Bupa Australia is a large player in Australia's health insurance market
Submitted by Financial Adviser on Thu, 01/12/2012 - 22:33
We are often asked about Bupa, Bupa Australia, Bupa Care, Bupa health insurance and why Bupa bought the Sydney-based MBF Health Fund.
Australian health insurance companies are popular with investors as aging population pushes demand for healthcare and the government supporting private health insurance through taxation and immigration policies.
British United Provident Association Limited (‘Bupa’) is a private company limited by guarantee. Bupa, the UK healthcare group, started in 1947, when 17 British provident associations merged to offer public healthcare. Initially Bupa provided private medical insurance to 38,000 and is now the largest independent health insurance firm in the UK. Bupa Group now provides services to 33 million people across 190 countries.
Bupa opened its first hospital in 1979 and expanded into health screening, care homes and retirement homes, both in the UK and globally. In 1976 Bupa entered Hong Kong market then Spain in 1989 after it bought Sanitas, the Spanish largest private health insurer.
In 2001 Bupa added the Previlabor and Laborservis companies offering health and safety in Spanish workplace. Bupa now controls around 23% of the Spanish health insurance market. In 1996 Bupa started in Thai and Irish healthcare markets, started Bupa Arabia Middle East in 1997 and Bupa Australia in 2003, when together with Macquarie bank it bought Axa Health Insurance, then 3rd largest health insurer from Axa Asia Pacific Holdings for $595 million.
In 1998 Bupa developed its own nursing agency, Bupa Healthcare Professionals and Bupa Nursing by joining several nursing agencies, including Goldsborough Nursing Services.
Bupa got interested in childcare and bought Kent’s Brampton Day Nursery in 1999 and 40 Teddies Nurseries in 2000 and another 10 children's nurseries in 2004. Same year Bupa bought group of quality care homes in Cumbria and Vista Healthcare Asia, a large player in primary healthcare, day surgery and diagnostics in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, China and Malaysia. Bupa acquired US and Mexico-based IHI Danmark and Amedex in 2005, and Clinovia (now Bupa Home Healthcare), the UK's home healthcare specialist in 2006, DCA Aged care Group in Australia and New Zealand in 2007. Bupa is active in the Indian health insurance market through Max Bupa Health Insurance Limited, a JV with Max India.
In August 2002 Bupa Australia formed MCGI a joint venture alliance with IAG (Insurance Australia Group). Bupa expanded aggressively and in December 2007 it took over MBF Australia with a bid $2.41bn, then Australia’s second-largest private health insurance company in attempt to compete with the government-owned Medibank Private.
According to Bloomberg, Sydney-based MBF Health Fund initially planned IPO though ASX listing as preferred option and anticipated the value of $1.5 billion. At the time MBF Australia, had 19% of Australian health insurance market, covering 2 million people in Australia. Bupa Australia grew absorbing 3 million policy holders via MBF, HBA and Mutual Community.
In Australia, Bupa Care offers residential aged care at 47 facilities to 4,000 residents and employs over 4,000 staff. In 2010, Bupa Australia launched Bupa Health Dialog, a telephone based coaching service. Health Dialog started in 1997 in Massachusetts, USA and Bupa acquired it fully for $775 million in 2007.
Same year Bupa bought Health Eyewear Pty Ltd, after running a 2-year JV Bupa Australia and Blink Optical Pty Ltd. Bupa now runs 27 Blink Optical outlets in 5 Australian states. Also in 2010 Bupa acquired PEAK Health Management, a corporate wellness businesses offering : corporate health checks, corporate wellness services, onsite gymnasium and fitness services, corporate massage, telephonic health coaching, executive and pre-employment medicals, vaccination and health Intervention programs.