Medical Travel Insurance

For a company that proclaims to universally provide medical insurance cover for those wanting to travel abroad and have pre-existing medical conditions, they seem to have alternative definitions, or a different understanding to me, of some basic terminology. I am sick, bored and exhausted, not from my disease, but from explaining that “median survival” does not mean “expiry date”.  The very youthful person at the other end of the phone, who sounds like she only left school a few weeks ago, sounds like she really does not understand the questions is asking. I wonder if she knows what cancer is, and if she know anyone who has it.

“Have you got a terminal prognosis?”  she asks with joy in her voice. I flippantly reply that we all have a terminal prognosis, as none of us will live forever. Then I told her the closed answer she wanted to hear to complete her on-screen questionnaire: “yes”. I explain that when I was diagnosed, in early November 2010, I was told that the median survival for people with my disease is 13.6 months from diagnosis. I go on to explain, I have completed my treatment, brain surgery, all six weeks of chemoradiation and all six months of chemotherapy. I explain that I am not typical of the demographic for those more frequently diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma, as I am both young, and female. I explain that I whilst on treatment I completed my first triathlon, then I ran a half marathon to celebrate the end of chemotherapy, and then to celebrate the finish line, I went to New Zealand and Australia, for six weeks, for which they,, insured me, albeit for a very handsome premium.

Yet, just over thirteen months after my diagnosis, as I approached the milestone that is the median survival for people with my disease, they would not insure me. It’s not “Good to go”, it’s “Good NOT to Go”, or “Better to Stay” insurance. Well, I am not impressed. I am not going to live my life, yes LIVE  MY LIFE in fear of a disease that I have. I am not going to be trapped and controlled by my disease and your lack of understanding of what a “median” is. I am already an outlier, and I am planning on being a far-outlier. I may be too much of a risk for them and their heartless computer-driven questionnaire, and their understanding of what median is, but I’m not too much of a risk for me. The risk to me, is not travelling and seeing my friends on the other side of the Atlantic.

So I went, without medical insurance. I flew. I got there safely. I had a wonderful time, and I got home safely. All medically uneventful. Perhaps even did me a favour and saved me the handsome premium, for which I now thank them.

Written in Somerset on 23/12/11


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