Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Don't fuck with me bitch!

I just got off the phone with my lovely health insurance provider and I am so angry that I want to scream!

Here in the land of cheese and chocolate, health insurance is B-I-G business. There is no kind of subsidised system and so everyone who lives here must have a basic coverage which you buy from an insurance company. These Krankenkasse as they are known in german, are making a fucking fortune out of each and every one of us.

Why is this so? The answer is that a government mandated insurance coverage means that you have no choice but to purchase health cover from one of these firms. There is no chancing your arm and saying to yourself that you feel healthy, maybe no need for insurance at the moment. The law states that you must have this basic coverage and so all the companies provide exactly the same thing.

Since the coverage is the same from all the companies, the deciding factors are obviously price and customer service. We have been with our Krankenkasse since we got here and i'm starting to think that we have gotten a bad deal. Arriving in Switzerland, we were informed that we must obtain this insurance within three months and given about two bibles worth of complex, german-language officialese to read and understand. I had no idea what we were doing so we just got on with it and got ourselves some insurance.

Here is the fun part though. For the princely sum of CHF 596 per month (USD 475, EUR 383, AUD 621, CAD 576, GBP265) we get coverage for the family. For the kids we get coverage for glasses and the like but no dental. For ms. mac and I, we get nothing but basic. To add insult to injury, they add a deductible. I have to pay the first CHF 1500 per year of all bills myself, whilst ms. mac is paying the first CHF 500. That's right, the insurance doesn't even kick in till we've shelled out a huge wad of our own cash on top of the exorbitant premium!

So we come to the crux of today's discussion, I had missed a payment and failed to pay the reminder on time. So they gave me an additional bill and blah blah. I got it sorted and made the payments (including additional costs) but there was an extra bill included for something that I had already paid, so I rang them up and said that I had already paid the bill and could you explain the reason for this extra bill. Frau Landolt, for that was her name, spoke to me in german like I was the stupidest fuckwit to ever call her telephone.

She misunderstood my question, and started going on about the additional costs (Spesen) that I had already told her were paid. Here's a transcript (in english):

mr. mac: "Hi can you help me, I have received these two bills and I just want to let you know that the bill for the additional costs is paid. The second bill for the monthly premium confuses me because I paid it on the 2nd and your bill dated the 8th tells me to pay it immediately. Can you tell me why this is?"
Fr. Landolt: "What have you done with the bill for the additional costs. Additional costs, [shouted slowly] ADDITIONAL COSTS. [exasperated] Do you understand german?"
mr. mac: "Yes I understand you and have just told you that it is already paid. What about this other bill. Why did you send it to me when I have already paid it?"
Fr. Landolt: [dead sarcastically]"Oh please excuse us very much. I am soooo sorry about that."
mr. mac: "Right then that's clear, thanks very much. "[CLICK]

If I could have spoken to her in english, I could have asked to speak to her boss and got the satisfaction of telling them all what I thought of them. I really feel like they take advantage of the language barrier in situations like this. You'd think that for the money we pay, they'd be a little bit more courteous but you'd be wrong. Since you have no choice but to pay them, they treat you like shit. Nice idea, but you insulted the wrong Ausländer (foreigner) love.

I pay these people over CHF 7000 per year and it is actually for nothing. Last year they didn't have to spend a cent on any of us. Not a fucking brass razoo because of the deductible. It's a con and what makes it worse is that the government actually enforces the con with its bullshit law. Still, if you pay low taxes, you get fuck all for it. Aussie readers take note, Medicare is the shizznit!

Bottom line, I am moving to another company and paying less per month. Fuck you Fr. Landolt and fuck you ASSURA!

7 comments:

gomad.ch said...

Look at Comparis for a better deal. But you must obey the procedures and deadlines of sacking the old insurance. Antother test in German is waiting for you. Hehe...

mr. mac said...

Gomad, danke für deinen Vorschlag. Ich habe ein neue Angebot bekommen und muss nur bis ende des Jahres mit die alte Krankenkasse bleiben. Sie sind am 01.01.06 nur ein Gedächtnis.

Andi said...

er...... Mr Mac? Are you OK?

My husbands company switches insurance companies EVERY year, EVERY YEAR which means that we also have to change Dr's Podiatrists, Orthodontists EVERY YEAR! and the company says this is to save money but like you said, you pay more, have deductibles and never mind all the bullshit you have to put up with calling every one. Whats worse? Is when the company goes back to the original insurance and you go back to the dentist and they say they have to take new X-Rays etc., (even though they have the old ones) and you pay out the arse!

Look at this! You got me going and I'm pissed now.

Anyway, 9 days and counting!

Drew said...

Mr.Mac, I believe this is the first time commenting on your blog! What a fabulous time!

But, getting down to business, I have had to do this many times with people. Argueing, and then coming to a consensus and hanging up on them! I say, bravo! Power to the Macs!

PSP Politics, Sports and Philosophy said...

God I thought that the US system sucked major ass... yours might be worse ...

Sorry, dont pop a cork until weve been over to have our fun mate... chill

Andi said...

Jon are you EVER going to blog again...?

oh wait.

This is Craigs.

Craig, are you EVER going to blog again.....?

What is it with you guys?

PAX said...

well as stupid as it may seem, even compared to the us system, at least everyone HAS insurance coverage in switzerland (even in case of a hurricane...)
and the basic idea behind it is, that young and healthy people like you and i are covering the costs for the elderly and not so healthy people (that dont earn that much money anymore). i have family myself, and i know that the costs are too high, but i would not want to give up this thought of solidarity. and i would recommentd comparis.ch as well :-)

...and for the ppl answering these calls at my insurance company, i always give 'em hell.