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Re: [IPk] RE: Health insurance for America



Hi Melisa

I agree with what Rich says about the general state of things. Here
are some more specific details re your questions, marked with * below.

Melissa
Type 1 15 years; MiniMed pumper 7.5 years; Animas pumper 4.5 years

Hope someone can give me some advice here. My family and I have fallen in love
with America, and its become our dream to buy property there and spend the
maximum of 3 months there at some point.  I am worried about my health whilst
there, what sort of things would health insurance cover for me?
* You would want to check into whether you could get a UK travel
insurance policy to cover you for 3 months in lieu of US-based major
medical insurance. If you are on a visit to the US of 3
months/visa-free travel, and not employed in the US, I doubt a
US-based insurer would be willing to grant you a policy.

bearing in
mind I would take everything from home with me, but in case I had some faulty
cannulas, blood strips etc and how would I go about purchasing them whilst
there?
* Your NHS doctor can give you up to 6 months worth of medication and
supplies at one time if you explain that you are going away on an
extended trip but you will continue to live in the UK ordinarily and
you will come back here at the end of your travels. The NHS does not
*like* to do this but it is completely possible if you have a good
chat with your GP. If you die with unused supplies in your cupboard
they can have them back if they want 'em (just a bit of morbid
teasing! Kidding!!). Anyway, just work with your GP and PCT to get a
big lot of supplies and take them with you. You can notify the UK
office of your pump company that you will need support from the US
during the time frame of your visit and the US & UK offices can most
likely make a deal to give you customer support directly in the US
while you're there.

 and if I have to see a doctor do I have to pay and then pay for my
perscription as well?
* If you came down with a chest infection or a site infection or a
really horrible virus and required a doctor's care in the US so that
you could obtain a prescription from a US pharmacy, then YES, you
would have to pay at least something up front. As I say above, you
might get a good deal through a travel insurance policy. If you came
down with something that a doctor would attest was not directly
related to your diabetes - for example, strep throat - you could get
reimbursed for some of your expenses under the terms of your travel
insurance policy depending on what it covers/doesn't cover etc. The
good news is, as Rich says, there are a lot of "walk-in" medical
centers. Also, many of the most common prescription-only drugs are
available generic from Wal-Mart or Target for $5 for a full course. If
you want to look at the lists of drugs available so cheaply, you can
find them on http://www.wal-mart.com and http://www.target.com under
the Pharmacy sections. If you want to get an idea of the usual prices
of drugs *not* listed on those sites, http://www.drugstore.com is a
great resource.

I've read horror stories about people ending up in
thousands of pounds of debt after becoming ill in America as their insurance
has a limit.   Also, if we got employment there and got a working visa, how
much approx would it cost me to fund my own consumables?
* The cost of care to yourself would depend entirely on the quality of
the health insurance offered by the company employing you. As a rule
of thumb, companies with 50 or fewer employees cannot afford to offer
health insurance of the calibre that type 1 pumpers really benefit
from. Another rule of thumb is that companies with some relation to
healthcare (pharma companies, hospitals, manufacturers of medical
equipment etc.) tend to offer better health insurance to employees. If
you were to find a good job for yourself that didn't offer great
benefits but your husband got a job with good benefits, you could
notify your own employer that you didn't need their health insurance
and then be listed as a dependent on your husband's plan. So as long
as ONE of you has a good plan, your whole family (inc any children)
will be covered. But if both of you wanted to work as independent
contractors - say real estate agents - you would be sunk. I had
excellent health insurance working for a major pharmaceutical company
that had about 20,000 employees in the US.

and would I have to pay for my own HBA1c's whilst there
* Yes. If you want a not-so-accurate but cheap A1C you can buy a
non-prescription home-use kit called A1CNow from any retail pharmacy
in the US that costs $20 for a single result. Personally I don't trust
it but that's just my opinion. To get a high quality A1C test you
would have to visit a doctor ($$) and get a lab test ordered. The full
retail price of an A1C at Quest Diagnostics, one the US's largest
laboratory network companies, was $68 in 2007. By the time that
discounts and coverage from my health insurance kicked in, I paid only
$2.48.

and my other meds like Pregablin,Thyroxine, B12 etc?
* Yes - see the websites above for prices. Remember if you get a good
insurance plan the most you'll pay for a prescription is 30% of the
retail price in most cases. If you go for an HMO like Kaiser
Permanente (look up health maintenance organization in google to read
about HMOs) you might pay more monthly but nothing extra out of pocket
for prescriptions and doctor's appointments but - like the NHS - you
would have to see specific doctors in succession rather than go
straight to a specialist even if you know you need a specialist.

 Its such a pity that England is one of the few countries
which cant enter the Green Card lottery !   Its times like these I really
curse being diabetic as I feel it is stopping me doing what I really want to
do in life.
* LOL! As a diabetic in the US, having diabetes was stopping me doing
what I really wanted to do. I stayed in a job I intensely disliked for
for months after I'd had enough primarily because I needed the health
insurance.

 Australia wont have us either because of it, or Canada. Whatever
happened to equal opps?, it really grinds me.   Cheers, mel
* Where is the info about Australia & Canada not accepting people with
diabetes? I haven't come across that.
.
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