Monday, October 11, 2010

Should have stayed on COBRA

I've been really blown away by the level of incompetence we've encountered since I moved back to Brazil in June. Has it gotten worse in the last few years, evidence of a world-wide trend? Or am I just seeing it for the first time in all its glory?

The latest is the fiasco about our health care. You might recall that I have rheumatoid arthritis, a condition which makes having health insurance a necessity. Until I had health care, I was spending about 25% of my salary on medical expenses. Granted, that was a missionary salary hovering around the poverty line, but it's still a lot to be handing away every month. As you can imagine, I was pretty pumped that my hubby had health insurance.


After cajoling and pleading, a month and a half after we were admitted onto the Brazilian company's payrolls, we have some kind of proof of a Brazilian health plan. It consists of a stinky blue plastic folder containing 6 cards (one dental and health for each of us, plus "traveling" cards with numbers for when we are out of the country), a mini CD, a piece of recycled paper and a 3 page document. This document states that we have the following plans: C21 and D32. Also, that for 24 hours we are not covered for accidents, nor are we covered for 24 days for dental emergencies. There are a few numbers related to the "reimbursement coefficients" (no plastic surgery, apparently!), and a page informing us that we have received our service contract and must observe all the conditions there established, including the limits and coverage exclusions laid out in said document.

Yeah, I don't see any contract. In fact, we've NEVER seen a contract. We have NO IDEA what is covered, because the HR department at his workplace couldn't/wouldn't produce one when asked. They said it would come with the ID cards. Hmmm, where could it be?

The recycled paper has printed instructions to rip it up, bury it and plant it. I'm about to wad it up and toss it when I realize there is more information on the back side. Important information, like our PASSWORD FOR THE WEBSITE. Maybe they should have put that on a piece of paper that wasn't covered with instructions to tear it up???

I'm still looking for that contract. There's no information on the website about our plans. As far as I know, this is the best health insurance ever. We send them our receipts, they pay them. It would be better if some doctors actually accepted the cards, but I called all the dentists listed on their website last week and none of them admitted to accepting this plan.

The CD is just as helpful. Neither one of our plan codes (C21, D32) are listed anywhere in the "User Guide." Actually, there is a dearth of numbers in general. The only thing I can state for certain is that if we are travelling and need medical assistance, they'll cover us for 30,000 Euros and 2,000 US dollars for dental. Because that's not confusing, seeing as how all the reimbursement would take place in Brazilian reais.

On a better note, there doesn't seem to be any information indicating that my pre-existent condition won't be covered. HR told me if I declared it, there would be a 6 month waiting period, but there's no printed material to substantiate that claim. But seeing as how there's really no printed material to substantiate anything at this point, I'm not going to hold my breath.

My husband is pretty impressed. He didn't think it was possible for another culture to have a less efficient, more chaotic system than the Italian bureaucracy. Oh, honey...

1 comment:

anne said...

ah, red tape. when all one wants is to be covered for health reasons, and someone is PAYING for this alleged coverage of yours, so it'd be nice to know what it is, huh?

hang in there!