A pretty musician is fuming after health insurance company Bupa revoked her travel insurance – because she has bipolar disorder.
Elizabeth Watson, 30, had planned on a week’s holiday to Marbella, Spain, with family in September after suffering severe acid reflux and other health problems.
She has already disclosed other medical conditions and had paid a £21 fee when she casually dropped the condition into conversation.
But the customer service assistant immediately cancelled Elizabeth’s insurance and would not listen to her pleas, even when she offered to pay a higher premium.
Elizabeth, a DJ and social media manager from Earlsfield, south west London, said: “I was going away to Spain during the first week of September with my family because I have not been too well and suffering really bad acid reflux.
“My health insurance with Bupa and I phoned them and we went through all of the details of the medication I’m on and they said it was all fine and nothing was high risk and they sent me the medical certificate.
“Because I had gone into such much detail about my medical stuff I didn’t see bipolar as a medical condition.
“Once I’d mentioned it they started asking me questions and if I had been hospitalised in the last two years, which I haven’t, and asked if I was on medication for bipolar which I am.
“She said I could not been given insurance because I’m on medication for it.
“I felt angry, upset and worried about my holiday plans.
“She said ‘unfortunately there is nothing we can do now’ and I said does it make a difference if I pay a higher premium and she said no.”
Elizabeth claims Bupa is marginalising a third of the British polulation who have been diagnosed with mental illness.
She has now organised a petition signed by more than 55,000 people calling to stop insurance companies from discriminating against mental health.
Thankfully Bupa refunded the DJ her £21 but her bipolar meant she was forced to pay £66 for travel insurance through Freedom, who specialise in insurance for those with pre-exisiting medical conditions.
Elizabeth added: “I think this is complete discrimination, I heard nothing back until yesterday, a whole month later.
“They said other prior existing conditions cause a higher risk but if I hadn’t declared the bipolar I would have been absolutely fine to travel.
“Since I have started the petition the people who have signed are now commenting and sharing their stories and this is a massive issue throughout all insurance companies.
“Thankfully I did manage to go to Spain but had to book it through Freedom and paid £66.”
Bupa have since been forced to apologised for the distressed caused to Elizabeth.
Richard Norris, Director of Consumer Insurance, Bupa UK: “We’re sorry for the distress we have caused Ms Watson. We can and do cover mental health conditions such as bipolar.
“We aim to give our customers the most comprehensive cover possible, including mental health conditions where possible.
“We screen our Premier and Gold travel insurance customers for physical and mental health conditions to check whether we can provide coverage for any pre-existing conditions while they’re abroad.
“We continually review our travel insurance cover based on customer feedback.”