UK insurer plans cradle-to-grave cover

British United Provident Association announced on Wednesday that it will take 50 per cent of AXA Asia Pacific's health fund in Australia, and says that it hopes to open one-stop-shop medical centres here within a year. BUPA covers 5 million people worldwide for health insurance and in Britain runs 36 hospitals.

MD of international business, Dean Holden, said yesterday that BUPA wants to expand the role of private health insurance in Australia too and may move into diagnostic services and medical centres. This sort of expansion in Australia is now restricted by regulations, which the Government is currently reviewing, and Mr Holden said he would like to contribute to that review. Other health funds have already requested permission to expand into medical services outside hospitals.