Americans are very familiar with the fact that insurance companies will use any excuse to get out of paying benefits. But this story out of the UK shows that we are not alone in how insurance companies treat us.
Sharon Halls was in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, along with her partner Daniel Compton, for the wedding of a friend. While there, Halls, who was just shy of 27 weeks pregnant, went into labor and delivered her daughter about 14 weeks early.
British citizens, of course, have government provided health care when at home. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) also has reciprocal agreements with some other countries to cover health care expenses when British citizens travel to those countries. But the Dominican Republic does not have one of those agreements.
Not to worry, though. The NHS advises Britons to take out travel insurance to protect against medical expenses while abroad. That is exactly what Halls did. But now Halls is finding out that her travel insurance company may not pay the medical bill, which could reach as much as $300,000. Why? Because of the time difference between the UK and the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic is in the Atlantic Time Zone, currently five hours behind British Summer Time. According to the Daily Mail, Infinity Insurance Solutions, that provided Halls with her travel policy, says that they may not pay her expenses because her 29-week policy period had expired, based on UK time.
Evie was born on September 28, after Halls was rushed to a private hospital for an emergency C-section. But before doctors could perform the operation, the baby arrived. After the birth, Infinity contacted Halls to tell her that they might not pay her expenses, because in the UK, the coverage period had already expired. The company advised Halls to move Evie to a public hospital, which she did.
Halls says she was shocked at conditions in the public hospital, that doesn’t appear to be equipped to care for premature babies. According to Halls, the hospital is dirty, and she was given a breast pump to use that she says was not properly sterilized. No one at the hospital speaks English, and her partner is not allowed in the room with her when she visits Evie, so friends say Halls is feeling very alone. She wants to get Evie back to the private hospital, but doctors have advised her that if Evie needs to remain there for as much as 16 weeks, the bill will approach $300,000.
Halls and Compton have set up a GoFundMe page to try and raise money to move Evie to the private hospital, until they can get her home to the UK. That account has raised almost £53,000 (about $80,000) in only one day.
Featured image via GoFundMe