Check your medical and travel insurance policies as yet another British national is cheated of cover in dire need

I am getting heartily fed up of hearing about insurance companies refusing to pay out for medical conditions. I posted only in January of two policies which did not cover the very thing that is needed, one of them a travel insurance policy that covered treatment only in state hospitals despite the broker knowing the tourists were going to an area where there were only private hospitals, and the other a medical insurance policy that covered treatment only in private hospitals required for police registration, and so needing to be fully comprehensive, and where the company refused to pay because the required specialist only worked in a state hospital and the policy’s small print covered only private hospitals. Both were assured when they took out the policies that everything would be covered.

Now, the news in the UK and in Tenerife is full of the case of Elaine Ruddick, a 57-year-old British woman who is currently fighting for her life in Tenerife with her over-50s travel insurance company refusing to pay because of “a technicality”. These people had travel insurance, and the woman is suffering from a virus which came to light four days after her arrival here on 15 April: it is now endangering her life to such an extent that she is in HUC’s Intensive Care Unit. Although she suffered a stroke four years ago, she was not aware of any existing illness when she travelled, and her husband is now trying to raise funds to pay bills understandably presented by the hospital.

Please for your own safety and security ensure that your policies cover public and private system treatment, and check when taking out the policy what “technicalities” might allow the company to turn their back on you when you most need the service for which they will certainly have charged you handsomely.

Meanwhile Elaine Ruddick and her husband Charles are in Tenerife, hoping she will recover, and that they will be able to raise the funds to pay the fees from the hospital which the insurance policy they took out is refusing to fund, currently €7,500 and growing.

6 Comments

  1. Shameful in the extreme. I would imagine that 99.999% of those taking out policies do so in good faith; after all, who in their right mind would fraudulently take out a policy to achieve treatment in a country where they can’t speak the language? I also have a friend who was sold a policy as a condition of obtaining residence here, and when it came to the crunch, the company (Adeslas) refused to pay. I think it does not matter now much you try to protect yourself, they will refuse to pay. Though they’re quite happy to accept thousands from you for “coverage”.

  2. Quite simply, these days, is is not worth taking out insurance for ANYTHING (except mandatory house and car) as the hassle of trying to get paid will put you in hospital!

  3. Janet, there is one thing I don’t understand: being an EU citizen in a public hospital due to an emergency, why do they have to pay anything at all? Doesn’t it get covered by the European sanitary Card?

  4. Author

    Yes, except in private or part private hospitals, which the Green Clinic is. They will only accept an EHIC if there is no other insurance, so the minute any patient presenting with insurance admits the fact, they will not accept the EHIC … even as a second choice if the insurance subsequently refuses to cover the bill.

  5. Author

    I do actually think that sometimes “go to the papers” is the best advice one can give …

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