Peace Corps medical care vs. FECA

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: July 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: July 5, 2003 - PCOL Exclusive: A Volunteer's Courage : Peace Corps medical care vs. FECA

By RPCV 1995-97 ( - on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 11:46 pm: Edit Post

As an RPCV who had numerous health issues to deal with after Peace Corps, and one who has dealt with FECA and DOL for over 6 years, I am well-acquainted with these issues. First, people need to separate issues with Peace Corps medical care from issues with care after Peace Corps. Peace Corps is no more responsible for the problems of DOL and FECA than it would be if the IRS made a mistake in processing a volunteer's tax return. FECA is incredibly incompetent--I myself have mailed and remailed claims, called only to get no followup, and been given the run-around for over 2 years trying to recoup $2000 in reimbursments. However, once you leave Peace Corps, this is what you get---and this is not Peace Corps' doing but a general issue for the federal government.

People also need to recognize that as adults, we have responsability for our own lives and for managing our health care. We have to learn how to fill out forms, find doctors, and make decisions. Ordinary people do this every day with their HMOs and private health care plans. That is part of being an adult in the US, where we don't have government-sponsored health care. Many volunteers seem to become used to having everything provided to them in Peace Corps, and do not know how to take the initiative to manage their own needs after they leave.

It takes time and effort, but I can say with no reservation that I have gotten complete care thanks to my FECA benefits--better care than I would ever have gotten from any health insurance plan. I have seen the best doctors. I have never had my care questioned or denied. But this was not because I relied on Peace Corps to do it for me. It was because I spent the time to learn the system, locate doctors that would work with me, and make sure that forms were filled out correctly. All of the necessary information was available in the book that Peace Corps gave me when I left. If I needed to, I looked at the DOL website and downloaded the forms that I needed. I even called DOL---probably 100 times. It was frustrating--but it worked.

I can also guarantee that the anecdotal stories of people who were "sent home and never got follow up care" are incomplete. I know plenty of people who didn't bother to take care of themselves and blamed Peace Corps. I hate to see the staff at Peace Corps excoriated, particularly by people who base their reasons on gossip, frustration, or one-sided pictures. The people at Peace Corps were some of the most caring and helpful people that I ever met. Certainly more caring and helpful than staff at Blue Cross or DOL. These people work at Peace Corps because they WANT to, not because they simply need a job. They aren't perfect, but again, compare them to people that you deal with in other government offices or service-related companies. It's a disgrace that DOL staff and Peace Corps staff are probably considered equal within the federal government.

Peace Corps was created to provide help to other countries, and in the process give Americans the opportunity to serve. That is the mandate of the Peace Corps. Managing the personal lives of former volunteers is not. I, for one, would rather have them spending time on current volunteers. If we managed to get into Peace Corps and be resourceful enough to live and work overseas, we should certainly be able to take care of ourselves when were finished.

By ( - on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 6:32 am: Edit Post

Its the government and they should be responsible. That's it.

By ( - on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 6:43 am: Edit Post

That is absolutely bunk. There is the Vienna person again. Alot of them work at Peace Corps for a job.

When wrong doing and government institutions are run by inept people I will fight back.

I will bet you have worked at Peace Corps or are working there. Remember we will be testifying on the hill about your friends who help terrorist and rapist by being petty, hurtful and harmful. We will take care of your friends spiteful gossip and non medically related negligent health care practices.


Why don't you give yours?

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.