Friday, 26 August 2016

Insurance for cancer sufferers

Remember that painful advert from a few years back - "Tax doesn't have to be taxing?" (yeah, right....try saying that to the millions of self employed people there are out there...)  well, one of the things that kept Amanda's ever present positivity since she was told she was terminally ill last October was getting one last chance to visit our beloved villa that we're very fortunate to have in Spain. 

As the winter passed and various life rollercoasters were negotiated, we were finally provided with the OK to travel by our local medical team. One thing that many of us take for granted is travel insurance. However, as many with longstanding medical issues will testify to, you're likely to be quoted ludicrously high prices for travel insurance by most insurers.

I'd already done some preliminary research over a year ago before Amanda's situation deteriorated and wasn't overly surprised to find that some companies were quoting upwards to £2,500 for a European 15 day trip. This quote was competitive compared to many, with some insurers even refusing to provide quotes such as was the risk factor that serious medical issues seemingly attract. In July 2015, I saw a Facebook post which had gone viral. In the post, a woman had gone into detail in describing how difficult it had been to try and obtain affordable travel insurance until she came to find out about a company called Insurancewith.  To date, the Facebook post has attracted over 170,000 shares.

So, many months after seeing this post for the first time, I called Insurancewith in April 2016. It took nearly 70 minutes to go through all the details given the complexity of Amanda's medical history (recent and past) and
 the ridiculously high number of medications that she is still taking. After referral to the medical underwriting team, they were able to offer a policy for cover for a little over £100. Yes - just over £100. I suspect many regular travellers pay more for their two week summer insurance policy than that. They were very patient and understanding throughout the quote process and we were delighted that we wouldn't have bear the brunt of Amanda's medical record. We received a similar quotation for our trip to Spain in August 2016.
Insurancewith started business back in 2007 when professional insurance broker Fiona Macrae was unable to find travel insurance at a reasonable price which also covered her cancer diagnosis. Read more about Fiona's story here.

We've not had to claim on the policy thankfully, but we're relieved that Insurancewith have enabled us to have affordable easily accessible holiday insurance in light of Amanda's pre existing medical conditions.

Also, if you're travelling to Europe anytime soon, make sure you take or obtain your European Health Insurance Card before you travel. It (currently) entitles the card holder to free or discounted medical treatment at state-run hospitals and GPs in any European Union country, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Find out more about it here. 

Dean (Amanda's husband)

Friday, 19 August 2016

The roller coaster of life

The last few weeks have been a roller coaster ride that even Alton Towers could not match. First I lost my brilliant, witty and whimsical Mum. I feel her loss very deeply but manage to remember the many good times, the love and the laughter. In quiet moments I reflect on her life and legacy. At other times my head is so full of thoughts that I feel like they are going to burst out of my ears.

Alongside the lows, as most of you know, I experienced a miraculous high: my great news about my 'upgrade' from 'terminal' to just 'secondary'. I celebrate every day and thank God for the reprieve I have been given.

In addition, we also made a difficult decision this week to clear out my late sister Steph's bedroom; a task that was long overdue. Amongst the precious mementoes were some real treasures, a padlocked diary, a hand-made book of '80s song lyrics and a guide to our top secret 'Butterfly Club' (founder members, Steph's best friend Karen, me and my sister).

So, as always, there have been some beautiful moments, some time for sadness and the slightly receding, but omni-present shadow of cancer.

To paraphrase a well known song lyric, I've been getting by with the help of my amazing husband, extra-special Dad and wonderful friends. Let's hope, to labour the metaphor, that I can remain on track.