Thursday, 31 January 2013

Read the fine print .....

OMG read the fine print.

How many times are we told to read the fine print and how many times do we actually read the fine print?

We only wish we had read the fine print when what we think we can do, or should be able to do, or want to do, or need to do can’t happen because it’s not in the fine print.

Or maybe it was in the fine print and DH didn’t think it was important, or obvious to share.

Either way, we’ve found ourselves yet again with private health cover thru the company which is, as far as I’m concerned less than what we would have in Sydney and that’s not right at all.

When I finished high school, Dad gave me 6 months to remain on the family private health coverage then it was up to me to choose and fund my own. He maintained like insuring your home contents, your car, your health was right up there.

So all my adult life I’ve never ever been without private health cover for EVERYTHING – even things I probably didn’t need in my younger years.

When I needed the lump removed from my breast a few years ago, our global health insurance company maintained that “Japan is a centre of medical excellence’ and despite my Sydney specialist wanting the lump removed asap, the specialist in Japan wanted to monitor it over 3 monthly intervals.

When we questioned this with our global health insurers (who are chosen by the company, which is fair enough. Can’t have every expat having their own) they stood by the Japanese specialist despite the medical information from my Sydney specialist.

Obviously this was a no brainer of a decision. We flew home to Sydney and had it done and were out of pocket but had enormous peace of mind that I was and remain healthy. The bizarre twist to this story is this is when MissM had another febrile, and DH delayed his trip back to Japan, then discovered he had a small brain bleed and we ended up ‘grounded for medical reasons’ in Sydney for three months. IMAGINE if he’d had the bleed in Japan!??!?!

So from that experience we learned, and it’s apparently in the fine print, that regardless of where we are, we will only ever be ‘sent elsewhere’ for medical treatment if the global health insurers deem we are not living in a country of medical excellence NOR do we automatically go home to Sydney.

If we are living in Bullabakanka  for example, we might be flown to who-knows-where-is-a-centre-of-medical-excellence for treatment. They do not for one minute consider language barriers, or lack of support, how your husband might manage with the kids/school/work etc or indeed how you as the patient might manage without support. All this and more was our argument for returning to Sydney for the lump to be removed.

We exhausted every angle several times over.

Lesson learned! Don’t get sick.

A dear friend of ours is living in Paris and she is really ill. Her experience with the medical system there has left her with no choice but to travel to Germany for treatment. How do locals survive?

Today’s lesson wasn’t as severe but it’s bloody annoying none the less.

I have an abscess and it’s killing me.

The dental quote is for just over £2500.

Our global medical insurance doesn’t cover dental or optical which is just dumb as far as I’m concerned, maybe because I wear glasses and know how frickin’ expensive my ultra complicated lenses are.

DH wasn’t that fazed by the lack of medical coverage – apparently dental and optical are always optional. Go figure! I’ve always but always had them but maybe because I’ve always needed them I’ve just paid for it.

Not sure if reading the fine print would have helped in this situation or not, but it’s simply annoying to discover that the company has only opted to cover us for secondary care (apparently the NHS is awesome, despite having to wait a week for an emergency dental appointment cos I’m in pain today)

Another expat lesson learned, read the fine print, ask husbands to make specific enquiries before signing health insurance offered by employer to ensure you get the very best coverage for what you need. You still may not get it changed, but at least you gave it a go.

We are in the UK with less medical coverage than in Sydney, and it just doesn’t sit right.

DH phoned me earlier and asked how the dentist went and I told him. He’ said it’s fine. As you can tell by today’s chat, I’ve been stewing all day.

He’ll be home soon and will hold me close and tell me it’s ok, which it is, but still a tonne of money going into my mouth when all I was really looking forward to spending the money on was 3 fabulous nights in Barcelona with him, alone in May while MissM is with her grandparents.

Time for pain killers and anti biotics, oh and MissM's dinner

With friendship

1 comment:

  1. First, you poor thing! It's just awful when something goes wrong with teeth or your mouth.

    Second, I think Australia is known to have really excellent benefits for its citizens, so it's the exception rather than the rule.

    Third, at least you have some private health insurance! Hubby's job doesn't offer any at all, nor life insurance, nor retirement benefits etc - its a matter of size for them but still, at least you have some coverage if something does go terribly wrong.

    Fourth, nobody reads the fine print, even some lawyers ;-)

    Finally, I hope the doctors at least gave you some decent painkillers. Hang in there. Hugs to you :-)