Bupa makes a U-turn on “unrecognised” Hong Kong healthcare providers list following outcry

Doctors in the list voiced their dismay over the firm's actions

Bupa makes a U-turn on “unrecognised” Hong Kong healthcare providers list following outcry

Insurance News

By Kenneth Araullo

Bupa has reversed its decision and removed a list of “unrecognised” healthcare providers in Hong Kong from its website after the list, which featured a range of medical specialists including a nephrologist, dermatologist, orthopaedist, and a general practitioner, along with a clinic associated with the dermatologist, prompted reactions from the medical community in Hong Kong.

Initially, Bupa had placed several healthcare providers on this list, indicating they did not meet the company's standards, and therefore, treatments from these providers would not be covered under their policies. The exact date of the list's publication was not clear, but it gained attention following a local media report last week.

In a report from the SCMP, Bupa confirmed the removal of the “de-recognised list” for international customers with an International Private Medical Insurance policy, pending a review.

“There is currently no ‘de-recognised list’ for Bupa domestic (local) customers or international customers, and a list will not be published on 1 January 2024,” Bupa said in a reply to the SCMP.

The insurer also acknowledged the factors influencing healthcare providers' service fees, including professional experience, complexity of diseases, and patient conditions. The company stated its commitment to working closely with providers to address any significant pricing issues or discrepancies.

Several doctors and practitioners in Hong Kong who have found themselves included in the list voiced their dismay over Bupa’s actions. Dr Kelvin Ho Kai-leung, a renowned nephrologist and president of the Hong Kong Organ Transplant Foundation, expressed his surprise and regret over being included on the list without prior communication. He emphasised that this listing had led to public misconceptions about his professional qualifications and medical conduct, adversely affecting his reputation.

The Health Bureau also responded to the situation, stating that Bupa Global, which issued the list, had not consulted them regarding healthcare providers. The bureau has also been in contact with the Insurance Authority for more details on the matter.

Bupa Asia, under the voluntary health insurance scheme managed by the bureau, offers different products than Bupa Global, which does not participate in this scheme. The bureau noted that it does not regulate health insurance products offered outside the voluntary health insurance scheme.

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