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Migraine hacks: cancellation insurance

Migraine hacks: cancellation insurance

When you have chronic illness (or chronic illnesses, as the case may be for many of us), reading about strict cancellation policies can be a little nerve-wracking.  A dentist may require that you pay in full for your appointment if you don’t cancel within twenty-four hours. The rental car company may cancel your unpaid reservation if you can’t show up at the originally specified time. The hair stylist may not charge you anything, but by canceling due to illness only a couple of hours before your appointment, she has missed the chance to make any income for that hour  you were supposed to be there.

Maybe it’s already out there and I haven’t found it yet, but just in case I whipped up a quick little imaginary invention—a service, rather.  I like to call it Migraine Cancellation Insurance.

Here’s how it’d work.  For just $1/month (hey, it’s my dream—I can make the insurance prices as unrealistic as I want), you could cancel any appointment, any time, up until five minutes after the appointment was to have begun. (Lord knows I sometimes keep appointments on the books thinking to myself, “Surely my medication will have me up and about well before then!” only to realize later that the meds haven’t worked and I am now dry-heaving in my bathroom. Hence the very late notification allowance.)

Making calls or sending emails when you’re in the midst of a bad migraine can be totally intimidating if not impossible, so the cancellation insurance is easy-peasy.  You use the smart phone app to press just one icon to notify the hair stylist/doctor/dentist/therapist/dog groomer that you won’t be able to make it. The service provider gets an immediate notification and you can rebook any time, no penalties. He or she has the option of getting paid in full for what would have been your appointment, or he/she can waive the cost and just charge you when you are able to make it in.  Ooh, I just decided to add a feature: the service provider can also choose to accept the payment and then immediately donate it on your shared behalf to the migraine research study or organization of your choice!

Thankfully, I had to cancel very few appointments in 2015 despite its being kind of a rough year for me, migraine-wise. Seeing  strict cancellation policies outlined in offices and on websites does give me pause, though, even though I of course understand the service providers’ need to protect themselves on this front.

Perhaps a future iteration of the insurance policy would be to offer up services for social engagements you miss as well as important work meetings.  I’ll get the tech team working on that ASAP. 😉

Think back on the last few months.  Was there a time you could’ve used Migraine Cancellation Insurance?  Was there a time you went to an appointment when you shouldn’t have only because you didn’t want to forfeit the money you’d lose by not showing up? 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Linda
    4 years ago

    Yes, today would be nice! Although I cannot work at this time because of my migraine disease and almost daily attacks of migraine and headache, I still have doctor, dentist, bank, etc. appointments from time to time. This kind of insurance would be amazing.

  • Pamela Baxendale
    4 years ago

    Brilliant! I could absolutely use this app! I have found myself in the same situation you described, more times than I can remember. I have muscled through many appointments, while feeling awful, but if I have the migraine that sends me to bed in a quivering melt down, I have made many a miserable call to reschedule or cancel. Just the light from my cell phone is excruciating, as you know, and I am unable to try to pick another date. I have already started to tell friends that I will be happy to meet socially, except, unless, I develop a migraine. Most understand, but I still feel that some aren’t really aware that it is not a lame excuse. Like calling in sick for work, before I worked for myself. I always felt uncomfortable thinking they thought it was an excuse to play hooky. Thankfully, now, my husband and business partner fully understands when I say I have a migraine, today. I will try to make it in later, if I am able. Just knowing he is aware of my pain, provides a bit of relief because I know I can stay home without questions or consequences.

  • AJ
    4 years ago

    I could so use this! My neuro is a 3 hour drive away. There’s no way that I can make the drive on appointment day if I am in any phase of a migraine. But there’s a $100 penalty fee for less than 24 hour cancellations. Most others are understanding but it’s so hard to make those calls.

  • Holly H
    4 years ago

    OMG, this would be fabulous!! I cannot count the number of doctor/dentist/hair appointments I’ve missed in the last 3 months alone! Most of my providers are pretty understanding and don’t charge me, but I do have one that does make me jump through hoops to get charges removed. When the front desks folks that take your call cancel the appointment, it automatically charges a fee to your account and they can’t remove it. Only the office manager can. Good luck getting a hold of her!

  • Diane101010
    4 years ago

    I love this idea.
    A few months ago I got charged $50 for missing a counseling appointment because I was being treated in the emergency room. My husband called to let my counselor know two hours before my appointment.

    My co-pay is $25. The next time, I will demand a counseling session over the Internet via FaceTime or something from the ER. Even if she just quietly sits there and does nothing. Technically, that is my time. If she is going to charge me, then she can earn it. I just know she got work done on my dime when I wasn’t there.

  • brianne
    4 years ago

    YES!! This is brilliant. I dislike when you call up to cancel and they say you can’t do it again. Yes. I can, actually. If I feel too crap to eat and/or move, I CAN and WILL cancel. That’s not to say that I’m not sorry for their inconvenience. I can see it from their side too, but trying to bully me into not cancelling just makes me feel worse. How is that helping solve the situation? I thankfully have not be charged yet for last-minute cancelling (or if I have it’s slipped my memory, haha).
    This insurance would save a lot of chronic sufferers from unneeded stress and worry. Definitely a wonderful and helpful idea!!

  • Kate
    4 years ago

    This would be awesome! Although I don’t think I’ve ever had to take a financial hit due to not being able to attend something due to headache/migraine…I’ve sure suffered through enough times as I felt I didn’t have a choice to skip it (or was already there when the pain & symptoms started), and plenty of times I have avoided committing to something due to the risk. For example, I’d rather pay $5 more at the door vs. buying a nonrefundable ticket ahead of time when there was a low chance of it selling out. Or, I’ll at least wait until the last minute for pre purchase.

    I always buy travel insurance too, but haven’t had to use it. On vacation I fear getting a bad episode and missing out on an excursion (which would probably also cause my husband to opt out), and we’ve had a number of times where this would cost $500 for some specialty stuff. I don’t think travel insurance would even cover that actually, but at least its some peace of mind.

  • jns192 moderator
    4 years ago

    Yes! I recently went to the dentists during my prodrome phase. big mistake… Those lights and noises drove me mad.
    Definitely won’t do that again.
    You must pose this to the app store!

  • Tammy Rome
    4 years ago

    Brilliant! It’s a service that is seriously needed.

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