In the midst of the new health insurance law here, where there is no longer a distinction between "basic" health care and "private", only various levels of care you can choose from, I have changed health insurance companies to the one my company went with in their collective agreement. I pretty much didn't have a choice since I get discounts in the collective agreement that make my premium about 20 eur a month cheaper than if I'd stayed with my old insurer. So far though, the new company, Zilveren Kruis, has not made my 20 eur savings worth it.
First of all, the letter with my customer number and all of the details of my coverage only just arrived yesterday, even though I had sent in my application around the 11th of January. The company's website says that if you sent in your application before 11 February
, you were supposed to get your information packet by 1 March. So mine was a little late. O, who is also with Zilveren Kruis because his company chose them for their collective insurance, sent in his application at least a week after I did, but he got his packet in February. So I called up Zilveren Kruis in early March (and waited on hold for 10 minutes at 5 cents per minute, like why do they make you pay to get customer service?!) to be sure they even got my application, and they had. But it was still being processed, for whatever reason, and then the girl tells me that I should get my packet in about 3 weeks, making that near the end of March. I stupidly didn't ask why it was going to take so much longer (my only thought is that it's because I'm a foreigner, because the girl asked me, sort of out of the blue, if I was American, but I had insurance here before and it's via my work so I obviously have a job), but I waited 3 weeks. Still nothing. I call them again and I get a girl who isn't the brightest bulb. I tell her that I applied for my insurance ages ago but still have received nothing, and then she asks for my customer number. Um, what part of I HAVE RECEIVED NOTHING FROM YOU GUYS did you not understand? She tells me that it's waiting to be mailed (?!) and I should have it in a week. A bit more than a week later and it's finally here, over a month after I should have had it anyway, and after
receiving the nice letter from them informing me that they're taking 350 eur from me in one go to cover the first 4 months of 2006. Sure, go ahead and take my money when you haven't even provided me with a letter saying I'm covered by you.
But that's the part that's sorted now. Yesterday another problem came up. I checked my bank account and thanks to them taking all that premium at once, I suddenly had all of 20 eur in my bank account. But it was also due to my old
insurance company also taking a payment from me for April. My insurance with them was supposed to be cancelled; the first time I called Zilveren Kruis they told me it had been done already (I - again being stupid here - left the cancellation to Zilveren Kruis: you filled in a little form with your old insurance company's details and they took care of the cancellation). But here is the old company still taking money from me. When was I supposed to get my money from them refunded? So I call up the old company, and you guessed it, I'm still insured with them and they have no record of a cancellation. I am so fucking pissed. To cancel it now, they need a record that Zilveren Kruis did send the cancellation before 1 March because there was a rule with this new law that you could cancel your previous insurance up to 1 March, otherwise you were stuck with your old company. I tried to then call Zilveren Kruis about it but they seem to only have hours on Saturday to sell you coverage but not to have any customer service for their current customers. I thought I found a way to talk to customer service anyway, but after waiting on hold for 20 minutes (at 5 cents per minute), I gave up. So I have to wait until tomorrow to call them. I am too cynical about Dutch customer service to believe they will help me the way they should help me, to say "Man, it seems something went wrong, we'll take care of it for you straight away," but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. I'm prepared to go off on them if they don't get it taken care of.
Beyond this I have another issue with them that I'm waiting to see how it'll play out. I had my usual dental cleaning in February and when I got the bill, I was still thinking my new insurance packet was going to be arriving any day. So I waited til the last minute to pay the bill and then asked Zilveren Kruis how to get it reimbursed. They told me to send it to a certain address, and they were able to at least give me my customer number by then, so I put that in a letter with the bill. The thing is is that on their site they tell you to send in bills for reimbursement, but they don't say whether you are supposed to pay them yourself first. So I put in the letter that I have paid this bill myself and to reimburse it to my account, but I have this feeling it'll go wrong. Obviously I don't have the biggest faith in this company. Way to start off well with a new customer.