The details of the various medical insurance plans are described below, with reference to HIV. What is important to remember is that medical services for HIV are not approached differently from other illnesses and conditions. All information submitted will be treated 100% confidentially and will not be shared by anyone other than your physician and the insurance company. No one in the UN system will need to know the details, unless you choose to share them.
Health insurance is provided to staff members and the members of their household for whom the United Nations has determined that they are eligible to receive UN entitlements and benefits. You may need to check with your human resources/personnel officer to see who in your household is eligible.
The Medical Insurance Plan (MIP) is a health and dental insurance plan operated by the United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) at most field duty stations for the benefit of their locally-recruited General Service staff members (GS) and National Professional Officers (NPOs).
MIP provides for reimbursement of most medical expenses, including reimbursement at 100 per cent is provided for hospital services and supplies. This is true for medical expenses related to HIV as well.
The following services which may apply to HIV or any other illness are reimbursed at 80 per cent:
- services provided by a qualified physician, at the office or in the hospital, including surgeon's fees and other medical services;
- women's health services;
- laboratory tests and x-rays;
- Drugs and medicines prescribed by a doctor as being necessary for the treatment of an illness;
- immunizations; and
- the cost of two (maximum) voluntary blood tests per covered family member per year for HIV, with no prescription required.
Drugs for HIV, as any other drugs, are reimbursed as follows:
- In the hospital: Reimbursable at the rate of 100% if prescribed by the physician and for use in the hospital.
- Outside of the hospital: Reimbursable at the rate of 80% if prescribed by the physician. The physician's prescription must specify the length of treatment. A prescription may cover for up to a one year drug treatment provided the attending physician clearly and specifically indicates that drug treatment is required for the whole year. Reimbursement is limited to up to a three month supply at a time. If the duration of the treatment exceeds one year, the attending physician must reassess the treatment and issue a new prescription.
- Some UN agencies and duty stations may reimburse at higher rates on a case by case basis. Speak to your operations/human resource/personnel officer or the local UN medical service when available for more details.
- MIP claims for UNDP are now processed outside the UN by a contracted agency. The claims agency does not share details about individual staff members or their family members on medical conditions with the UN. For other UN agencies and programmes, ongoing monitoring of office procedures in handling and processing MIP and other health insurance claims to ensure confidentiality is required.
Cigna is the insurance carrier that covers all internationally recruited staff members in field locations. You can access detailed information about entitlements, including HIV, by logging on to Cigna's Web site. To access the site you must enter the personal reference number indicated on your membership card.
The UN system is still struggling with how to ensure adequate insurance coverage for employees who are not UN staff members and who are therefore not covered directly by UN medical insurance schemes. In some countries, the national health system adequately covers the costs related to health care, including HIV, while in others there is no national health care system or the system in place is not adequate to provide for proper and affordable counselling, testing, treatment and care, including access to drugs and medication.
All information submitted will be treated 100% confidentially and will not be shared by anyone other than your physician and the insurance company.
Some countries, like Kenya, have devised schemes whereby local contractors are required to show proof that they cover HIV-related health care for those who work with the UN system. We hope that similar schemes will be devised and made universal over time.