Why doesn't the pharmacy recognize or accept my visitors insurance card? How do I purchase medication?
Dont be surprised if you are asked to pay upfront for medication at the pharmacy - even if you have travel health insurance.
While your regular domestic US health insurance policy enables you to buy medications with just a co-pay, by showing your domestic health insurance card or prescription benefits card to a pharmacist, such is not the case with a travel insurance policy because travel insurance companies cannot support direct billing to pharmacies.
Why is There No Direct Billing at a Pharmacy? Why Do I Have to Pay and Claim?
Its simply not cost-effective or possible because travel insurance is a short-term insurance for visitors traveling from abroad.
For more information, see Why Do I have to Pay Upfront at the Pharmacy?
How Do I Get Medication at a Pharmacy? What is The Process?
You can go to any pharmacy of your choice. In the US, you must have proper prescription for any medication you want to get. There is no separate co-payment and you must pay in full and then file the claim to receive a reimbursement.
As long as you follow the claims process and have the proper receipts, the cost of your medications will be reimbursed as per the insurance policy terms.
Buying Medicine at a Pharmacy
- Make an upfront payment.
- Ask for the receipts.
- You can claim this money from the insurance company, as per the policy coverage.
- Since pharmacies do not store information in their systems for short-term insurance such as Visitor Insurance, you need to make an upfront payment at the pharmacy which you can claim from insurance company later.
Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Insurance at Pharmacies:
Q. I want to buy some medication during my trip. Which pharmacy can I go to? Are there specified pharmacies under my insurance network?
Pharmacies are not covered under direct-billing from the insurance company. You can go to any nearest pharmacy of your choice. As explained above, you must pay first when purchasing any medication and claim the costs accordingly.
Q. How do I know if the particular medicine I want to buy is covered by my policy?
If the prescription is related to any new medical conditions, it should be covered as per the policy. Any routine, ongoing medications related to preexisting conditions and preventative medications are not covered by visitors insurance. Read the exclusions in your policy to learn about what is not covered.
Q. How do I get a prescription refill of medications that are not prescribed by a US-based doctor?
You must visit a doctor in the US to get the medication prescription. Unlike most other countries, pharmacies will not give you medications without a proper written prescription from a US-based, licensed medical doctor/service provider.
Also, your US-based travel insurance company will only reimburse you for the covered benefits, including the medications, that you have purchased with a proper prescription of a US-based licensed medical doctor/service provider.
Q. Is over-the-counter medicine covered by travel medical insurance?
Travel insurance may not pay for any claims made for over-the-counter medicines unless they are prescribed by a doctor in the US.
Q. What is the co-payment for medication at the pharmacy?
There is no separate co-payment for pharmacy, you pay for the medicine in full and the insurance company will process it as per the policy terms when the claim is submitted by you.
Q. Is there a separate deductible applicable for pharmacy benefits?
No, there is not, unless it is specifically written in your policy. Pharmacy claims are treated the same as medical services you have received, and any deductible is applied to the entire amount of services and medication.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pharmacy and Pre-Existing Conditions:
Q. My father is on insulin. Can I buy insulin from the pharmacy? Is it covered by my insurance?
Any existing conditions and related treatment is not covered by visitor medical insurance. You may buy it with a doctors prescription, but it is unlikely to be covered by your insurance.
Q. My mother has high blood pressure and takes medicine on a regular basis; Can I buy her prescription medication from a pharmacy? Will it be covered?
Any existing conditions and related treatment is not covered by visitor medical insurance. You may buy it with a doctors prescription, but it is unlikely to be covered.