I can’t give any super advice, but this was my experience:
When they switched to the photo card with the magnetic stripe, apparently there was some confusion. My employer sent in all the paperwork, and they sent it back, ostensibly because the picture was bent or creased because of folding to fit it in the envelope. We replaced the picture and my employer sent it back in. We waited for months. I forget how many months, but it was several months. I guess the switch to the new kind of card caused some confusion.
A couple of months after the card arrived, I changed employers. Foolishly, I didn’t look at my pay statements carefully, or I would have seen that my employer was not deducting health insurance payments from my pay. Then, I had a dental problem, and the issue of insurance came up, and my employer told me (which I should have known if I had checked the pay slips) that I wasn’t covered. I had to pay a little arrears but got my insurance back up to snuff.
Recently, I’ve changed employers again, so there may be another problem. I’ll be checking into it soon.
Someone posted about other kinds of health insurance. I’m not saying anything against that, not at all, but in my opinion, a person would be very well advised to get some kind of health insurance here, and the most convenient form for me is national health insurance. And regardless of the comedy of errors of which I wrote above, I’ve gotten good mileage from the insurance. I haven’t had anything major yet (knock wood), but for what little medical care I have had, the health card has been a boon. Also, I’ve gotten a good deal of dental work with it, which was a boon.
I can’t offer much help there. I’ve spent the past couple of years here raging at this and that, and I’m starting to suspect that for me, that’s a health problem in itself. Now, I’ve begun trying to figure out how not to have any rage to vent.
Hope this helps,