Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Hubster Needs Surgery

Hubster needs surgery.
We discovered, while getting ourselves a physical warrant of fitness, that he's not in the best of health.  Hardly surprising given he works constantly and any thoughts of doing all those things one is supposed to do to take care of ones self are just that.  Thoughts.

So he's having his surgery here at home, in NZ.

Two main reasons.  First his issue was diagnosed while back home in NZ for a working holiday, which means I holiday, he works.  His jobs allows him to work remotely for short stints, so instead of being up till the wee small hours in Saudi, he is up till the wee small hours in NZ, tapping away at his computer.  Anyway, he's figured seeing as his health issues were found here, he'll stay and get them sorted.

Second, he just doesn't have enough faith that surgeons in Saudi will do the best possible job. 

This may be unfair, however, one does wonder at the skill level of health operators in Saudi when its leaders obviously have so little faith in the services of their own country they think it best to seek surgery outside the Kingdom.  Of course, said leaders tend to prefer the United States for their health care.
We're happy with the skills in NZ.

Having surgery outside of Riyadh does have it's issues, mainly regarding insurance.  As per the local Saudi employment law Hubsters employer has registered him with their health insurance company of choice.  Though said company has an office in New Zealand they don't process surgery claims so our insurance issues must be dealt with by the Saudi office.

Hubster duly relayed this message to his workplace and one of the secretaries has been attempting to get some action from the Saudi health insurance branch.  The Secretary's efforts have been hampered by two things - Ramadan and Eid.   Basically Saudi has come out of a month of forced slow down (Ramadan) into a holiday (Eid). 

Getting excellent customer service in Saudi can be a stretch at normal times of the year.  Most experienced Saudi expats consider attempting to get anything done during the holidays an exercise in early hairloss.  We were not going to be deterred (Hubsters health status didn't really give us much choice), though that decision did require lots of deep breathing and patience affirmations. 

As the Insurance Office in Saudi were dragging their heels regarding Hubsters health insurance we decided to phone the company HQ in London.  They told us, very nicely I might add after finding out what, if anything, they could do, 'you must deal with this through the Saudi office' though they also said something about 'looking into the problems we were experiencing'.

After more phone calls and emails and, in complete frustration, filling out the complaint form on the Saudi insurance company website with something that could be construed as less than constructive criticism and finally a response arrives with vague wording that leaves us wondering exactly what they mean.

Read one way their response could mean we are in luck and they are prepared to play ball and cover Hubsters surgery upfront.  Read another way and it sounds as though we have to pay for the surgery ourselves and can claim back later.  The only thing they were definite about was to "expect a huge shortfall".  Isn't that comforting.

Fortunately for us the Credit Contral lady at our hospital of choice in NZ has a great deal of experience with overseas insurance and we have worked out a satisfactory arrangement so Hubster will get the surgery he needs.  (He is, in fact, in the recovery room as I type this).

We have learnt numerous lessons from Hubsters Health Saga, first and foremost being look after your health with a balanced work/life ratio.  Not doing so is costly and stressful in the long run and can lead to having bits chopped out that you'd rather not.

And if , like Hubster, you expect your health insurance company in Saudi to be on the ball try your best not to require your urgent surgery over a Saudi holiday.

Ka Kite,

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