Many people are becoming expatriates these days who are currently taking prescription drugs for short term or chronic medical conditions. Others may have to take medicine for new ailments or injuries that may occur on a short or long term work assignment overseas or when traveling or retiring abroad. While most countries have much lower prescription costs than the United States, there are many that have drug costs that be be very expensive, especially if it drug is being used to treat a major illness, is a brand name or new drug. For example, the new biologic medicines that are essentially genetically engineered to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the drugs can cost as much as $1000 to $3000 USD per month. Another expensive drug is Sovaldi, which was approved in 2013 to treat Hepatitis C, which is quite common in some developing and developed countries. This new drug is quite effective, but can reach almost $80,000 over a 12 week treatment period.
So, what can expatriates do? The simple and most answer is to obtain a global medical insurance plan that will cover your global prescription costs while living overseas. Most group plans will have high limits for drug costs, but you should check with your HR manager. Some group plans that employers have put in place will not cover prescriptions or exclude pre-existing conditions. For individual expat health coverage, most policies will provide some prescription drug coverage or allow you to add it as an option. However, if you are already taking a medication for a pre-existing medical condition, the individual plan provider may exclude that condition and the drug costs associated with it. That’s why it makes sense to obtain your global medical coverage as soon as you are about to move overseas before you get sick or injured.
Expat Financial offers several global insurance plans that will provide excellent drug coverage for expatriates who living abroad. Some of the global medical plans we offer can even cover local nationals in select countries. The international health plans from providers such as Cigna and Allianz can provide prescription drug coverage for most expatriates. The base coverage for such plans will provide prescription drug cover if admitted to a hospital, but you will need to get the out-patient module if you want drug coverage outside a hospital setting. You can get a quote and even apply for the individual expat health plans we offer.
We also offer group plans that can provide very comprehensive drug coverage for expatriate employees. To learn more, contact Expat Financial today.