In 2013 BUPA asked all osteopaths (and to the best of my knowledge, chiropractors and physiotherapists) to reduce their fees.
If an osteopath wanted to be on BUPA’s list of ‘recommended practitioners’ then the osteopath could only charge a maximum amount decided by BUPA.
For some osteopaths, this amounted to a fee cut of 50% or more.
Agree, and be on the list, disagree, and be off it!
This wouldn’t have been so bad if BUPA permitted the charging of ‘top-up’ fees, where the patient paid the difference between the osteopath’s regular fee and the BUPA rate directly to the osteopath. Doctors are allowed to charge top-up fees. But BUPA was adamant that we could not.
In the old days, osteopaths could only get on the BUPA list if they had been in practice for longer than 5 or 10 years. If they were experienced.
The consequence of the above decision by BUPA is that their list of recommended practitioners is now comprised mainly of osteopaths who haven’t been in practice that long and are willing and able to work at fees substantially less than they usually would charge.
It is entirely up to patients to decide which osteopath they should see, but also only fair that they understand what the reality of being on the recommended or approved list now means.
And AXA/PPP – about a year ago – have done the same thing.