Visitor Insurance provides various benefits to a visitor when he is away from his home country. These benefits range from acquiring medical attention in case of an unexpected health emergency, using emergency medical evacuation services, natural disaster coverage, return of minor children coverage and many others (surprising) benefits. However, when it comes to buying medications at a pharmacy, visitor insurance works in a different way than regular domestic health insurance, especially in USA. With domestic healthcare systems the insured can purchase medications with a copay at the pharmacy, but insured visitors have to pay upfront from their pocket and submit claims for reimbursement.
Why do Pharmacies ask for payment from Visitors?
Visitor insurance plans are short term and temporary plans for international travelers. For visitors, there is no network of pharmacies. Direct billing between pharmacies and insurance companies is not possible. Hence visitors are supposed to pay out-of-their pocket and file for reimbursement.
How travelers can buy medications?
Visitors after visiting the medical care provider can take their prescription to any pharmacy near them. There is no restriction to which pharmacy they can visit. At the pharmacy, they pay the entire amount for the medication they receive. Additionally, insurance companies sometimes provide visitors with discount cards, which they can use to avail discounts at the pharmacy for medications. It can also be used for over-the-counter medicines at the pharmacy. It is very important that a visitor asks for receipt from the pharmacist. This receipt is later on used to file claims from the insurance company.
Claim process for prescription drugs
Visitor insurance company treats prescription drugs same as any medical service that a visitor avails during his trip. For filing claims for prescription drugs, these drugs firstly must be prescribed by a licensed doctor or caregiver. The visitor must carefully fill the claim forms and attach all the receipts indicating when and which medicines were purchased. These should be purchased within the timeframe when his visitor insurance policy is still active.
Forms duly filled and receipts must be sent to the insurance company (mailing address is available at the back of the insurance ID card). After verification, the insurance company reimburses according to the insurance policy terms and conditions.
Things to remember regarding purchase of medicines
A visitor must remember few important things when he (or intends to) purchase medication in a foreign land:
1. Visitors insurance plan will only cover prescribed medicines by US-based licensed doctors inside USA.
2. Insurance company will only consider the receipts with medications prescribed for a treatment or medical condition covered within the plan. Moreover, these prescriptions have to be prescribed by licensed medical providers.
3. If the visitor suffers from pre-existing conditions, for example, high blood pressure and he needs medicines to treat an ongoing treatment, these medications won’t be reimbursed by the visitor insurance company. Most of the plans do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions and therefore the prescription drugs for them may or may not be covered (depending on the policy).
4. Claims can’t be submitted for over-the-counter medicines.
MCIS recommends visitors to bring their needed medicines from home country, not just for the duration of their trip but always more than required quantity in case their trip is prolonged than planned. Also, carry your own blood pressure and blood sugar measuring kits and remember, prevention is better than cure, especially outside your home country. For any questions, feel free to give MCIS agents a call at 1-855-444-6247 or 1-510-353-1180.
Category: Visitor Insurance
October 11, 2016 at 09:21 PM