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Old 09-29-2014, 03:51 PM   #1
HanShotFirst OP
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Big trips and health issues/meds

All,

I'm not sure where to post this, so if this is the wrong place, my apologies.

Many who go on the BIG TRIP are older like I am. So I was wondering, do any of you long trippers have any health issues? If so, how do you manage?

For example, I have asthma and allergies. My asthma is exacerbated by allergens and after a few days out in the good ole outdoors, things can become an issue. I'm experimenting with different allergy shots, and we'll see how that goes.

But if I were to be gone for 6 months, I'm not sure how I'd get 6 months of my Singulair. For a very long trip it would be a good idea to have some Prednisone packs for when things get dicey.

With all the HMO's today, they won't give you meds for anything but 30 days.

So how do people address this issue?
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:34 PM   #2
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I had my doctor write a prescription for "1/2-1" of my blood pressure medicine and double the dose a couple years ago. Now as long as I remember to refill it I get double and build a stockpile. Just make sure you always take the oldest first, after several years they may lose a little potency. Most things the expiration date doesn't matter, if the bottle isn't sealed with an oxygen absorber you are good to go for at least twice the length of the expiration date.

I convinced him by saying my insurance didn't cover all of it but charged the same price no matter the dose so this would get me it half price and I would know to take just half of one. This was true, but he didn't check anyway.
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:46 PM   #3
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If you are staying stateside, have your Physician write the script for multiple refills (to cover your estimated trip duration) and have it filled at a nationwide pharmacy chain. While traveling a refill should only be phone call away.
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:10 AM   #4
Vertical C
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What is a hmo? Which countries you travelling to?
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:37 AM   #5
HanShotFirst OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertical C View Post
What is a hmo? Which countries you travelling to?
HMO=worthless!!

For now I'm just traveling in the US & Canada but I'll be doing Mexico in a few years.

I actually figure it's easier to get meds in Mexico, but south of Mexico, I have no clue.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:34 AM   #6
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HMO = "health maintenance organization," a type of health insurer that controls costs by limiting access to certain types of care, and, in some cases, by operating their own healthcare facilities.

I belong to Kaiser Permanente which, while not perfect, does allow me to order 3 months' worth of meds at once, online, and have them shipped anywhere in the US. When I was diagnosed with ABPA, a lung disorder, the pulmonologist wrote me a prescription for a huge amount of prednisone -- more than I'll need in 5 years, I hope.

If your insurer or pharmacy doesn't ship, you could ask someone to pick up and mail your meds, unless they're controlled substances. And I don't know if you could have them shipped internationally.

vaara screwed with this post 09-30-2014 at 10:43 AM
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:57 PM   #7
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I used to use Express Scripts, and they required your scripts to be written for 3 months (with 3 refills). Check them out.
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:08 PM   #8
PineyMountainRacing
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The 30 days, 90 days, etc are requirements of your insurance company. If you normally get a 90 day supply, and you're leaving 4 weeks into that 90 day supply, and you're gonna be gone for 4 months, have your doc write an extra script to cover the shortage, plus an extra week or two, and tell the pharmacist you will be paying cash for the adjunt script (not running it thru your insurance). This might not work for your Percocet and Xanax, but that way you don't have to mess with getting meds while you're traveling .
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:35 PM   #9
bwringer
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Get the $4 prescription list from your local Wally World or Target (or other national soulless megachain) and see if you can use meds on the list. Sometimes it's not worth futzing with insurance.
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Old 10-02-2014, 06:45 PM   #10
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Whatever you do, call your insurance provider and ask. Validate your approach before you leave. None of us can give you advice on exactly how your plan will handle a given situation. Plus, they will probably have some ideas for how you can handle this. They're in the business of keeping you healthy. It may seem like an odd situation but when you're a health plan with hundreds of thousands or millions of members, you have an off the shelf answer for pretty much every possible scenario someone could call about.

That said, pretty much every plan (of every style, even HMOs) uses a third party PBM (pharmacy benefits manager) to run their drug benefits. It's very common for most plans to force you to mail order for maintenance drugs, which plays to your benefit, since most also have either a requirement or some cost incentive to buy them many months at a time - 90 days is common. Even if they only fill them 30 days at a time, you should be able to make arrangements to have them mailed to wherever you'll be when you need your next refill, if you're at a hotel for instance. If you're camping or won't have an address that can be mailed to, you can ask what pharmacies they're associated with, as pretty much every PBM has ties into one or more national chains - they will ship the drugs to whatever branch is closest to you and you can go pick them up.

Worst case you can always call your doc and have him phone the script to just about any pharmacy in the country. Even plans that technically require you to go mail-order for maintenance drugs will usually have a provision to let you get a certain number of fills in person to accommodate things like travel.
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:21 PM   #11
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Han, first check to see if your medical insurance covers you in foreign countries. Expect that it does not. In Canada, there are two options--Visa and Mastercard. You can buy trip insurance for foreign medical and medical repatriation. Check on that.

Try calling your insurance and tell them that you will be doing extensive travel--see how they handle that. If necessary, see if you can buy the meds and get repaid when you submit the receipts. There's a way. Bring the 'scripts and a copy of the pertinent medical records for a quickie visit to a foreign M.D. for a local prescription. They'll always cost less than a U.S. prescription.

ExpressScripts is terrible. They are the pharmacy manager for my insurance. I buy from a local pharmacy, those folks bill ExpressScripts, ExpressScrips bills my insurance. ExpressScripts took it on themselves to contact my Dr. and get my prescription transferred to themselves. I buy from the local pharmacy to (a) keep the money local, (b) the price is actually lower. I finally had to call ExpressScripts, demand to talk to a supervisor, and tell them that if they sent me any more pills, either send me a prepaid mailer to send them back, or I'd consider them a gift and never pay for them. They stopped forcing their drugs on me. ExpressScripts wants the retail mark up on the drugs, that's all. My wife used a very expensive rheumatoid arthritis injectable drug, $20+k per year, and ExpressScripts refused to let us buy it from the local pharmacy at lower cost! She's now using a different drug, intravenous infusion quarterly, $3400 per dose, administered at the Dr.'s office, ExpressScripts is out of that picture.
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:52 AM   #12
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I've never heard of an HMO that didn't have a mail order Rx plan -- and most of those only work on 3 month intervals. That's their business model: cuts paperwork, billing, shipping by 2/3.

In any event, our doc writes scripts with refills that are date-sensitive. You can only get one month's worth at a time. If you tried to get next month's meds early, they won't fill it. Bring that script to a national chain, and you have nationwide access to your meds.
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Old 10-08-2014, 03:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HanShotFirst View Post
I have asthma and allergies. My asthma is exacerbated by allergens and after a few days out in the good ole outdoors, things can become an issue. I'm experimenting with different allergy shots, and we'll see how that goes.

But if I were to be gone for 6 months, I'm not sure how I'd get 6 months of my Singulair. For a very long trip it would be a good idea to have some Prednisone packs for when things get dicey.

So how do people address this issue?
Were I in your place, I'd consider the state and stability of my health first, and my ability to secure a large supply of medicine second, when mulling over the wisdom of taking an extended motorcycle road trip. This is especially important since I know that my allergies and asthma aren't going to go away, or perhaps even improve, irrespective of my medication intake. It would be a matter of controlling them. And perhaps I could do so successfully. If not, what would be the threshold event that would require me to turn my front tire toward home? Some honest discernment is necessary here.

Good luck to you.
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