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“Hidden costs - stressful and upsetting process”

Written on: 12/08/2015

I have BUPA insurance through work and when I was referred for Varicose Vein treatment, thought it would make sense to use my insurance. I called BUPA and at each stage explained that I wasn't sure what the process was and that I'd never used private health insurance before, and each time they failed to tell me what I needed to do, or what pitfalls I needed to look out for in managing the costs of this straightforward treatment. The process was held up by the fact that they didn't tell me about the forms they needed completing, and didn't send them to me until I'd been chasing them for authorisation for about 2 weeks. This then resulted in lots of last minute chasing around so that I could actually keep the surgery date I'd been given. I was advised that my consultant was "Fee Assured" and that his charges would definitely be covered, so it seemed safe to assume the cost of this straightforward procedure would be covered by my insurance - only to find out that a standard ultrasound scan had used up most of my outpatient allowance and I would have to pay the additional amount for consultations before and after the surgery myself. I was told before I went into my pre-op assessment that this would be covered under the procedure costs and BUPA would therefore cover this, but then told after I came out that it would be classed as out-patient care and I'd have to pay for it myself - I still don't know which of these they'll do. I wasn't told that the Anesthetist fee was something I'd need to check separately to make sure it was within their charging guidelines - someone else warned me about this just in time. It's been the most stressful and worrying lead up to treatment I've ever experienced. I could have waited and been treated on the NHS without any of this anxiety. BUPA have just left me to try to work my way through this minefield without guidance, often giving conflicting advice, clocking up unexpected debts and with no support. If their cover doesn't stretch to something this straightforward I'd hate to think what happens with more complex conditions. It's worse than useless. My overwhelming impression of BUPA - it's all about the money and nothing to do with your health or wellbeing.

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