I have just received payment for being mental.
The three main health insurance companies in Ireland fight fiercely for business between each other. They have an odd way of doing this, in that they add an ever expanding range to what they’ll recompense you for, such as dental floss, laxatives and tarot card readings (ok, I was exaggerating there) but then will increase their fees by 45% (I wasn’t exaggerating there, it happened just last week).
Our company pays for health insurance for its employees, and every few months our insurers will send a rep to us so that anyone wishing to make a claim can do so. I’ve never bothered before, since they don’t reimburse you for medication. Since my medication makes up 90% of my annual medical costs it never seems worth filling out the form just to be paid 30 euro for one doctor’s visit.
Just before Christmas he called again, and this time I decided to see him, since I had more than just one doctoral trip, I also had the visit to the clinic near my office to get my ears unblocked (somehow it just seems wrong to be covered for that, it wasn’t exactly life-threatening) and I also had my five physio visits after my mishap last ice-covered January (as I reported at the time, while everyone else was spraining ankles, breaking wrists and banging their heads off the ice, I hurt the lower muscles of my back by coughing while hunched forward over my laptop.)
Plus we’re all a lot more broke than last year, and every mickle makes a muckle (no, haven’t a clue what that means, and neither does Spellcheck), so I went to the drawer in the kitchen where I keep my medical bills (yes, we have one drawer just for my medical stuff) and I sorted this year’s receipts into drugs and others. I put the drug bills back and put the doctor and physio bills into my bag to bring to work. This left me with the four bills at €120 each from my psychiatrist and, on a whim, I put them in too.
I met the rep and showed him everything, then finally produced the shrink’s bills. He looked a bit wary, as anyone might who suddenly realised they were alone in a room with a self-confessed looner. “Er, don’t know about them,” he said,” let’s just submit them and see what the lads back in the office think.”
Yesterday the cheque arrived. The insurance company have paid 50 per cent of the cost of each visit.
Not only that, but the tax office will grant me tax relief at 20 per cent on the balance. This means that each of my four visits have cost just 48 euro.
I will remember this the next time the IRFU ask for 50 quid for a ticket to Ireland v Samoa. As a rugby fan I could of course pay out this sum to stand in the cold to watch a meaningless friendly international.
OR… I could spend two euro on a paper to find out who won, and with the remaining money I could sit in a warm room on a comfy sofa and talk about myself for half-an-hour.
There’s no contest, really. I might be mad, but I’m not daft.