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Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Old Jul 8th 2009, 12:51 pm
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Default Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Hello all
we're off in three weeks - as I type the shippers are in fact just driving off - and now the chaos of moving is nearly over, I've got a few questions that I thought I'd lump into one post (sorry if they're obvious to some - we haven't had much time to research the basics so far)

1. Can anyone tell me how you go about visiting a doctor/dentist/optician in US once you've moved? Is it a case of finding one (like you would here) who's taking on new patients, then forwarding all bills to the insurance company? How do you get your medical records sent to the US doctor? My husband's company is giving us extensive health coverage - including everything from dentistry to childbirth - but I'm not sure how you go about actually seeing a doctor etc.

2. Are we likely to be approved for credit cards immediately? Or for buying a car? Renting an apartment? Do you need to have your social security number first? We're being put up for a month initially by OH's company, but then we'll need to rent our own place/buy our own car/get a credit card.

3. Is it advisable to pay off all credit cards/overdrafts we have in the UK before we leave for States?

4. Does anyone use HSBC to do international banking? We'll be receiving a monthly income from the rent of our house in London - is it best to keep that in a UK account or have it transferred to US acccount?

Thanks so much for your time x
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 12:57 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Originally Posted by CherylH View Post
Hello all
we're off in three weeks - as I type the shippers are in fact just driving off - and now the chaos of moving is nearly over, I've got a few questions that I thought I'd lump into one post (sorry if they're obvious to some - we haven't had much time to research the basics so far)

1. Can anyone tell me how you go about visiting a doctor/dentist/optician in US once you've moved? Is it a case of finding one (like you would here) who's taking on new patients, then forwarding all bills to the insurance company? How do you get your medical records sent to the US doctor? My husband's company is giving us extensive health coverage - including everything from dentistry to childbirth - but I'm not sure how you go about actually seeing a doctor etc.

2. Are we likely to be approved for credit cards immediately? Or for buying a car? Renting an apartment? Do you need to have your social security number first? We're being put up for a month initially by OH's company, but then we'll need to rent our own place/buy our own car/get a credit card.

3. Is it advisable to pay off all credit cards/overdrafts we have in the UK before we leave for States?

4. Does anyone use HSBC to do international banking? We'll be receiving a monthly income from the rent of our house in London - is it best to keep that in a UK account or have it transferred to US acccount?

Thanks so much for your time x
What visa will you be on?? Once you are set up with your health insurance you will be able to look up drs who are working under your plan - you just call them up and off you go. You dont need to get your medical records transfered over - mine really wasnt interested at all!! As for dental or opticians I have no clue sorry!!

You will not be approved for credit cards until you start building up credit. We opened Bank of America checking/saving accounts with our passports (rather than social security number) and then you can apply for a secure credit card to get the credit building rolling - basically you deposit an amount into the account and that is your credit limit - you use it like a regular credit card and as long as you pay it off every month and dont spend huge ammounts, hey presto credit will start to build and all those real credit card offers will come rolling....

Depending on your visas you should be able to go apply for social security numbers about a week after you arrive. We rented an appartment no probs, we also bought a car but that may have been more luck...depends what you are looking for.
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 1:04 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Originally Posted by mellybrown View Post
What visa will you be on?? Once you are set up with your health insurance you will be able to look up drs who are working under your plan - you just call them up and off you go. You dont need to get your medical records transfered over - mine really wasnt interested at all!! As for dental or opticians I have no clue sorry!!

You will not be approved for credit cards until you start building up credit. We opened Bank of America checking/saving accounts with our passports (rather than social security number) and then you can apply for a secure credit card to get the credit building rolling - basically you deposit an amount into the account and that is your credit limit - you use it like a regular credit card and as long as you pay it off every month and dont spend huge ammounts, hey presto credit will start to build and all those real credit card offers will come rolling....

Depending on your visas you should be able to go apply for social security numbers about a week after you arrive. We rented an appartment no probs, we also bought a car but that may have been more luck...depends what you are looking for.
Sorry, should have said - OH is on O1, I'm on O3 (so can't work in US - and think I also won't get SS number either...?).

I see - so you find the doctor through the insurance that the company offers. We really do need our files transfered though as OH has an ongoing health issue (nothing serious! but requires check-ups).

Thanks for the Bank of America and social security advice too - so we just need our passports/visas to apply for checking account? Ok so far so good - we can do that.

Thank you for speedy response! It's amazing how quickly my mind can be put at ease on this forum
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 1:16 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Originally Posted by CherylH View Post
Sorry, should have said - OH is on O1, I'm on O3 (so can't work in US - and think I also won't get SS number either...?).

I see - so you find the doctor through the insurance that the company offers. We really do need our files transfered though as OH has an ongoing health issue (nothing serious! but requires check-ups).

Thanks for the Bank of America and social security advice too - so we just need our passports/visas to apply for checking account? Ok so far so good - we can do that.

Thank you for speedy response! It's amazing how quickly my mind can be put at ease on this forum
sorry dont know anything about those visas - Im on L2 so can work and got my SSN, somone else will be able to advise you tho im sure. HEalth insurance may take a couple weeks to get sorted but try and get it moving asap and you should be fine - its cheaper to use the drs that are under your insurance, and there will be a huge selection. Most insurance companies have websites that you go on, put in your zip code and it will give you a list of all the ones you can choose! Yea Bank of america was also easy - just go on in and have a talk with them.

You can PM me if you have any other questions and I will try and help, i have nothing else to do today!!!!!
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 1:20 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Hi, the same for dental and vision - your plan will give you designated opticians and dentists.

good luck and enjoy your new life.

julia
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Originally Posted by mellybrown View Post
You can PM me if you have any other questions and I will try and help, i have nothing else to do today!!!!!
Lovely! Me neither! I finished work a couple of weeks ago and am to all intents and purposes retired now... at 30! Am hoping those nice US immigration officials might relent at some point and deign to let me work... I think I can do voluntary work though and study in the meantime. More time to spend on the forum too!
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 1:26 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Originally Posted by CherylH View Post
Lovely! Me neither! I finished work a couple of weeks ago and am to all intents and purposes retired now... at 30! Am hoping those nice US immigration officials might relent at some point and deign to let me work... I think I can do voluntary work though and study in the meantime. More time to spend on the forum too!
I envy you - im already to retire...at 27

apparantly hubby does not agree...
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 1:33 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Originally Posted by mellybrown View Post
I envy you - im already to retire...at 27

apparantly hubby does not agree...
Haha I know what you mean - hubby didn't have much say in it, was the US officials' decision. Apparently I can't offer much to the workplace over there - well, nothing that millions of other Americans can't anyway. I am an alien of unextraordinary ability!

Did you find work easily over there on your L2?
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 1:36 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Originally Posted by mekadag View Post
Hi, the same for dental and vision - your plan will give you designated opticians and dentists.

good luck and enjoy your new life.

julia
Thank you - I guess I'll have plenty of time to figure everything out once we're there. It was just one of those sudden middle-of-the-night thoughts that made me sit up and think, crap, better find out how that works!
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 2:08 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

1- Depends on where you live and who you have medical insurance with. If you've got cover, you get a card and find who in your area they cover, contact and then get on book, make appointment.

You pay your co-pay, they bill your insurance and then bill you any out standing.

Other wise, no insurance, find doctor who takes patients and bring lots of vaseline.


Your current medical records, go to GP and ask, they'll give a copy free and you bring it with you, if you ask them to send you a copy it'll cost between £5-25...it'll be a fat brick of paper.

2- read the wiki on credit....bit late...but oh well.

Credit rates will be shi, but secured cards will be a start. Am Ex would be your best bet if you've got one.

You can get a car loan etc, shite rates for a while. Same for home mortgage.

Renting, depends if you go through a agent or not, if privately found through craigslist or whatever, they probably won't run a credit check, but might ask for a letter from employer. If you go through a agency, you can offer to put a larger deposit down. It's usually first/last month, plut 1-3 months down as a deposit anyway.

3- Depends on the terms of your cards....worth paying them off if you can as it's one less hassle though.

4- HSBC is good, but there aren't many branches in the US. Might want to look at hifx/forex/xe as places to transfer the money to your US account for a better rate.


Originally Posted by CherylH View Post
1. Can anyone tell me how you go about visiting a doctor/dentist/optician in US once you've moved? Is it a case of finding one (like you would here) who's taking on new patients, then forwarding all bills to the insurance company? How do you get your medical records sent to the US doctor? My husband's company is giving us extensive health coverage - including everything from dentistry to childbirth - but I'm not sure how you go about actually seeing a doctor etc.

2. Are we likely to be approved for credit cards immediately? Or for buying a car? Renting an apartment? Do you need to have your social security number first? We're being put up for a month initially by OH's company, but then we'll need to rent our own place/buy our own car/get a credit card.

3. Is it advisable to pay off all credit cards/overdrafts we have in the UK before we leave for States?

4. Does anyone use HSBC to do international banking? We'll be receiving a monthly income from the rent of our house in London - is it best to keep that in a UK account or have it transferred to US acccount?

Thanks so much for your time x
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

The Health care wiki has some advice

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Health_Insurance

Insurance - Using
GP, aka Family Doctor
When you get an insurance plan, you'll be issued a card with your number and the insurance company's phone number. It's probably a good idea to put this in your wallet or purse, and maybe even one in your car with your car insurance and registration. You'll often have to present this card when you go to the doctor, and it is helpful if they find you on the street knocked out.

If you want to go to a doctor, your choices are probably based on your insurance plan. First you should ask for a 'doctor's list' from the insurance company and they'll give you the names and details of the doctors in your area that accept your insurance plan. You don't have to go to the doctor's on the list (i.e. you can go 'out of network') but you can expect to pay more with a doctor who isn't part of your plan. In addition, you may have to pay first and then seek a reimbursement from the insurance company if you go out of network.

Once you have a few doctors in mind, you can Google them or look in the yellow pages phone book for a 'Doctor Locator' number. These services will tell you more about the doctor. Is he a 'sole practioner' or part of a group of doctors. Does he speak English / Spanish / Chinese? What is his bedside manner, gruff and assertive or calm and understanding. Etc.

When you have a doctor in mind, just call them up. Tell them you are a new patient and you would like to be seen for XYZ. They'll make an appointment (usually within a few days) and you head on over. In a "I'm sick now" situation most offices often have time for 'walk-ins' early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Your first visit will be quite a bit of paperwork. Have you had the measles, are you allergic to this, where can we contact you, etc. Budget about 15 minutes extra to fill in this stuff. You'll pay the copay required by your insurance (cash or credit card) and then go to the waiting room to read 6 month old magazines.

Anyway, then the doctor will see you, say you have this, need this medicine or treatment, etc.

Generally, that's it. The doctor's office will submit the bill directly to the insurance company (provided you are in-network). If the insurance company says 'we don't pay for that' then you'll get an explanation from the insurance company and a bill directly from the doctor. Call the insurance company and argue (it often works) and they might end up paying for it anyway. If not, pay the doctor the remainder (but keep the receipt for tax purposes).
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 2:13 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

As far as paying off your UK cards, you might want to look at the trends of US$ and UK£s. If you primary income (i.e the money you'll be using to pay off these cards) is coming in $ do you want the hassle, and the potential exchange rate risk, of seeing that money converted to £s (at a so-so rate) and then paying off the debt? Perhaps you can have your UK rental income (in £s I'm assuming) going into the account you'll use to pay off the UK credit cards.

Don't cancel the UK cards, and don't cancel the UK bank account. These are absolute impossibilities to restart once you are in the US (well, nearly impossible, but certainly a royal pain) so its best to keep them active if you can.
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 2:13 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Originally Posted by mellybrown View Post
... Yea Bank of america was also easy - just go on in and have a talk with them.
.
BoA are the devil though....but they are everywhere.
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
BoA are the devil though....but they are everywhere.
its true - i have paid them many a visit to get back fees after they set me up with the wrong accounts then charged me a ton on money for not depositing 5 million a day or some such crap!

But very handy...
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Old Jul 8th 2009, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: Moving in 3 weeks - some advice on random things

Wonderful! Thanks for all the advice - sorry for not reading the Wiki first: i did go there but for some reason only read the Lifestyle bit before being distracted by something...

Think HSBC has a branch in Seattle, where we'll be living, so might start with them if BOA are so devilish.

Thank you to all posters - we'll get there in the end!
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