MEDIBANK PRIVATE - DISCRIMINATION
Medibank Private is my private health insurance company which I pay $3,076 per annum to. Mind you for many services that I don't use and need, just because of the way the 'packages' are structured. However because of the NMO disease, I really feel that it's something I can't not have. To give you an example, I had a procedure done last year where I was in a private hospital for half a day, and the room alone cost $1,000 for the day!
Around about July I received a letter stating that Flybuys points would no longer be associated with the Medibank payments as of 1st September 2016, UNLESS you could prove you did 10,000 steps or more a day. I was slightly miffed as it was a 2 fold situation for me:-
- I used to collect quite a few points on my Flybuys accounts rather quickly because of the Medibank points (and other means). I use these points for movie tickets for at $18.50 with concession, it's handy not paying for expensive movies.
- The 2nd reason being that I am unable to walk therefore how can I possibly prove I walked 10,000 steps a day??!! Even though I exercise for 2 hours a day? The word DISCRIMINATION came to my mind immediately.
I called Medibank and lodged a complaint. I knew this would go to their complaints department and that someone would contact me, which they did. It took about 3 phone calls from a very nice woman, Victoria, before she actually got the message re what I was complaining about. It actually wasn't the movie tickets, but the discrimination. Then there was silence for a few weeks. I knew things had started to go pear shaped behind the scenes due to the magnitude of the blunder the 2 companies had made. I called and left a few messages for Victoria however she was "always in meetings". Then suddenly one night I thought, "use Facebook". I found Medibank's Facebook page, and well here is what happened from there.
13/09/2016 THIS IS WHAT I WROTE -
I have been a member for many many years and very loyal. I have a rare disease and became a paraplegic 6.5 years ago. I have top hospital and extras cover because of my disease and thus pay $just over $3,000 AUD per year. I don't work any more because of the disease so that's heaps of money! I received a letter from Medibank on 22/07/2016 saying that as of 01/09/16 the 2 companies would no longer let me link my accounts to collect 1 point for every $3 spent on health insurance premiums. UNLESS I COULD PROVE I DID 10,000 STEPS A DAY USING A FITBIT/JAWBONE (and they list acceptable devices). I CALLED ON 07/09/16 AND FILED A COMPLAINT RE DISCRIMINATION as I EXERCISE FOR MINIMUM 2 HOURS A DAY 7 DAYS A WEEK!!! I have left messages, called the Solutions department and am still waiting for an answer. This will now be referred to The Equal Opportunities Commission. I THINK IT IS DESPICABLE TREATMENT as it would cover so many people. Has anyone had the same issue?
14/09/2016 - MEDIBANK REPLIED ON FACEBOOK -
Hi Lou, we’re really sorry to hear this feedback from you and want to apologise for any inconvenience experienced by the removal of the Flybuys premium points.
Please note that the removal of premium points has been points been discontinued for all Medibank members and the points for walking 10,000 steps a day is not a replacement program, this was something that we did already have in place. We aim to create a range of different types of loyalty programs for all members, such as earning 3 points per $1 spent on fresh fruit and veg every time you shop at Coles and can you can also get discounts on Pet, Travel and Life insurance.
We really appreciate your loyalty with us and thank you for being a member for so many years.
We’re always looking for new and exciting ways to better reward our members, so we’ll keep you updated on new initiatives and partnerships. You can also read more about our different loyalty programs on this page:https://www.medibank.com.au/.../rewarding-your-loyalty.../
Apologies again for the inconvenience caused. Kindly, Sam.
14/09/2016, MY REPLY TO SAM -
Thanks for getting back to me Sam. I totally understand all that you have said, as well as have looked at the website, and know it's not a replacement program with the 10,000 steps per day. However my main question and concern has been the discrimination around achieving the 10,000 steps per day. I have a Jawbone, and like I said exercise for at least 2 hours a day, which means I'm moving and staying healthy, however I don't qualify because I can't walk? It's discrimination. Your site says - Link your wireless activity tracking device
Medibank and flybuys members can also collect points for enjoying a more active lifestyle.
Link an eligible Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone or Polar wireless activity tracking device and collect 10 flybuys points every day you reach 10,000 steps#. And That comes under the Loyalty section. Sam can you get back to me re this please, thanks so much.
15/09/2016, REPLY FROM SAM -
Hi Lou, thanks so much for getting in touch with us about your concerns. We have recorded your feedback about the Flybuys active points and are terribly, terribly sorry that we have made you feel like you were being discriminated against. We would like to offer you a $50 credit on your premiums as compensation for the frustration caused. $50 is equal to 10,000 Flybuys Points - so more than what you could earn in a few years of earning active steps (eg. 3600 per year). We're really sorry again for the frustration this has caused you and we've listened keenly to your feedback. So that we can apply this for you, could you please reply with your membership number, full name, date of birth and address? We are working on new rewards programs and will be in contact if we have further information about this in the future. Kindly, Sam.
I ignored this response as I was so insulted by the $50 credited they wanted to "offer" me, I couldn't believe it. Nothing happened for about 3 weeks, and I just dug my heels in as I knew that because they hadn't heard back from me, they were worried about what I was doing. Then suddenly Victoria from the solutions department called me out of the blue again. The person who had been in all those meetings when I had called her in back in July.
Her offer was this - They were very sorry, again, for what had happened and were unable to change it at this stage, however going forward they'd not make the same mistake again. I thought to myself at that stage, that I wasn't going to win this one, however it was great to have been able to make a scene and a serious point in relation to discrimination. Not only standing up for wheelchair users but the elderly and all other people that aren't able to do 10,000+ steps per day, however may be fit and even healthier than someone who can.
They offered me a bulk 10,000 points which I took as I thought it was much better than $50 credit towards the $3,000+ I pay p/a, (what a joke, I am still laughing). Those points finally came through on 05/10/2016. It's amazing to think that it took 3 months for that complaint to be heard and semi-resolved, and had I not had access to 1 component of social media, I would still be waiting! Am loving the power of social media :)
The ALDI/WOOLWORTHS AND COLES story.
I was reading a great article on a site I look at called My Modern Met, and came across a wonderful story. It was about a lady in America who had a disabled son, who designed a wonderful shopping trolley which enabled her son to go shopping with her at the supermarket.
This is the link - http://www.carolinescart.com/
I thought it'd be a great idea for our supermarkets here as well. Being on a roll after the Medibank situation, on 18/10/16 I jumped on the 3 supermarket companies Facebook pages and left a message, with the link to the site, for them to consider. I heard back from Aldi and Coles.
Here are their responses.
18 October at 13:31
Hi Lou. Thank you for your feedback, we'll let the team know you'd love to see Caroline Cart Trolleys available in ALDI stores. Thanks for posting.
24 October at 09:21
Hi Lou, thanks for taking the time to get in touch and we appreciate your suggestion. Some of our stores do already stock additional needs trolleys to assist those who need them. Can you please confirm your local store so we can follow up whether they have one available? If they don't, then we would be able to put a request in with our Trolley Team to try and get one in for you.
WOOLWORTHS - Nothing
Out of all 3 I felt that Coles had made the most effort. I haven't had a chance to reply as yet as have had a bug this week. I'll keep you posted on that story if there are any updates. A friend of mine also commented that she to had seen the story and had contacted her local Aldi story. She said that they'd basically fobbed her off and weren't interested at all! Wow....
Am loving the power of Social Media......................
In a wheelchair permanently since early 2010 due to a disease called NMO. I am loving getting out and about in my wheels. My blogs capture my journey.