Health Policy That May Be Just What the Doctor Orders

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), May 14, 2000 | Go to article overview

Health Policy That May Be Just What the Doctor Orders


Byline: EDMUND TIRBUTT

AS a doctor, Elizabeth Finch was alarmed when she discovered that she had swollen glands. She also started suffering persistent tiredness.

Chronic fatigue syndrome was diagnosed within weeks, leaving her unable to continue working. It was only in February, more than three years later, that she was able to go back to work part-time.

Fortunately Elizabeth, 27, had taken out income protection insurance to safeguard against loss of earnings through long-term illness.

Her [pounds sterling]27-a-month Zurich Life policy, recommended by independent financial adviser Holden Meehan in London, started paying [pounds sterling]1,259 a month in May 1998 after the usual three-month waiting period.

Zurich Life has since helped to ease Elizabeth's return to work by paying her [pounds sterling]591 a month now she is working three days a week.

Its willingness to pay for rehabilitation treatment also helped her to make a quicker return to work than she had expected.

It met the costs of therapy to help her think positively and modify her lifestyle to conserve energy. She would have waited 18 months for this treatment on the NHS.

Elizabeth, who lives with her partner in Lindfield, West Sussex, says: 'I had no idea that rehabilitation therapy would be available under my policy.

The company just volunteered it.

'However, my financial adviser had told me that he was recommending good quality cover with some useful extras.

'Zurich has been supportive and this is important with a condition such as chronic fatigue syndrome.' Income protection insurers are aware that often, the longer people are off work, the less they feel able to return. So some companies continue paying reduced benefit to those who return part time.

They also pay for rehabilitation treatments to speed recovery. In some cases, this can even mean funding expensive private operations such as hip replacements.

If policyholders are unable to return to their original job, insurers may use occupational therapists and psychologists to assess what skills and aptitudes policyholders could use to change careers, and may pay for retraining. …

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