Understanding the American healthcare system
If you’re moving to the USA, or you plan on spending a considerable amount of time there, you will need to obtain a private health insurance policy to cover you in case of accident or illness.
How to ensure your health is protected
The standard of healthcare available in the US is very high and you’ll be able to access a full range of treatment and prescription medications. However, there is no national healthcare service, and the fairly new ‘Obama Care’ system (the Affordable Care Act) for residents is still rather costly. If you are moving for an employment opportunity, you may find that your employer covers your health and dental care. If this isn’t expressly stated in your employment contract, we suggest getting it written in – you could save yourself a small fortune.
The standard of healthcare available in the US is very high and you’ll be able to access a full range of treatment and prescription medications.
It’s of the utmost importance that you take out the necessary policies to protect your health when you make the move. After all, you bought in the USA to improve your quality of life, so you want to be around to make the most of it for as long as possible. The cost of treatment when uninsured can be astronomical, so just don’t take the risk.
When choosing where to live, be sure to check what medical facilities and pharmacies are close by. This is especially important if you require regular treatment or repeat prescriptions. Before you go, you should check that you have enough medication to last you the duration of your stay, or double check that you will be able to get hold of it locally once you’ve made the move permanently.
If you’ll be residing in the US permanently, there are a number of expat insurance policies available. If you are only planning on staying in the USA for part of the year, it makes sense to arrange an insurance policy in the UK, that covers you in the USA as well
The majority of pharmacies will only accept prescriptions from US doctors
Prescriptions and pharmacies
In the US, chemists are known as drugstores or pharmacies, and the biggest chains are Rite Aid, Eckerd’s, CVS and Walgreens. Much like the UK, the bigger grocery stores often have pharmacies, and you’ll also find independently owned drugstores. Much like Superdrug or Boots in the UK, these stores will sell a range of products alongside medication.
The majority of pharmacies will only accept prescriptions from US doctors, which is why it’s best to bring enough with you if you’re only in town for three or six months to remove any potential for hassle. All cities and most larger towns will have pharmacies that are open 24-hours.
Important telephone numbers
If you have a health emergency you should call the emergency services on 911.
Dental care in the USA is excellent, but you will pay the price for it if it’s not included in your health insurance policy.
You can read more about healthcare in the USA in our USA Property Guide. Download your free copy here today.
The Healthcare guide will provide information on
• How to get healthcare
• Private medical insurance
• Planning ahead
• How overseas services compare with the NHS
• What could happen after Brexit