It is now time to share one of the longest running sagas of my Myeloma. A long running dispute which has only been partially resolved at the very end of our time in Tanzania. The saga is a testament to my wife’s dogged determination in the face of intransigence and against a backdrop where it often seemed that giving up was the only option. In the end we won but we lost. More successful than if we’d not tried but ultimately dissatisfied. On its website Jubilee make the following statement
For over 75 years, Jubilee Insurance has built a rich heritage of enriching lives by offering insurance solutions that make life carefree and rewarding.
Our story makes it clear that this is far from reality.
The story starts in Nairobi, where I had my MRI back in April. Having arrived at the Aga Kahn hospital we immediately invoked our Jubilee Health Insurance policy and were fast tracked into the system. I was assessed and an appointment made for the following week. I had my MRI scan but when it came to payment the Jubilee refused to pay the full amount claiming we had exceeded the outpatient limit of 2,500,000TzS (approximately £860) – we were left to pay the remainder.
The following day I was assessed by an Orthopaedic Surgeon and the Myeloma diagnosed. I was at that point admitted into the hospital for tests. This is where I spent Easter Weekend. My Jubilee Insurance also covers inpatient treatment and so although I had exhausted my outpatient limit it wasn’t going to be a problem or so I thought.
As the weekend proceeded it became apparent that the Jubilee were deferring. We enlisted the help of a locally based expat to help us to navigate the complex hospital billing system, but the Jubilee were adamant that they would not pay the full bill. They asserted that the condition was chronic (untreatable or already in the body prior to diagnosis – which of course would be true of any diagnosis and therefore enables Jubilee to not pay for any medical condition) and as such did not qualify for full cover. It was at this point we decided we had to leave and I had to return to the UK. We were left with a hefty bill just to leave hospital.
Arriving back in Tanzania, my wife has since fought these decisions. Initially approaching my school (whose insurance policy it was) to get a breakdown of the policy.
Reading the small print it stated clearly that diagnostic testing was covered up to 10,000,000TzS (approximately £3400) well above the amount we had paid. Furthermore the outpatient cover for a newly diagnosed disease was also above what we had paid out.
The bone of contention was Jubilee’s absolute insistence that Myeloma was chronic – and therefore diagnostic tests would not be covered – an absurdity. On this basis they continued to argue they would not pay. Many many meetings with the brokers who were very supportive of our position but seemingly powerless to move Jubilee’s position. Finally this week an offer to pay some of the bill. This was presented as a take it or leave it proposition. This would still have left us short by a significant amount so what to do. I was unhappy to give in and so approaching the school we asked them to engage their lawyers in the situation.
Further meetings and finally, two days before my wife left, an agreement to pay an additional sum (up to my outpatient limit including doctor fees). This still leaves us short by about 1 million TzS (approximately £350). We will never get this back we have been told. Jubilee are a big company who can afford to pay lawyers to win their case, should we take them to court. This is the best we will get.
The company concerned is The Jubilee Insurance Company of Tanzania Ltd. They claim to be a trustworthy company but following my experience I make no bones about my assertion that this company are charlatans who will avoid paying out what they owe. All illnesses are considered to be chronic irrespective of when they are diagnosed and they will never make good on their 10,000,000TzS inpatient care plan regardless of what their policy says. To anyone travelling to Africa, and in particular Tanzania, don’t use a local insurance company, and if your employer offers you this, take out your own policy anyway.