She subsequently started a petition urging companies to offer those with mental health conditions travel insurance at a reasonable price.
It had been signed by almost 34,000 people and led to “thousands” of people coming forward and reporting similar experiences.
If they are able to get a policy, they are used as a money-making machine for the companies.
“Things are taking off now so I’m hoping I’ll get some kind of reply or be able to change the law, if that’s the road it needs to go down.” It comes after research by charity the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) last month showed that more than one in five (21 per cent) people who experience mental health problems had travelled without insurance because it was too expensive, while 15 per cent had chosen not to travel at all because of the high cost of insurance.
Many reported having to pay more for travel insurance because of historic mental health problems, even if it was many years ago.
Others said they had been charged more because they take psychiatric medication, and many said they were told the insurer wouldn’t pay out for any claims relating to mental health, the charity said.
“Since having spoken out about it I’ve now realised this is an absolutely massive issue that lots of people have a story about but haven’t had the voice to say before.” Ms Watson said she complained to Bupa when it happened in August, but had so far only received a letter in the post the stating that they would take another 20 working days to reply, during which time she has already been on her holiday.
When contacted for comment, Bupa toldit was “sorry for the distress [it] caused Ms Watson.Since launching the petition, she said she has heard from “thousands” of people who have had similar “awful” experiences.“One old couple have nearly gone bankrupt because the husband had a nervous breakdown on holiday and he’d never had any kind of issues before, other than a doctor saying that he had depression once when he was about 20.But when she mentioned her condition to the company, she was asked a series of questions and told they could no longer cover her for any pre-existing conditions. I just couldn’t believe the blatant discrimination,” she said.“Before I mentioned bipolar they were absolutely happy to cover me, but as soon as I mentioned bipolar, no matter how much I paid, they just were not interested.“One in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year, and by some estimates this rises to almost half of us across a lifetime.