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R Mangharam- ()     11/24/2002 00:01 AM
 


The Problem:
I had to undergo treatment for my knee starting in November 2001. I was unable to walk more than a few steps or climb stairs without extreme pain in my right knee. I consulted the Pittsburgh hospital who diagnosed the problem but were unable to treat is due to non-payment of claims from Mercury International, UK. The total claim amount is $2,994. The hospitals have filed complaints to credit collection agencies that harass me weekly. I am a student on scholarship and cannot afford to pay this large an amount.

Sequence of Events:
I consulted the Carnegie Mellon University health center (as required by New India Assurance policy) on September 5, 2001. The university nurse identified the problem to be serious, and recommended an Orthopedic Surgeons’ Clinic. The orthopedic surgeon’s clinic in Pittsburgh did a diagnosis (starting September 7, 2001) and advised immediate physical therapy and arthroscopic surgery. I filed an initial claim in November 2001 to Mercury International and a follow up claim on May 18, 2002. Following the initial filing, the doctor filed the claim (four times) too as no reply was delivered to my filing. No acknowledgement or claim was received by either me or the doctors’ office. I was billed for all the diagnostic charges and no treatment was rendered due to non-payment of insurance claims. The problem still exists.

Documentation:
I have copies of the claim filing, all bills from the doctors, and all bills from the credit collection agencies. I also have the doctor’s notes stating that this was not a pre-existing condition and stressing the need for immediate treatment. I have documented the repeated email complaints sent by my father in India.

Attempts to contact Mercury International and New India Assurance:
I have contacted Mercury International’s Florida, USA office and UK office. The staff was unhelpful at first and then used abusive and threatening language insulting me personally and Indians in general. They told me to talk to New India directly and not to bother them or call ever again. My father contacted Mr. K, Senior Branch Manager, New India Assurance, Bangalore, India and Mr. B, Chief Managing Director at the Mumbai Head Office. Their emails are XXXX and XXXX respectively. They did not respond to 3 repeated complaints (all documented).

My policy information:
My policy number is 6XXXXXX/XX/XX/XXXX1 Company Code XXX.
Policy period August 4, 2001 to August 3, 2002.
Previous Policy: Year 2000; number 6XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Issued by: New India Assurance (Office Code: 670400), 10/1, “Kukreja House”, I Floor, Kumara Krupa Road, Bangalore 560001. Telephone: 91 (80) 22XXXXX/22XXXXX. Agent: Mr. R. V.

Request for settlement:
I am very stressed and would request the concerned to tend to this case immediately. As a student I am unable to concentrate on my studies with the pressure from multiple credit collection agencies calling every other day. The response of DR K from New India Assurance claims no fault on his company’s part and states that the problem is with Mercury Insurance, UK. On the other hand, Mercury alleges that New India is not paying them. Either way the customer is at a loss.

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Samir Kanparia- ()     11/23/2002 16:34 PM
 


Thanks a lot for your kind and prompt reply. I got the link. I really appreciate it. I will definitely refer to all my relatives and friends visiting USA to get insurance coverage from your company.

Thanks a lot again

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Srinivas Linga- ()     11/17/2002 21:19 PM
 


Hi, I have received the Policy and I have decided to take it even though it is expensive than i expected. I sent the signed form and check to prudential office in Minnesota.

thank you for great customer support.

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Bachchu- ()     11/14/2002 00:52 AM
 


I also purchased for self & my wife the above mentioned policy before going to USA to visit my son but only for 15 days to cover only the transit period of our journey to USA. Upon reaching my son arranged for our medical insurance in USA itself. I heard from him that persons going on in this policy were facing problem due to following reasons. Firstly for any medical treatment in USA, USA hospitals are not accepting this insurance policy & one has to pay the huge amount from one's pocket. Further it became very difficult afterwords to get claim money even after returning to India from the Indian insurance company & that also subject to many verifications & deductions due to obscure reasons. Hence thereis no point of doing any such insurance policy before going to USA, better getting it done by your relation or friends over there only.

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Maui- ()     11/13/2002 00:32 AM
 


My parents had bought the Videsh Yatra Mitra/Overseas Mediclaim Policy from National Insurance Company in India for their visit to the US. The policy date was April 12, 2002, for an initial duration of 120 days and it was extended by 60 days in June (Rs 75K in total premium for both parents). I spent some money for my father's medical treatment while he was in the US and since it was greater than $500, I sent all the required claim documents to Mercury International's Sussex, England address by registered mail and got a return receipt. When I called the England number to enquire about status, I got a shock. A recorded message said that Mercury was not processing any VYM claims due to some kind of defaulting on fees by the Indian insurance companies (hard to understand the %%^*^& British accent!) and gave a couple of Indian telephone numbers. The tel nos did not seem authentic since they did not seem to have the correct number of digits. When I bypassed the initial message and tried to talk to a customer service rep (after being kept on hold for 15 mins), she cut me off as soon as I mentioned India and Videsh Yatra Mitra, and a message came on saying that the office is now closed!! : Has anyone else faced this situation? I know a lot of people buy the VYM policy for parents. Will appreciate any feedback. For people looking to buy a new VYM policy, pls check before shelling out any money.

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Sujatha- ()     11/01/2002 21:12 PM
 


Read an article published in Times of India on Oct 30, 2002 which reads following:

Snags in overseas medical insurance

N VIDYASAGAR

TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2002 11:10:51 PM ]

NEW DELHI: A spat between the General Insurance Company (GIC) and its international service provider Mercury International has resulted into an embarrassing breakdown in providing claims to international medical insurance policy holders.

While there are no definitive numbers, at least 1,500 policy holders across the country are running from pillar to post to get their claims honoured. This covers those who have taken the Videsh Yatra Mitra Policy from GIC?s subsidiaries ? New India, National, United and Oriental ? between April and July 2002.

Thanks to alleged late payments by Mercury, many hospitals in the US refused to accept policies sold by GIC. The problem began early this year when Mercury increased its commission from 4 per cent of premium collections to 6.5 per cent, as well as 20 pounds per claim. This was unacceptable to GIC, and the relationship deteriorated as Mercury stopped payments to overseas hospitals that accept GIC policies.

On their part, executives at GIC admitted that they too owe Mercury money, accepting a standoff with the UK-based service provider. ??We hope to resolve the problem with Mercury soon,?? says a senior executive at Oriental. Mercury could not be reached for comments. From July 2002, the GIC companies terminated their 16-year relationship with Mercury and have tied up with Paris-based Coris International.

Every year, over 300,000 overseas medical insurance policies are sold in the country. The premium collections hover around $125 million. Insiders say only 2 per cent of the policy holders file claims, which approximate as much as $90 million.

Take, for instance, 65-year-old SK Srivastava, who fell ill in May 2002 while visiting his son, a software professional in Los Angeles. The Stanford Hospital where he was admitted for intestinal bleeding politely refused to accept his Videsh Yatra policy issued by United India. Srivastava?s son had to shell out the total hospital bill: $28,000.

GIC officials maintain it?s business as usual. ??When we sell a policy, it is a contractual obligation to honour claims. We hope to clear all claims by November,?? said a United India official. To start with, GIC plans to clear all claims up to $500.

??There is no problem since we changed to the new service provider from July 2002. People continue to buy overseas medical insurance policies from us,?? said an Oriental official.

That?s not much solace for consumers running around to get their dollar medical bills claims. ??If government-backed insurance companies can make me to run around for their inefficiency, what can we expect from private insurance companies,?? says Srivastava.

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Vanishree Lakshmanan- ()     10/28/2002 19:54 PM
 


As my parents are visiting us next week from India and I wanted to buy medical insurance for them, I was searching on the web and found this web site. I was pleasantly surprised to see such comprehensive collecetion of information on visitor medical insurance in one place. I was able to get pretty good idea of what is available in the market as this web site has so many plans available. Just to try, I called your number and the help was immediately available. The lady explained me very courteously and in detail about various options available to me. I immediately decided to purchase the plan from you.

Thank you very much. I will recommend this web site to all my friends. After all, good service is what people want.

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suffered- ()     10/07/2002 00:42 AM
 


My mother fell sick when she was in US last year. She had purchased health insurance from Mercury India. She was admitted to Kaiser Hospital in San Jose. They sent us a bill for 26,000$.

We called up the Mercury office In Delhi and came to know that the England branch takes care of all these issues.Initailly the hospital and the Insurance office did "not receive" papers/wanted documents etc. So we kept sending faxes to both the places ..and they got all the docs.

Then Mercury agreed to setle with Kaiser. The quote sent by mercury was not accepted by Kaiser. This was done 10 weeks back.

After that when ever we call Mercury they give us lame excuses that the boss is out/fax machine not working/was on PTO/money has not come from India etc and they have not resolved the issue. In the mean time we kept getting bills from the hospital and now we get a notice saying that if the money is not paid they will transfer us to a third party collection agency.

what should i do ??

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Muthu Subramanyam- ()     09/16/2002 11:23 AM
 


Very good website. I will always purchase insurance from your web site whenever my relatives visit from India. The customer service was very nice and curteous.

Thank you.

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N Singhal- ()     09/07/2002 00:43 AM
 


My parents had come from India and had taken medical insurance from India (New India Assurance Company).

New India Assurance company provides coverage via Mercury International Inc., based in UK (also having offices in Florida, US).

My mother was admitted to hospital for 3 days (in Jan 2002) and the hospital (and doctors) have a claim of about $10,000.

We have been contacting Mercury International in UK and Florida for the past 8 months (thru. many E-Mails, Faxes and letters) but they have refused to pay the claims till date. The last excuse they came up with was that the Indian company had not paid them.

While the business relations between the Indian company and Mercury International are an internal business dealing, we are unnecessarily being harassed. We are being pushed by hospitals and by doctors to pay them.

We have sent the claims form and the $100.00 deductible which has been encahsed by Mercury International. They have refused to pay till date.

Mercury International should reimburse the medical bills ASAP and pay us back for the time spent and harassment that we have gone thru.

29 September 2002:

There has been no response from Mercury International.

However we have received a letter from the Indian company (New India Assurance) that they have sent the money for the claims to Mercury International and that Mercury International is acting in the most unprofessional way. I am copying this letter below.

We have not received any help or information from Mercury International.
Neeraj Singhal
--------------------------------------
WITHOUT PREJUDICE
16.9.02
MR. NEERAJ SINGHAL,

Dear Policy holder,

Re : Claim under your Overseas Mediclaim Policy of the
THE NEW INDIA ASSURANCE CO. LTD.

We refer to your mail dated 24TH AUGUST 2002 in the above connection.

We regret the inconvenience caused to you by M/s Mercury International Assistance & Claims Ltd., in the connection with your claim. We understand that M/s Mercury International has given you an impression that in view of non- availability of funds from our end they are unable to settle your dues.

We as the principal insurer accept our responsibility for the inconvenience. However, we do not agree with the reasons indicated to you by the claims settling agent, M/s Mercury International for settlement of the claims from their end. The claims float is being replenished by us as per the requirement of M/s Mercury International and on the basis of the accounts submitted by them. Further we pay a service fee to them for the services provided by them to our policy holders and claim settlement fees. These charges are also being settled from time to time based on the business generated. There would have been some delay owing to administrative reasons. Thus the contention of M/s Mercury International that we have not paid them their fees or replenished the claims float is totally non-tenable.

We apprehend that this situation has arisen due to the fact that we have appointed a new TPA viz. M/s Coris International for servicing the Overseas Health Insurance Policies with effect from 1st July 2002. However, we are very much surprised to observe the attitude of M/s Mercury International of not fulfilling their obligations under the earlier contract. We do understand that these matters are of no concern to you. However, due to intransigent attitude taken by M/s Mercury International we feel necessary clarifications are required to be made.

This matter is being addressed by us on war footing and we hope to settle this matter amicably in the shortest possible time. You have been a valued customer of New India and we very much regret the inconvenience caused to you. With the change in our service providers we accept to offer better services to our valued customers.

We request you to kindly bear with us. We assure you that this matter will be sorted out soon.

Assuring you of our best services at all times.

With best regards,

( DR.ABHIJIT KAR )
M A N A G E R

DK/ hd


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