I live in Germany (duh). My generous employer contracts with Aetna International to manage my health care benefits. This has produced some rather funny phone calls that have left me with a serious case of indigestion. Most focus around the pharmacy benefit – Aetna’s international plan strongly recommends that participants use the Aetna mail-order pharmacy to save costs. Sounds good, right? Until you discover that they don’ t ship out of the country.
My first go-around with these people centered around two reps at the pharmacy call center who were sure that Aetna shiped to Germany “all the time”. I repeatedly told both of them that NO, I DO NOT LIVE ON AN AIRBASE. I HAVE A GERMAN POST CODE. Both swore up and down that this was no problem. Four weeks later, I was sitting in the office of a German doctor, begging in broken German for a maintenance medication that is so rarely prescribed over here that she had to call a pharmacy to see if it was even available! It turned out to cost four times what the US generic price is due to being unusual.
Once I had some meds, I returned to the phone. Since not only does the US Government prohibit US pharmacies from shipping out of the country (APOs and FPOs are technically US addresses, so don’t count), Aetna refuses to allow its reps to make international calls, severely limiting the contact options for those customers living overseas. Once I determined (I had about 6 hours into phone calls at this point) that I was on my own, I figured out that I could get the meds shipped to my job and the kind staff in shipping would forward them to me.
This worked fine, until the USPS decided that I no longer lived at my house.