I have to apologise in advance, this may end up a bit of a rant.
For more years of my life than not, I have been covered by a private health insurance policy. For someone who has a phobia of hospitals, this has been a true blessing. I have been able to undergo treatment I would have otherwise struggled with and my life is much more bearable because of it.
Until March this year, my policy has always been with one lovely private health company. If I, or anyone else in my family have required treatment, I have called them up and been given an authorisation code straight away. We have seen the consultant within a matter of days and all was fine and dandy.
In March, I was lured by the carrot of rewards. Half price trainers and bonuses for keeping fit and healthy. Giving all the marathon training I am doing, I decided to swap when my policy was up for renewal. I brought my half priced trainers and registered my Parkrun barcode. Everything seemed great.
At the end of May, I started to bleed after intercourse. First time it happened I sort of brushed it off. I already had an appointment booked with my GP in a couple of weeks to try and work out why my periods were getting longer and longer. I thought I was going through early menopause! The second time it happened, I was sh*t scared. The next morning I went to see the emergency doctor who reassured me it wasn’t likely to be cancer. She ordered a number of tests, scans and swabs and sent me away a little reassured. I didn’t hear anything from the tests, so assumed they were all clear.
I’d completely forgotten about the original appointment with my favourite running GP. That morning, I received a text reminder and then couldn’t get through to cancel it, so went along. I asked for the test results and as I suspected, they were all clear. So it was something I would have to get on with.
To my surprise, the doctor said “I think we should refer you to a consultant gynaecologist.” So she printed out the forms and I called the number to book. In all honesty, I thought it was a waste of time, but was curious as to why my gp had referred me, so went along.
My goodness I hate hospitals, I sat in the little conservatory waiting room shivering, I was so freaked out. Thank goodness no bandages or blood was in sight or I would have been on the floor.
The gynaecologist was lovely. She checked my cervix and told me the bleed after intercourse was due to some cells. She then asked me why I hadn’t come sooner regarding my irregular and heavy periods. “OK” I thought. “It’s not the first time I’ve brought up my horrid monthly cycle to my doctors.” In fact, I had had a pelvis scan a few years before, but was sent away with the all clear. (I must add here that I didn’t mention this on my underwriting, as I had completely forgotten about it as nothing came of it). Why wasn’t I told there were treatment options then? Permanent options, which would increase my quality of life. With a 97% success rate. OMG, the smile across my face must have been immense. Then the words “Are you going away anywhere in the next 3-4 months?” New York, I’m going to New York. I’m running New York Marathon. I can’t have surgery close to the marathon. What if something went wrong or I couldn’t run for a while. So I asked if it was possible to have the procedure under my private health. “Yes of course.” Came the answer.
Naive me, thinking my policy was fully underwritten, thought that my claim would be passed straight away – like it would have been with my previous insurers. I went away on holiday without a care in the world. My life was about to change.
Oh how wrong was I?! Thirteen days of being passed from pillar to post, not being told what the hell was going on, being treated like I am a liar, a fraud, someone who has signed up to the policy just to have this procedure done. Days of being put on hold endlessly to try and find out if they need any further information. Days of begging my GP surgery to fill out the six page document. Days of trying to keep my operation slot open until the last moment. Endless amounts of tears and upset. A subdued holiday. A stressful beginning to the summer holidays. For what – absolutely nothing!
I cancelled my policy with them today and went back to the health insurance company who care. They have excluded my procedure from the policy though.
If I had gone back to them two months ago, it wouldn’t have been excluded. If I had never left them, I would have been recovering from the procedure and looking forward to training and running NY without any gynaecological set backs. It’s not often I have regrets, but I do.
I also regret getting so wound up by it all. It doesn’t matter. Tomorrow I will contact my consultant and ask her to book me in for the middle of November – in a scary hospital looking hospital (trying not to think about that bit). It doesn’t matter. There are far worse things going on in the world right now.
The lesson I’ve learnt. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it and if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!