Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

For discussion, news, comments, questions and information about Crete & Greece.
GlennB
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 9:38 pm

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby GlennB » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:54 pm

Kilkis wrote:The last time I renewed through a KEP office was 3 or 4 years ago. The lady tried to renew it online, as she would for a Greek citizen, but said that she couldn't do it for foreigners that have an IKA book via an S1 form. She said those had to be sent to IKA. She did everything for me, and some friends who went at the same time, and the books were ready to collect a few weeks later with no need to remind them. She also gave us a paper that she said that we could use if we needed to visit an IKA doctor before the books were returned that would prove we had IKA cover. All very quick, efficient and helpful. Perhaps the rules have changed now?

Warwick


Those were the reasons that we were given a while back. I went looking for the IKA web page where you can check your IKA status but damned if I can find it.

Kilkis
Posts: 10381
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Kilkis » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:03 pm

This is the main EOPYY home page. I guess you can check your status through one of the links but I don't know exactly where on it?

Warwick

GlennB
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 9:38 pm

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby GlennB » Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:51 pm

Ah, the site is here:

https://apps.ika.gr/eInsEligibility/

Just input the three required numbers.

Also, I'm an idiot. He did retain the IKA books; I thought MrsB had them :?

Clio
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:54 pm

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Clio » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:36 pm

All those posts about renewing books, and nobody seems really to have cottoned on to the fact – mentioned by Bobscott but it doesn't appear to have registered as the big step forward that it is – that you don’t actually need to renew your book now or hereafter. I’m as guilty of this as anyone.

For reasons lost in the mists of antiquity and unrelated to Brexit or my present insurance situation, I have been fighting for the last two years – thus far unsuccessfully, even with legal assistance - to get my IKA vivliario renewed. This has involved visits to four separate insurance bodies, several different offices and numerous officials in Rethymno, Heraklio and Athens.

(I suspect that the problem boils down to a peculiarity of the Greek bureaucratic system – that a public official at any level is terrified of making decisions particularly in out-of-the-ordinary cases, in case that decision rebounds on them. Or as the Greeks say, kάνει τη πάπια).

Anyway, today I went yet again to the nastiest of the offices and for once, hallelujah, encountered someone who was actually receptive and helpful. In the course of the conversation she confirmed that they are phasing out the vivliaria. “These days you just need your AMKA number and that will get you all your medical services – medicine, examinations, procedures. Soon the books won’t exist”

Now I already knew this with one part of my brain from another insurance body, and have in fact successfully claimed farmaka and injections without being asked for a book. (Still a bit nervous though about trying it out for the forthcoming surgery which is going to be post-Brexit).

But I've been doggedly and blinkeredly pursuing the vivliario as cast-iron proof of my historic insured status, without thinking about the bigger picture. I still can't have a book but as of today however I have a piece of paper which I am assured will verify it, officially, and satisfy the next link in the chain. (Don’t ask…)

But I have a question, The AMKA number which all Greeks, and most if not all of us expats have, is our Greek Social Security number, and is apparently issued in perpetuity just like a British National Insurance Number.. So, if it were to come to pass as I think Kilkis says above...

IKA/EOPPY/EFKA could turn off your entitlement in that system during the night of 29/30 March 2019 if no deal is agreed
.

...how are they going to do that, then? Delete all our AMKA numbers from the system? Can they tell from the numbers that we're not Greeks? Numbers all start with our birth dates,obviously, and I had assumed that maybe the suffix digits related to nationality but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Love the thought of a whole squad of specially-hired short-term-contracted accountants going through every AMKA number to weed out the newly-dodgy ones. “Ελα, ακόμα ένα Αγγλικό νούμερο Άντε χάσου. Kirie Smith!”

Kilkis
Posts: 10381
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Kilkis » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:43 pm

Yes, it may not be the book itself that is important BUT I believe we do still need to renew the validity of our healthcare on their computer system every year. If we do not do that I believe that if you go to a doctor after 28 February they will enter your AMKA number into the system and it will come up as not insured. I could be wrong.

Interestingly when I and one of my friends renewed our healthcare a short while ago the person dealing with it wrote another 3 digit number on the inside cover of the book. The numbers were different. I can't read the words written before it. The first is Αρ. which is an abbreviation for number but I cannot decipher the second. It is 5 or 6 letters and starts Φα. The other two friends were dealt with by a different person and no number was written in their book.

When I get my normal prescriptions renewed they do still write the details in the book with the doctors stamp and signature. Also when the pharmacist fills the prescriptions they stamp, sign and date it over what the doctor has written. A specialist I also visit from time to time does not fill the prescription in the book.

It's not difficult to exclude us from healthcare, Clio, and no army of accountants would be needed. As far as I can tell the whole healthcare computer system is simply a database, probably a relational database. Greek people can also have their healthcare cover stopped or reinstated if they move out of or back into work. I am pretty sure they don't delete AMKA numbers in that situation but have a field in the database that says whether the cover is valid or not. When we renew our cover each year it will be that field that gets updated. The AMKA number is what is known as the reference field. It doesn't matter how the AMKA number is constructed only that it is unique to a particular person. Put the AMKA number into a query script and it will access all the available data on that person. You don't have to search by AMKA number, however, you can search any field(s) in the database. I am pretty sure that one field in the database will have us logged as foreign, another that we have cover through an S1 form, another that we are from the UK and, like everybody else, another stating whether our cover is valid or not. It would be a very simple to write a script to automatically search the relevant fields for everybody who is foreign, with S1 cover and from the UK and mark their insurance category as "Invalid". That script could be run overnight on 29/30 March 2019 if no deal, either EU or bilateral, is agreed. If you then visited a doctor on or after the 30 March 2019 the system would flag up that you did not have cover. Pharmacists also use the same system so it would be possible for it to flag up that a prescription was no longer valid even if the prescription was issued before 29 March. It is not a big job. I would guess it could be done in about 10 lines of code and would take a single database programmer a matter of minutes to write.

Warwick

GlennB
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 9:38 pm

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby GlennB » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:09 pm

I believe Kilkis is right. IKA coverage can lapse for a Greek, so mere possession of an Amka number is not the end of it. Some medical practitioners, and others, might think that the Amka number is the be-all, but I'm sure we're all used to officials here putting their own interpretation on things.

He's also right about the ease with which Brits could be flagged as 'invalid' in a jiffy (ex Oracle database programmer/DBA here ;) Can only work from home. Reasonable rates ;) )

Clio
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:54 pm

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Clio » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:54 pm

Gosh, don't you boffins know a lot? And there was me thinking a relational database was a lonelyhearts site…I bow as always to chaps with mathematical brains, but would just point out that my AMKA number appears to be just as valid for purpose as it was two years ago and neither I nor anyone else has done anything in that period to update it on their computer database. I may of course be the swallow that doesn’t make the summer...

Kilkis
Posts: 10381
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Kilkis » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:02 am

Are you getting healthcare through an S1 form, Clio, paid for by the UK, or are you getting health cover through insurance payments here, e.g. IKA, TEVE, EFKA, whatever? If the former I am surprised that it has continued without you renewing it. If the latter then there is no need to renew it. I had health cover through IKA contributions for 10 years and never had to renew anything. In those days, before the computerised system used today, you had to have a new paper certificate in your book every year so that doctors knew you were still covered but it was sent automatically. I have only had to go to IKA to renew it every year since I retired and got cover through an S1 form.

Warwick

Clio
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:54 pm

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Clio » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:30 am

It's a good question, Warwick, and one I myself have been asking for two years. If anyone had ever been prepared to commit themselves to ruling on the question, I would be able to answer it. And I wouldn't have a problem....

YoMo2
Posts: 1089
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:07 am
Location: Milatos, Lasithi

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby YoMo2 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:57 am

Clio wrote:It's a good question, Warwick, and one I myself have been asking for two years. If anyone had ever been prepared to commit themselves to ruling on the question, I would be able to answer it. And I wouldn't have a problem....


If you don't know the answer, presumably it could be either, which is the root of your "problem"?

Andrew

Kilkis
Posts: 10381
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Kilkis » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:24 am

Sorry, Clio, I was being lazy when I asked the question. I have now looked back at previous posts by you and there you say that you are paying EFKA contributions so I would not have expected you to need to do anything to renew your healthcover. I am guessing but I would have thought that, before EFKA emerged, you would have been paying into TEVE not IKA. I am not sure how TEVE dealt with healthcover because I was never involved with it. Some of the many insurance schemes that existed back then provided healthcover through IKA while others provided it directly. I am not sure how TEVE worked. Despite Greek bureaucracy being harder than diamond I am sure you will eventually grind them down.

When I retired I did not have a lot of the certificates that IKA used to issue to prove that I had made contributions and I needed them to submit my claim for a pension. I was able to go to an IKA office, a finance office not the one dealing with healthcare, and get a printed certificate for the missing years. Is there an EFKA office you could go to and get some official document that proves you have paid EFKA contributions? You could then go back to the healthcare office and ask them to investigate who in that office is stealing your contributions because you have proof that you have paid them but they claim you are not insured.

Warwick

Clio
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:54 pm

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Clio » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:27 am

If you don't know the answer, presumably it could be either, which is the root of your "problem"?


ONE of the roots, Andrew. The whole ongoing narrative, recorded in detail in case I eventually get sick of waiting and submit it to the Greek ombudsman - of whom, incidentally, I hear good things - runs thus far to five A4 pages. I didn't intend to bore fellow members with what is a very individual case - just to pass on bits of gleaned info which might be useful to others.

some official document that proves you have paid EFKA contributions


That was in fact easily obtained, Warwick. But without going into the whole horrendous saga I can't really explain why it doesn't help much.'nuff said, I think, because I've taken up too much of the thread already - and I do actually think that after yesterday's meeting I may be getting somewhere.

Kilkis
Posts: 10381
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Kilkis » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:34 pm

Good luck.

Warwick

altohb
Posts: 865
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:51 pm
Location: Sitia

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby altohb » Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:57 pm

We renewed ours at the IKA office in Sitia this morning. Produced passports and tax clearance certificate, and had to sign the declaration, which showed that we live here, and have no other insurance, and that was it. The declaration was in English, so clear enough - the first copy I was given was in Greek; I filled it in, but the clerk decided that I needed an English one after all, so did it again.

Jeffstclair
Posts: 1240
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:00 pm
Location: The centre of the universe

Re: Block on renewal of IKA books due to BREXIT

Postby Jeffstclair » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:42 pm

That is good news , I'm going into do mine next week ...fingers crossed ...


Return to “General Discussion & News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests