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Bupa says I'm too old at 70; HEALTH: Reflexologist is fighting company's policy not to sanction her work.

SPRIGHTLY 70-year-old Barbara Merriman is fighting an "ageist" battle to stay in business.

The fully qualified reflexologist has been losing customers since medical insurers BUPA decided she was too old to sanction.

"I have been treating people for 14 years and have a regular clientele. But now clients have told me that BUPA are returning claim forms signed by me because I am 70. This is absolutely ridiculous and, surely, cannot be right."

Mrs Merriman, who lives at The Croft in Bulkington, works two days a week from a clinic near Coventry railway station. She charges pounds 21 for a session of reflexology, which uses pressure points on the feet to help people with all sorts of conditions, such as stress, headaches and sinus problems.

"Anyone who belongs to BUPA can claim back 60 per cent of the cost for such therapy. I was on the register with Mercia Health in Coventry, which is now part of the BUPA organisation and there has never been any trouble before with payments for treatments.

"I was 70 in November and, apparently, because of this BUPA will no longer sanction such claims. The result is that people who are BUPA members will start going elsewhere so that they can make successful claims.

I have already started losing business and I just think it is totally unfair."

Stuart Wright, head of operations at BUPA Cash Plans, said: "We are currently conducting a review of therapists who treat our members which will address the very question that Mrs Merriman raises."

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UNHAPPY... reflexologist Barbara Merriman who says BUPA policies are threatening her business.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 19, 2009
Words:269
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