Health Insurance

Animal Osteopathy

The principles of osteopathy are equally applicable to animals, whether domestic pets or high performance competition horses.

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If you have private heath cover please read this before your appointment

Many of our therapies are covered by private health insurance policies, which means you can claim for your treatment, but before coming to the clinic you need to find out:
- Is the therapy you want covered by your insurance?
- Is the therapist you want to see covered by the company you are with?
- Do you need a GP referral to get treatment?

Payment

Our policy is that you pay for your treatment and claim the money back from your insurance company.

If for some reason this isn't possible we can sometimes claim directly from the insurance company ourselves. To to this we MUST have authorisation from your insurance company first. This is usually in the form of a reference number - all you have to do is call the insurance company and find out whether you are covered then ask for your reference number. Easy!

The Bupa Boycott (Osteopathy Only)

Unfortunately, from now on, osteopathy patients insured with Bupa will not be able to reclaim any fees for treatment at the clinic. Similarly, a large number of osteopaths across the country have either removed themselves from BUPA's register, or refused to sign up to Bupa's new network. You can see the actual numbers by clicking this link (which will open in an new window): http://www.save-osteopathy-on-bupa.org

If you are thinking of signing up with Bupa, they will tell you that osteopathy is covered under their policies provided the practitioner is registered with them. What they won't say is that most osteopaths have refused to accept their conditions and therefore the number of available practitioners is small.

What’s the Problem?

A couple of years ago Bupa announced that they would be changing the arrangements for osteopaths and chiropractors who treat members of Bupa. They said that they were doing so after consultations with our governing and professional bodies, but this was not true. Further, they said that this was not an attempt to impose a nationwide cap on fees, but this was also untrue: they have actually imposed a limit on consultation fees across the whole of the UK which is well below the current market rate (and substantially less than the fees charged by osteopaths in their own clinic).

They have also introduced conditions in the new contract which are extremely onerous, meaning that even more time has to be devoted to each appointment. As a result, many osteopaths, including those at The Ashgrove Clinic, have withdrawn from offering consultations under Bupa cover.

This means that, even if you are currently covered for treatment by your own osteopath under Bupa, there is no guarantee that this will continue and the number of osteopaths accepting Bupa insurance in your area may well be severely reduced.

Bupa’s new terms & conditions will mean that, in future, you may not be able to choose the osteopath you wish to see.

So is this all about money?

Our charges are broadly in line with other osteopaths in this region, as you can see from our fees page. Over the last 6 years, these fees have increased by an average of just 3% annually. Bupa is now trying to bully osteopaths into accepting an overnight cut of 30% (more in some areas of the country).

But money is not the only issue here: In addition to the fee cut, the increase in the amount of administration required means more time being tied up with paperwork. So they are actually demanding an increase in the work required per patient. This is not sustainable.

Aren't Bupa simply trying to prevent overcharging?

There have certainly been cases in the past where practitioners (not necessarily osteopaths) have hiked their fees for insured patients. This is clearly unacceptable and is forbidden by our governing body, The General Osteopathic Council. It is not something we have ever done and we support efforts to prevent it. But Bupa's action goes beyond what is needed to deal with this potential problem and effectively means that uninsured patients would be charged at a higher rate - equally unacceptable.

I'm with Bupa - does this mean you won't treat me?

At The Ashgrove Clinic we will always do our best for all our patients, but unfortunately Bupa clients will no longer be able to recover their costs. You can rest assured however that you will receive the best possible care from us and that we will complete your course of treatment in as few sessions as possible.

What can I do about it?

Finding an osteopath, particularly one you know and trust, under the new rules is going to be more difficult for Bupa clients. If you are with Bupa and would like to register your concern, we suggest that you let them know. You can call them on 0845 609 0111, email them at customerrelations@bupa.com, or best of all, write to:

Dr Natalie-Jane MacDonald
Medical Director
BUPA Health & Wellbeing UK
Willow House
Pinetrees
STAINES
TW18 3DZ

What are the Alternatives to Bupa?

Almost all health insurers recognise osteopathy, not least because it is a more cost-effective way of addressing many problems than conventional options. We have been particularly impressed with the policies offered by WPA. They seem to offer affordable cover for medical, dental and optician expenses, and extremely good service. We have no financial interest in this company and receive no benefits of any sort from referrals, but if you would like to find out more, click here to see their website, or if you'd prefer to chat to someone, call Lynda Buntin on 07843 632594.

Our clinic is located in Higham Ferrers, close to Rushden, Northamptonshire.  We are also within easy reach of Wellingborough, Bedford, Kimbolton, Northampton and Kettering.

If you would like to learn more, or have any questions about which insurers do cover osteopathy, please contact us today.