Monday, 23 January 2012

How Bupa doesn't help you find healthy

I hoped to write a better entry today but feel I need to share my recent wrangling with Bupa as it is just another example of what my life is all about now, what I am forced to explain and relive and the distinct lack of comprehension and compassion there is towards us silent Mums and Dads as well as preciously little help and support.

So I have just returned from another whistle stop, multi-leg, business trip to eye on the kitchen table the acceptable pile of post waiting for me.  Contained therein was the 'response' that I had been awaiting from Bupa on how they could help me with my situation. 

Before I go on to recount this whole painful scenario it, of course, goes without saying that my circumstances are 'exceptional', we all know how I have redefined that word in the last year. So the reason I contacted them in the first place is that I believed that this kind of situation would be exactly where that investment I have been faithfully making into a Private Healthcare plan should come into its own.  Needless to say I was wrong, and on receiving this latest 'official response' I am left wondering why on earth I waste my money paying to them? Since this whole life changing and difficult experience started they have done nothing but pull me through a mill of heartbreaking and emotionally difficult conversations and justifications with an organisation that doesn't care. 

The odd thing is that my NHS consultants and I are very clear about what they can cover and can't cover on the National Health Service and all my contributions to this side of healthcare has nothing but delivered so far.   With such a clear distinction one would have thought that Bupa would be picking up where NHS have to leave off, which so far is just a small but significant part of the proposed treatment plan being put into place.  Straight forward, right?  Nope - wrong!

A had a very clear request to Bupa 'would they help me with costs towards seeing a recurrent miscarriage specialist if the need arose?' (I know the waiting times for these with the NHS are extraordinarily long) and would they consider paying any money towards the cost of treatment that the NHS indicate they cannot cover?  Two very simple questions.  Now for the explosion of crap I have been through to get a non-response. 

Firstly check their policy, good luck to anyone that understands that - it reads like a manual to French grammar whereby there are more exceptions to their policies it is difficult to separate the direct contradictions.  The main clause is that 'Pregnancy and Childbirth are not covered' but then look to the page on the right and read the exceptions; except in the case of miscarriage, stillbirth, etc etc.  Oh - not to mention Caesarean delivery, never known anyone needing one of those unless they were pregnant!

OK - so from what I understand I definitely and categorically fit into a number of their 'exception' clauses.  So off I went ringing their 0845 number, only three calls later speaking to telephone representatives that lack any kind of sensitivity training in this matter, I was able to get them past the main clause to be informed that in order for them to consider paying for a private referral I would need three consecutive stillbirths as they did not differentiate between stillbirth and miscarriage - yep.  I was actually told this on the phone.  I then had to spend a week sending them the legal definition and explaining the differences between stillbirth and miscarriage and why one stillbirth equates to three miscarriages according to NICE guidelines.  Of course it made me cry!  It was tremendously painful being put in a situation where I was expected to explain this, not to mention expensive time on the phone.

I escalated the issue, to their supposed Customer Care department.  I expected at least someone to call me and ask me for further information.  No one did, in the end I called them and offered more explanation on my side as to why I believed I fell into their exception clauses as well as the aforementioned reason why I really, really didn't want to have to go through a third stillbirth before they should help.  I was told that things would escalate to another person further up.

Nothing, no answer to nearly six weeks, no follow-up, nothing.  Today a letter in the post what clearly shows that Mr Hunter Customer Relations Manager who never made direct contact with me and who clearly didn't understand my request looking at the content of the absolutely appalling response which should read: 

"Dear Mrs C, 
You can absolutely tell from the tone of this letter that I have never lost a child and couldn't give a crap about your circumstances.  
We heard you have been diagnosed with CHI, we have no idea what this means and even though we made you explain until you cried on the phone we weren't really listening because you can see in this letter that I still don't really know what your enquiry is about and can't be bothered to contact you to find out.  
Basically it sounds really complicated to us and being an insurance company we always prefer to never help if at all possible so are writing to  tell you we don't give a monkey's whatsit about you enquiry and enjoying putting you through hell on the phone my making you explain in minute detail what you have been through in the past year.  We are not going to cover you because when it sounds complicated we just say we don't cover Pregnancy and Childbirth, if you have a problem with that go to the Financial Ombudsman and explain you whole crappy story over again to them.  

Oh by the way don't forget to see you GP about what's available on the NHS"

Perhaps if I had sent them this, all that is left being when your baby dies, a box full of memories while Bupa steals hope
I mean seriously, of course I am seeing my GP!  I told them I had an NHS Consultant.  No apologies for their shortfall in comprehension, no explanation of what the exception clauses are in the policy if it is indeed the case of the above blanket statement.  No real offer to help, not even to suggest other areas they could help me out.  

So far away from helping me find healthy Bupa are officially helping me find unhealthy...............I hope their psychiatric care is comprehensive.  Stealers of hope, I am writing back to you shortly.

Read my next entry to find out the clause that will help you gain some co-operation! Bupa Turnaround


Becky said...

WOW! That sucks! I thought my insurance company had issues but yours sounds like a bunch of heartless a$$holes.
I'm sorry to hear you have to deal with this, it just adds to the unfairness of it all.

Claudia said...

Universal fail......however your line sums it up in one. Not really sure what Private insurance is for over here......paying money for punishment for seems....

Hannah Rose said...

Your blogger header is AMAZING!

I found your blog on Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. I am very sorry for your losses. I have twin brothers and my best friend is a triplet, so I have a soft spot in my heart for multiples. I too lost my baby, Lily Katherine, who was stillborn at fullterm on March 16, 2010. Although I wish nobody else had to know this pain, it's good to know I'm not alone and there are people who "get it." I'd love to have you follow along on my blog as well:

Blessings, Hannah Rose

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