X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Real life

Real life

12 January 2013

9:00 AM

12 January 2013

9:00 AM

The Bupa Blooper. In years to come, that is how I shall refer to what happened when I inadvertently cancelled my health insurance policy, with what certain people seemed to think were hilarious consequences. It all began when my policy came up for renewal and I tried to change my direct debit mandate so that the monthly payments were taken from a different account. I know, that way madness lies. Never, ever change your direct debit for anything unless you are prepared to send the whole thing to hell in a handcart.

But they gave me the impression that changing my bank details would be perfectly straightforward. They sent me a form, I filled it in, posted it back in the pre-paid envelope, and waited a few weeks before cancelling the old direct debit, which I assumed was now defunct. I see now that to take such a trusting course of action was purest madness.

Three months later, I was going through my accounts when I realised that no money had been transferred to Bupa since the renewal date. I rang them in a state of apoplexy: ‘What on earth has happened to my policy since the payments stopped?’

‘What policy?’ said the deadpan Bupa operative.

‘My health policy. The one I’ve had for ten years.’

‘That policy has lapsed.’

It turns out that if you suddenly cancel your direct debit instruction, Bupa cancels your health policy without ringing to check there hasn’t been some mistake. Of course they don’t call to talk you round. Why should they ponder the reasons for you suddenly leaving them days after painstakingly negotiating your renewal? They can’t be expected to wonder whether they or the Royal Mail might have lost the blasted envelope with your new direct debit instruction inside.

After a lot of screaming, I was told to hold the line. When the man came back, he said: ‘We can restart the policy.’

‘Oh, thank god.’

‘We need to take back-payments.’

‘Take them! Take them!’

[Alt-Text]


‘And we need to ask you some questions.’

‘Ask away. Ask anything.’

‘Miss Kite, since the policy lapsed…’

‘Not lapsed. Don’t say lapsed. We’re putting it right, aren’t we? No need to use the L-word.’

‘Since the direct debit payments ceased…’

‘Ye-es…’

‘…have you been to see your GP for anything?’

‘Erm, oo, let me see. Well now, I did pop in to see him the other week but it turned out to be nothing. Silly me. I’m paranoid. That’s why I have health insurance.’

‘Miss Kite,’ he said, suspiciously, ‘we are going to need to know exactly what you went to your GP about.’

‘Oh, I don’t think there’s any need for that. It was nothing. Actually, I don’t even know how to explain it.’

I still don’t. All I can say is that sometimes a female hypochondriac goes to the doctor for some jolly embarrassing things. To spare my blushes now, let’s just imagine that I went to the doctor because I thought I had a problem with my foot. ‘But the doctor,’ I explained to Bupa, ‘assured me that I did not have a problem at all and was perfectly fine in all ways.’

‘Please hold the line. I’m going to have to speak to our risk assessors.’

He was gone ages and when he came back he said: ‘I’m afraid we are going to have to place an exclusion on your policy. From now on you are excluded for all conditions related to the problem with your foot.’

Naturally, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So I did both.

‘Please calm down. We may review the exclusion in a year’s time.’

But I was hysterical. ‘I know your game,’ I ranted. ‘Everything I get wrong with me from now on, you’re going to say it started in my foot. But my foot’s fine, I tell you! My foot has never been better!’

He started to make squeaking sounds. He couldn’t help it, of course. But I wasn’t going to let him off the hook. ‘I can tell you’re laughing,’ I said.

‘I’m not laughing.’ Squeak.

‘You’re laughing.’

‘I’m not laughing.’ Squeak.

‘I don’t know how you sleep at night. I hope my foot haunts your dreams.’ In the end, he all but begged me to let him get off the phone.

I spent the next few days barricaded in the house, convinced that if I went outside my uninsured foot would meet with a freak accident, hurling me on the mercy of my local NHS hospital where I would languish untreated on a trolley until my foot fell off entirely. Then, I pulled myself together, rang back and spoke to a very nice lady who agreed it was perfectly silly to exclude my foot for a condition I had imagined. So she lifted the exclusion immediately. Thank you, Blupa.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close