A GREAT Sutton pensioner couple are among thousands left without money to pay for their funerals after a company’s financial U-turn.
People with policies at Liverpool-based Medicash thought their funeral costs were covered.
But since the firm announced it was withdrawing the benefit as of April 1, all policy-holders will have to find the money themselves.
Jeanette Barton, 72, who has been paying into Medicash with her husband John for more than 50 years, blasted the “unjust changes”.
She said: “The members hardest hit are people like us who have paid their subscriptions over many years in the belief the contracts we had entered into included funeral benefit.
“Many have paid in since they were 14, and now in their late 80s, many with pre-existing medical conditions are being told there is no provision for convalescent care or their funeral.
“Instead we are being offered other benefits including discounted health club membership. We’re too old to take out life insurance of any value and too old and broke to use health clubs.”
The move also means more than 100,000 members of the healthcare cash plan provider will no longer be entitled to payments towards rehabilitation at home and convalescence.
Medicash’s interim chief executive, Susan Weir, said: “We have carried out extensive research into the needs of our 100,000-plus membership base and the changes we have made to our products are designed to reflect this.
“We first introduced funeral benefit in 1996. There are two reasons why we can no longer provide this, the first relates to the level of risk for us.
“In the past it was re-insured by a third party. When they informed us they were no longer in a position to re-insure this benefit we searched for an alternative provider and no-one was willing to take this on.
“Secondly, the Financial Services Authority defines insurance in various different categories. Funeral benefit is classed as life assurance and Medicash is a general insurer not a life assurance company.
“We took legal advice and were advised it was no longer appropriate for us to offer funeral benefit.”