USA Travel Insurance – Why Do I Have To Pay Upfront At The Pharmacy?

Many travelers are surprised when they have to pay upfront for their prescription medications at the pharmacy. Unlike domestic insurance plans, it is required to pay for your medication first and then file a claim for reimbursement.

The simple reason is: Not all pharmacies recognize all types of insurance, especially travel insurance. Specifically, pharmacies do not maintain or connect with databases of customers who have travel health insurance. Why? Travel medical insurance policies are short-term, temporary health insurance policies issued for foreign travelers.

It is practically impossible for travel insurance companies to maintain a centralized database of information for foreign tourist and short-term medical insurance policy holders. So, if they don’t recognize the insurance plan – that is, they can’t look up and verify what the insurance provider will pay – they require payment for the medications and you must then file a claim for reimbursement.

Can I go to Any Pharmacy?

Yes you can. For travel insurance for USA plans, preferred provider network for pharmacy is not available.  You can go to any pharmacist of your choice. The prescription you take to a U.S. pharmacy must have been written on the prescription pad from a licensed doctor.

What is the Process to Buy Prescription Medicines?

After presenting your prescription to the pharmacist, they will fill the order for medication and request full payment. In some cases, you can opt for a less expensive – called generic – prescription medicine if the branded medicine is too expensive. Your doctor should note on the prescription whether generics are acceptable.

You can also use a prescription discount card when purchasing prescription medications, which offer a discount on the prescriptions you need.

What is the Process to Make A Prescription Claim?

Keep  copy of your prescription and the receipt for your payment as well as any other paperwork given to you by the pharmacist. Review the process for making claims and download the necessary forms at this page: Claims Procedure and Forms.

Submit your claim form and copies of the prescription, receipt, and other papers – keep a copy for yourself too in case something is lost. See the claim form for instructions to submit. Your claim will be paid according to the terms of your policy.

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