are part of this scheme it will be known as Bupa Select of Bupa Foundations. If you have either of these types of policy then you will not be covered for laser eye surgery as their terms and conditions specifically exclude it. However, some employers provide Bupa Superior cover for their employees which gives a much greater level of cover, and can be used in hospitals across the world. With this policy you may be covered for laser eye surgery if it is not related to a pre existing condition. Potential patients should contact a Bupa advisor to discuss the particulars of their policy to see if they are covered.
If you are insured by Bupa as part of a company which has over 250 employees, this will be the Corporate Cover policy which does not cover laser eye surgery.
Bupa Individual Cover
Bupa's individual health cover can be tailored to suit the needs of the individual. The standard policy does not cover laser eye surgery for policy holders, however, when first signing up, it is possible to add optical cover to your policy for an additional cost; this is known as Health Cover 10 or 20. This policy add on will then cover corrective laser eye treatment when prescribed by a qualified optical surgeon.
Depending on the level of cover that you choose, you can get between £125 to £250 a year towards laser eye surgery, but this is highly unlikely to cover the full cost of any laser eye treatment. Also with this add on there is a waiting period of up to six months after the policy commences before a claim can be put in.
Even Bupa's higher level Comprehensive Cover policy does not include laser eye surgery as standard and it must be added as a Health Cover 20 option. However, if the laser eye treatment is for cataract removal then the policy will provide cover and the treatment itself will be performed at an Optical Express Centre through a Bupa partnership.
Bupa Self Pay Treatments
As an alternative, Bupa offer the option of self pay treatments where people who do not have health insurance (or who want treatment for a condition not covered by their policy) can simply choose to pay for their laser eye surgery. Treatment can be carried out at the Spire hospital in Leicester which has been running for over 20 years. The prices for this surgery will vary depending on exactly what type of laser eye surgery is required. Typically the cost will be between £1,000 and £2,000 per eye, and you may get a discount for having both eyes treated at the same time.