Pre-existing condition or cancel for any reason insurance?

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Oct 6, 2017
4
5
1
#1
Hello,

I am about to book a trip and am trying to decide which insurance policy would be best for my particular needs. I would like to travel abroad during Christmas, internationally, half-way around the world. I take non-essential but helpful prescription medication for a medical condition that has been well-controlled for at least twenty years. My doctor sometimes goes abroad during this time on short notice, leaving me with the unexpected difficulty of obtaining a speedy or convenient refill. It once caused me to cancel a trip, losing a lot of money. I would like to avoid that. I cannot find anything about an inability to get a refill on a prescription in a timely manner to be covered in most travel-related medical insurance.

So I think that the problem isn't exactly a medical problem. It's more of a problem with my doctor's erratic travel habits and generally poor office coverage when he goes abroad. And the condition is under control. Also, I have no idea if this will occur this year, or not. I've tried getting information without any luck. I am ready to book my flights before they go up any further. I only have this one vacation time per year to travel. I'm glad to pay extra because I really do not have much money and would feel peace of mind to know that if this came up, I could not lose too much.

Only the cost of the flight itself, which is about $2,000, would be a problem if I had to cancel the trip. The accommodations I am looking at have refundable options.

So would it make more sense for me to get cancel for any reason insurance or some other medical coverage insurance of some kind? I am not sure how this situation -- which must come up on occasion for other people -- would be interpreted? And I don't know much about travel insurance. Numbers and policies make my head spin. Thanks for your thoughts.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,686
11,277
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
An inability to fill a prescription is not a covered reason for an insurance claim. You would need to buy an expensive Cancel for any Reason policy and they don't reimburse you 100%.

A condition is generally not considered pre-ex if it has not has any major changes in the last year or so and if medicine has been controlling it and there hasn't been a change in meds.

For example- you had a heart attack 10 years ago and have been managing with meds and haven't had another occurance- in most cases not a pre-excondition.

But you must call any travel insurance company and ask them. Better to get it right from them.
 
Likes: jsn55
Apr 10, 2017
318
537
93
#3
How long do you plan to be gone on this trip? Most medications can be authorized for a 1 month supply at a time. Is it something that can't be prescribed with refills and requires your doctor to give a new Rx each time? It's usually once a month. Those meds normally require a paper Rx and can't be called in anyway. In that case it wouldn't matter where your doctor was as you'd have to pick up the Rx in person.
 
Likes: jsn55
#4
Unless your prescription is prohibitively costly why don't you just get a 30 or 90 day supply at any time before you leave? If, like most prescriptions, it has a one-year shelf life, get it while you can and use it as needed.

Also, keep in mind that if you're traveling in some European countries many drugs that require a prescription here are available over-the-counter or if you can show an empty prescription bottle with your name on it. You'd really have to do your homework in advance of your trip, though, to find out if your medicine qualifies.

Alternatively, you could just get a written prescription now, file it at your pharmacy and, unless it's prohibited by the drug's Category, fill it just before you leave.

No matter what you do about your prescription, travel insurance is very important to cover a lot of other things that can go wrong. I won't leave home without it.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,686
11,277
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
How long do you plan to be gone on this trip? Most medications can be authorized for a 1 month supply at a time. Is it something that can't be prescribed with refills and requires your doctor to give a new Rx each time? It's usually once a month. Those meds normally require a paper Rx and can't be called in anyway. In that case it wouldn't matter where your doctor was as you'd have to pick up the Rx in person.
It depends on what the prescription is for. If it is a controlled substance, you usually have to actually see the doctor every month to fill and can't fill large quantities.

And in NY where we live, there are no paper prescriptions anymore. All RX's are electronic.

My wife has to go through this with her meds. She has some job co-ordinating if we are going to be traveling near when she would be due for her appt.
 
Apr 10, 2017
318
537
93
#6
It depends on what the prescription is for. If it is a controlled substance, you usually have to actually see the doctor every month to fill and can't fill large quantities.

And in NY where we live, there are no paper prescriptions anymore. All RX's are electronic.

My wife has to go through this with her meds. She has some job co-ordinating if we are going to be traveling near when she would be due for her appt.
That's why I was asking what kind of medication it was and how long she would be gone. If it's just a 2 week trip she should be fine. And if it's a controlled substance it can't be refilled without seeing the doctor anyway. That means her doctor's work schedule wouldn't matter if she is out of the country.
 
Apr 10, 2017
318
537
93
#7
Unless your prescription is prohibitively costly why don't you just get a 30 or 90 day supply at any time before you leave? If, like most prescriptions, it has a one-year shelf life, get it while you can and use it as needed.

Also, keep in mind that if you're traveling in some European countries many drugs that require a prescription here are available over-the-counter or if you can show an empty prescription bottle with your name on it. You'd really have to do your homework in advance of your trip, though, to find out if your medicine qualifies.

Alternatively, you could just get a written prescription now, file it at your pharmacy and, unless it's prohibited by the drug's Category, fill it just before you leave.

No matter what you do about your prescription, travel insurance is very important to cover a lot of other things that can go wrong. I won't leave home without it.
So true about travel insurance, especially when going to a foreign country. I never leave home without it either.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jan 6, 2015
1,925
1,843
113
#8
In our state with our insurance, it depends on the policy. Some insurers (e.g., BCBS and Aetna) will allow a 90 day supply for certain prescription medications (i.e., not a controlled substance). They may require that you use their supplier (currently the case for me).

And I have asked my doctors to do that, which they happily do if the insurance allows (meaning it's covered) and again it's not a controlled substance.

Alternatively, doctors can prescribe a 90 day supply (not a controlled substance) outside of insurance coverage but you then have to pay out-of-pocket. But, in my opinion it is worth it to have an emergency supply.

Finally, there are pharmacies (e.g., Publix) who have discount programs they can offer for certain prescriptions. I used that once to get an emergency supply (doctor had prescribed a non-controlled substance). You can also check out goodrx.com
 
Oct 6, 2017
4
5
1
#9
I appreciate the advice, but to remind: I am not seeking advice for how to better obtain my prescription, which is not at all a controlled substance (since that has been brought up). It makes sense why people bring that up, but it really is not possible to resolve by any other means, and I have already tried every possibility mentioned. My medical situation is personal. But, it should not keep me from traveling. And sometimes I've had to cancel a trip because of it. The timing is bad, but it is all I have.

So my question was just whether this would have to be solved best through cancel anytime insurance or something else since it related to having a sometimes hard time filling a prescription because of my doctor's office, not because of my medical condition or insurance or laws around refills. See, that confuses me.

It sounds like the cancel any reason insurance is best, but that I could still lose up to 25% of the flight costs? Is that about right based on what I am saying? That's a lot of money, unfortunately. I wish they paid a bit more than 75% for the cancel any reason insurance. Still, it's better than nothing.

Also, someone mentioned calling the travel insurance company in advance? I had not thought of that. Would there to any drawbacks to that? If not, I could call them and ask.

Thanks for any other thoughts about these two kinds of insurances. I do think it should qualify for medical related coverage, but it seems to fall outside of it?
 
Likes: agnostic
Oct 6, 2017
4
5
1
#10
Very complicated medical situation. Does not preclude travel. Does not involve controlled substances. Still, the doctor will not give travel advances, and the medication would be very hard to get overseas. See, if it were easy to solve, I wouldn't be looking for some kind of insurance to cover problems leading to travel cancellations, which can and have come up.
 
Likes: agnostic
#11
Very complicated medical situation. Does not preclude travel. Does not involve controlled substances. Still, the doctor will not give travel advances, and the medication would be very hard to get overseas. See, if it were easy to solve, I wouldn't be looking for some kind of insurance to cover problems leading to travel cancellations, which can and have come up.
Time to find a new doctor -- one who can write a script and tell you, "Fill this prescription, put the pills in your pocket and take 'em if you need 'em." If it's not a controlled substance I can't imagine what kind of situation would preclude you from self medicating if absolutely needed.

One other thing to keep in mind: some policies will cover pre-existing conditions if you purchase them within 14 days, or so, from the date you make your reservations. Read the policy forms and call the insurance companies as suggested previously. If it's not a physical illness then most travel insurance will not cover psychological medication or treatment.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
5,915
6,005
113
San Francisco
#12
It seems to me that you have an MD problem. This is definitely not a travel insurance problem. Why would a doctor not give you an Rx for sufficient meds to last you during your trip? If your insurance won't pay for more than a pre-set amount, you may need to purchase the meds with cash. You might want to find a doctor who puts your needs first.

Just for the record, if you have to cancel a trip, the airline will normally give you credit towards a future flight, so you're only losing the cancel/change fee amount, not the whole fare I'm sorry if I don't understand the problem correctly.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,686
11,277
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#13
Time to find a new doctor -- one who can write a script and tell you, "Fill this prescription, put the pills in your pocket and take 'em if you need 'em." If it's not a controlled substance I can't imagine what kind of situation would preclude you from self medicating if absolutely needed.

One other thing to keep in mind: some policies will cover pre-existing conditions if you purchase them within 14 days, or so, from the date you make your reservations. Read the policy forms and call the insurance companies as suggested previously. If it's not a physical illness then most travel insurance will not cover psychological medication or treatment.
Many do but if you can't get a prescription
filled, unless you buy Cancel for any Reason coverage, canceling because you can't get a scrip filled is not covered.

We can sit and debate forever- yes, not being able to get a prescription filled timely is a problem with the doctor but that's neither here nor there. All Sabina wants to know is if she has do cancel- not because of a pre-existing medical condition- because she cannot get
her scrips filled, if a traditional travel insurance would cover canceling for that reason.

No- that is not a covered reason to cancel with any travel insurance policy I have ever seen.

The only policy that will cover for that reason is CFAR and there are none sold through
3rd parties that repay 100%. Some reimburse as low as 60% but there are none that cover with cash back of 100%.

They don't want you to cancel for a non covered reason - that's why no policy will reimburse you 100% in cash. It is a deterrent for canceling.
 
Sep 19, 2015
1,261
2,329
113
47
#14
Sabina as Neil has pointed out cancel for any reason is your only option given the scenario you described. I looked at cancel for any reason and the policy offered in the state I live only paid 75 percent. Like you, I booked hotels that I would be able to cancel. The main issue was airfare. My airfare if I remember was about $2000. The ticket allowed me to cancel before departure and rebook for a $400 fee (international ticket). I also had the issue of my cancellation reason would not be covered (behind at work). The CFAR insurance would have cost me as much as the change fee. After looking at the overall cost, and the state of my health, I chose not to take the insurance as I knew I would be traveling again within 6 months. I did weigh the risk of something catastrophic happening like an accident or severe illness and still decided to take the risk.

My point is that each traveler has to look over the numbers and find a level of risk that they are comfortable with. If my ticket was use it or lose it I would have bought the insurance. If something catastrophic happened and the credit would be lost I was ok with that; but that was a risk I was willing to take.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,686
11,277
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
That is absolutely correct. The cost of the policy might outweigh a cancellation fee. The only difference would be that you would also have coverage for other things- emergency medical or evacuation, list or delayed flights, baggage, etc.

Medical insurance is really a necessity if you are traveling outside the US and your own health insurance doesn't cover you outside the US.
 
Likes: George M
Oct 6, 2017
4
5
1
#16
Thanks very much, Neil and also Christina (I couldn't rebook for an entire year, or perhaps more, although it sounds like that worked for you, Christina, so very glad -- for me, yep, it winds up like "use it or lose it"). So I will get cancel for any reason insurance and rest easier about the trip. That sounds like it would best fit my situation, and 75% coverage sounds like better than nothing; also, it's bundled in with travel insurance for medical, which I should really travel with. Much appreciated advice and off to book my tickets with some sense of greater ease.

Appreciate the focus, Neil. You really answered my question very well. I am grateful for it.
 
Sep 19, 2015
1,261
2,329
113
47
#17
Sabina it is great that you are being proactive before taking your trip and considering what could go wrong. Compare policies and find the best one for your situation. Hopefully you will not need it but you will have peace of mind and that is worth a lot.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,686
11,277
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
I agree with Christina. I wish that everyone would ask questions before they travel to eliminate problems after.

One thing to note about CFAR- if you end up having to cancel for a COVERED reason, you would receive 100% back. The reduced coverage is only if you had to cancel for a non covered reason, such as the prescription problem.

Make sure you adhere to the time frames to purchase a policy that covers pre-ex conditions just in case you have to cancel due to the medical condition itself. With third party policies that is generally within 14-21 days of making your deposit.
 
Likes: Patina
Jun 30, 2017
15
8
3
71
#20
How long do you plan to be gone on this trip? Most medications can be authorized for a 1 month supply at a time. Is it something that can't be prescribed with refills and requires your doctor to give a new Rx each time? It's usually once a month. Those meds normally require a paper Rx and can't be called in anyway. In that case it wouldn't matter where your doctor was as you'd have to pick up the Rx in person.
The vast majority of prescribed medications for common conditions such as HBP, diabetes, GI problems, thyroid problems etc. can be and are prescribed as 90 days supply with 3 refills for a year's supply. Pain medications and some other DEA limited medications can be given in limited amounts (and some states are restricting further) and cannot be refilled or called into a pharmacy. They require a new prescription for each refill.