In­surer handed me £500 bill

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A few months ago, my GP ad­vised that fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­lat­ing to “pan­cre­atic ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties” were re­quired as soon as pos­si­ble. Sadly, I lost my wife to ovar­ian can­cer just over four years ago, es­sen­tially be­cause the di­ag­no­sis came too late. There­fore, I, and es­pe­cially my chil­dren, felt that ur­gency was im­per­a­tive.

The hospi­tal that was near­est and could of­fer the quick­est ap­point­ment was not an op­tion, ac­cord­ing to my health in­sur­ance pol­icy de­tails. The other hospi­tal at which I was el­i­gi­ble for full cover lost the record of an ap­point­ment I had made. Sub­se­quently, it was put un­der spe­cial mea­sures. I found both these fac­tors off­putting.

I was then ad­vised by Health-on-Line, my health in­surer, that if I paid 40pc of the costs, it would pay the re­main­der for me to go to the hospi­tal of my choice. This was con­firmed by email.

Now, though, it has re­neged on the fig­ure it quoted, claim­ing that there was a £500 ex­cess on the pol­icy that I should have known about. I don’t dis­pute I did but it should have made this clear when I asked: “What will be the costs I will have to bear?” PO, EAST YORKS

You were in­sured with Health-on-Line, which is part of Axa PPP Health­care, and is some­thing of a bud­get op­tion.

A lot of to­ing and fro­ing had gone on about the costs in­volved and, for ex­am­ple, what kind of CAT scan you would have. Along the way, it seems that rather a lot was lost in trans­la­tion. The bill the hospi­tal sent to you was £923, which was £500 more than you had ex­pected be­cause you hadn’t thought the ex­cess would be ap­plied to the in­surer’s amount.

Health-on-Line said it re­minded you on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions that this £500 ex­cess ap­plied to the claim. How­ever, af­ter dis­cussing this with me it does be­lieve it could have been clearer when it re­sponded to you about the hospi­tal costs and your share of the bill. In light of this, it is pay­ing you £500 as a ges­ture of good­will.

You have now stopped the pol­icy and be­gun self-in­sur­ing. The £500, along with the £90 you were spend­ing each month on pre­mi­ums, is be­ing ring-fenced should you ever need funds for med­i­cal treat­ment. How­ever, af­ter wait­ing for three hours with no sign of the bailiffs, I even­tu­ally learned that they had gone to the wrong place. The bailiffs’ of­fice ac­knowl­edges that the mis­take was not mine but theirs. Nat­u­rally, the lock­smith charged for his time.

I sent his £120 bill to the bailiffs ask­ing them to re­im­burse me. In spite of chas­ing them, I have had no re­sponse. SS, LON­DON

Fur­ther to my con­tact­ing the HM Courts and Tri­bunals Ser­vice, it in­ves­ti­gated the mat­ter. Its spokesman said: “We have in­ves­ti­gated the mat­ter and apol­o­gise for the in­con­ve­nience caused. We will be of­fer­ing a full re­im­burse­ment to the in­di­vid­ual con­cerned.”

You re­ceived the pay­ment a month af­ter my ap­proach.

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