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Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Old Jan 8th 2014, 9:31 pm
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Default Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Hello, please excuse me if a similar thread has previously been started, but I have not found anything.

A couple questions if I may;

A relative is likely to apply/possibly get a green card through sponsorship for a US company. This relative is generally healthy, but has some medical history and requires some prescription drugs to maintain their health. The cost estimate for the prescriptions is about £700-1000 a year (this is estimate from googling cost for private purchase, and am unsure whether price would be cheaper for large organisation purchasing)

Would they have to pass a medical to be allowed access/approval for green card if their partner is given one? (Through marriage) and would mild chronic conditions be accepted providing they are fit to work?
This estimate figure of £700-1000 - how would it be paid? Through insurance, private funds, or a mixture?
Finally, how much would insurance roughly cost to cover somebody who needs one hospital check up a year, along with the cost of the prescriptions, and is it common for companies to take on the burden of paying for their employees health care, providing the company is a good one?

Any help on the matters or knowledge of the US health insurance and medical system for those on prescription drugs is much appreciated. Thanks

Last edited by Pete1988; Jan 8th 2014 at 9:35 pm.
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Old Jan 8th 2014, 9:35 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

If they are employed by a company with more than 50 employees it is almost certain that they will be eligible for coverage on the company's group policy, on the same terms as any other employee. That is per the laws governing group medical insurance.

I don't recall hearing of someone being turned down for a visa because of medical issues. The focus of the medical is primarily concerned with communicable diseases, potentially dangerous mental instability, and "degenerate" behaviour.

The out of pocket cost of their medications is notoriously hard to predict, as it depends on the "drug plan" their employer uses, any discounts and rebates, copays and deductibles. Any/all of these may apply, and shopping around and talking with the pharmacies can identify huge differences between the same or equivalent prescription medications dependent on which prescription and discount cards you flash!

On top of that they may have two different options for buying their prescriptions with pre-tax funds, either "guessing" ahead what their cost may be and setting aside those funds in "Healthcare Spending Account" at sign-up/ before the year starts, but risk losing any unspent funds at the year end, OR signing up for a "Heathcare Savings Account" which allows you to pay in a certain amount and hold it in the account until it is spent (this works similarly to a British private pension).

In short, two people with identical medical needs but different employers and insurers are unlikely to pay anywhere near the same out of pocket expense for their treatment. Some of this difference will be the result of their choices when they sign up for coverage, some will be the result of their success in finding discounts and rebates, and some will be the result of their employer, which insurer the employer chooses, and how much the employer subsidizes coverage.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jan 8th 2014 at 9:56 pm.
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Old Jan 8th 2014, 9:43 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Thank you.

Ok, so healthcare in terms of appointments, possible scans here and there if required would be covered.

What about the cost of the prescriptions, costing roughly 700-1000 British pounds (but - this may be lower as I simply googled the drugs as a private purchase - big health organisations may get a much better deal) are they subsidised by the health care insurance or does the individual pay for them ?
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Old Jan 8th 2014, 9:50 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

It's a 'piece of string' question, depending on the actual health insurance policy. We have health insurance through hubby's work with a deductible of... um, from memory (we never hit it) of $3k for an individual/ $5k as a family. This means that we pay ALL costs for medical stuff in each calendar year until we hit that limit. After that, we pay a small percentage of the costs up to - again, guesstimating - $8k out-of-pocket a year (including the initial deductible).

Other insurances work differently, with different deductibles and things called co-pays, where you pay a fixed sum each time you visit the doc/ have a test/ possibly get a prescription. I don't have this kind, so don't really know how it works.

Oh, and if it's insurance through an employer, there'll be no health questionnaires or medicals - everyone's covered, no-one's refused. The premium you pay isn't dependent on your health, it's dependent on how much your company is prepared to chip in towards it, and (in hubby's company) based on how much you earn.
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Old Jan 8th 2014, 9:53 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Originally Posted by Pete1988 View Post
Ok, so healthcare in terms of appointments, possible scans here and there if required would be covered.
Covered to some extent, depending on the type of insurance they get. They might get the kind where they have a co-pay on each doctor visit (around $25 or so). Or they might get the kind where they pay out of pocket and then insurance reimburses them. They might get the kind where insurance pays 80% of the bill, they pay 20%. They might get the kind where those specific scans aren't covered. They might get a plan where there's a deductable they have to meet before insurance starts covering a portion. There's just no way to predict...there are too many options out there to say "this" is how it will work.

What about the cost of the prescriptions, costing roughly 700-1000 British pounds (but - this may be lower as I simply googled the drugs as a private purchase - big health organisations may get a much better deal) are they subsidised by the health care insurance or does the individual pay for them ?
Depends on the type of insurance he gets. Some have a prescription plan which covers certain drugs for a co-pay (maybe $10 - $20 per prescription). Or not. Some drugs are covered, some aren't. Some generic drugs are covered, some aren't. There's just no way to predict until he knows exactly what his insurance plan will cover.

He needs to get all this information from his employer's HR or Benefits Department.

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Old Jan 8th 2014, 9:56 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Originally Posted by Pete1988 View Post
Hello, please excuse me if a similar thread has previously been started, but I have not found anything.

A couple questions if I may;

A relative is likely to apply/possibly get a green card through sponsorship for a US company. This relative is generally healthy, but has some medical history and requires some prescription drugs to maintain their health. The cost estimate for the prescriptions is about £700-1000 a year (this is estimate from googling cost for private purchase, and am unsure whether price would be cheaper for large organisation purchasing)

Would they have to pass a medical to be allowed access/approval for green card if their partner is given one? (Through marriage) and would mild chronic conditions be accepted providing they are fit to work?
This estimate figure of £700-1000 - how would it be paid? Through insurance, private funds, or a mixture?
Finally, how much would insurance roughly cost to cover somebody who needs one hospital check up a year, along with the cost of the prescriptions, and is it common for companies to take on the burden of paying for their employees health care, providing the company is a good one?

Any help on the matters or knowledge of the US health insurance and medical system for those on prescription drugs is much appreciated. Thanks
If he is hoping to apply for a GC through his company...then he must already have a US visa and already be living and working here. If so he should probably already have healthcare insurance and already have the answers to most of the above questions.
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Old Jan 8th 2014, 9:58 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Originally Posted by Pete1988 View Post
A relative is likely to apply/possibly get a green card through sponsorship for a US company.

Would they have to pass a medical to be allowed access/approval for green card if their partner is given one? (Through marriage)
I'm not really clear on the visa / green card scenario. Is the US employer sponsoring the relative for an employment-based immigrant visa? Or some other kind of work visa? Is the relative currently inside the USA working for the company already and is now looking at becoming a US PR (i.e. get a green card)?

And what is the "approval for green card if their partner is giving one through marriage"? Is one of them a USC? Is one of them getting a green card through an existing company in the USA and the spouse is also on the application? Are they both outside the USA and both getting immigrant visas based on the relative's employment?

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Old Jan 8th 2014, 10:06 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Just trying to work out cost of living, and the difference in paying/contributing to healthcare + prescriptions and living in the UK with universal care.

From what you've told me so far, the cost/likely contribution doesn't sound too bad, but would definitely need to make allowances to cover it.

If your partner receives a green card through sponsorship, and you are not married, how would you go about joining them. Obviously trough marriage, but is it relatively easy for a married partner to join their spouse?
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Old Jan 8th 2014, 10:07 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

I'd suggest that you use this site to get a more accurate cost estimate for drugs since there can be wide variations in prices.

Good RX Drug Prices
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Old Jan 8th 2014, 10:10 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Originally Posted by Pete1988 View Post
Just trying to work out cost of living, and the difference in paying/contributing to healthcare + prescriptions and living in the UK with universal care.

From what you've told me so far, the cost/likely contribution doesn't sound too bad, but would definitely need to make allowances to cover it.
Yep. The employer's benefits department can give you the exact figures for premiums and what kind of coverage you get, how much the deductable would be, what the co-pays would be, etc.

If your partner receives a green card through sponsorship, and you are not married, how would you go about joining them. Obviously trough marriage, but is it relatively easy for a married partner to join their spouse?
I still don't understand this question, I'm sorry. What is "a green card through sponsorship"? Are you talking about a US employer petitioning for an employment-based immigrant visa? The use of the term "green card" can be misleading, as many people interchange "immigrant visa" and "green card" when they are not the same thing.

Can you be more clear on what visa the relative is planning to get (if they are outside the USA), or what their status is if they are currently in the USA working for this company already?

It's hard to answer your question without knowing these details.

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Old Jan 8th 2014, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Yes sorry, an employer petitioning for an immigrant visa.

If this worker is accepted, through marriage would their partner be able to join them?

Currently Living and working in the UK
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Old Jan 8th 2014, 10:26 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

You asked a very similar question a week ago: http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=819895

In that thread, you are the person wanting to get a visa to work in the USA.

In this current thread, it's a relative. But is it really you?

Your prescription dollar amounts are the same in both threads, that's why I'm asking. Would be kind of weird for you to have a relative with such similar medical needs to yours, who also is going to work in the USA.

In your other thread, you also mention having a partner going to the USA with you...and so does your relative.

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Old Jan 8th 2014, 10:29 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Originally Posted by Pete1988 View Post
Yes sorry, an employer petitioning for an immigrant visa.

If this worker is accepted, through marriage would their partner be able to join them?
Thanks for clarifying.

If the marriage takes place BEFORE the immigrant visa is issued, then I believe you can both get immigrant visas at the same time and come to the USA together.

If the relative (or you, if I assume correctly) get your immigrant visa before you're married and come to the USA first, then you become a US PR, and would have to then petition for your spouse by filing an I-130 for her immigrant visa...she can't get an immigrant visa based on yours anymore, if you arrive in the USA first and THEN get married.

The best thing to do would be to get married first, and then let the employer submit the paperwork for your immigrant visa, to include your spouse as well.

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Old Jan 8th 2014, 11:20 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Pete seems to be trying to decide between moving to Australia or the US.

However, his understanding of the US healthcare system is lacking.
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Old Jan 8th 2014, 11:23 pm
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Default Re: Prescriptions and Insurance for Green Card holders

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
his understanding of the US healthcare system is lacking.
A bit like the system itself.
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