Monday, November 22, 2010

The World of German Insurance, part ii

Being an adult can be a bit tricky--there are so many things you have to remember and take responsibility for. Break a rule unknowingly and *BAM!* pay a fine, pay a fee, pay a penalty... there's just so many ways to screw up without realizing, it seems.

The last couple of days have been filled with surprises regarding this mandatory health insurance--things I wasn't aware of when I first came to Germany. I hope to sort it all out soon... but I shan't bore you with details.

Instead I will say that we are in fact three days away to the opening of the Christmas markets here in Germany! Nuremberg is all ready to go, all we need is our darling Christkind to read her poem and then the  gl├╝hwein will pour out by the liters and the lebkuchen will be munched on by the bag full.

This week is Thanksgiving in America.  I don't think I'll replicate my attempt at cooking a big bird like last year, probably just keep it simple but for all those celebrating:  Happy Thanksgiving!

Christkind 2009 making a public appearance in Nuremberg.








**The above photo is not my property.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Insured and The Uninsured

Living in Germany requires health insurance. Its the law, you've got to have it.

When I first arrived in Germany, I thought having EU citizenship would help me to get the state/public insurance in Germany, but when I spoke with them (AOK,VKK), they said "No can do." Something about having lived in America and having had private insurance earlier... not sure it made sense, but as I hadn't put any money into the system at the time, I thought it was fair enough.

As I'm a freelancer, I don't get health insurance covered by my job(s), so I've got to find a way to insure myself privately. I looked around fearing the worst as insurance fees in the US can be quite daunting for a fresh-out-of-college girl with student loans to pay back. To my great relief, someone told me about a private insurance for non-EU citizens planning to stay in Germany (or Europe) for over one year and so I checked it out, sounded good and signed up. http://www.provisit.com/ The company is called Provisit and its run by a Dr. Walter (That's Dr. V-v-valter, not W-w-walter ;) German W.)

The thing is, under this insurance, no dental work is included unless its a pain-searing emergency--and then only up to 200 Euros. Not even a cleaning, nothing. So, what to do when a tooth starts acting up? The obvious and first choice 'go to a dentist' didn't seem too appealing to me without insurance so I've been trying to find other alternatives.

I came across this Ayurvedic practice (on the web) called Oil Pulling.

Any one ever heard of it?

Its insanely simple which makes it all the more appealing and on the opposite side a bit unbelievable. But people swear by it.

On an empty stomach (preferably first thing in the morning, before breakfast) take a tablespoon of a natural unrefined, cold-pressed vegetable oil, recommended are sunflower, coconut and sesame oil, and put it in your mouth. (Its not as gross as it sounds.)Then swish it in between your teeth and in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. When times up, don't swallow, spit it out (preferably toilet or garbage, so it doesn't clog the sink). If the oil is still clear-looking means you didn't do it long enough. It should be white in color. This oil/saliva mix is meant to have drawn out the toxins and heavy metals from the body and also help restore oral health (gums and teeth). There are even more radical healing claims from practitioners I've read on the web--but so far, in the four days I've been doing it, all I can attest to is that my mouth does in fact feel cleaner and my teeth look whiter.

--give it a quick Google first, if you decide to try it out yourself.

I'm going to give it a try for another week or two and if there's no improvement, its back to choice A--the dentist. :/

Wishing you good health in the winter months ahead,
Diana