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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all

Lots of good information here for a potential ex-pat, glad i found it!

I did some searching, but couldn't quite find the answer I needed.

I'm applying for 457 visa, which should be approved / denied soon.

My question is regarding prescription medicine...

I am on a maintenance drug for a chronic condition. Problem is that the drug isnt available in Australia...though a very similar generic / local version is.

So my question is can my prescription be sent from the US? I've been searching around the immigration website that doesnt specifically say no, though my previous trips there make the back of my mind think there could be.

Assuming not, and I need to switch to the local version...I'm worried my 457 insurance policy (Bupa) won't cover it as a pre-existing condition for a year. If not then i'd be stuck with the cost of potentially expensive medicine?

The bupa policy states (after a waiting period of 2 months):

Your extras pharmacy entitlement covers you for prescription only items that are not supplied under the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme); are TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) approved; are prescribed by a registered medical practitioner; supplied by a Bupa recognised, registered pharmacist; and not otherwise excluded by Bupa.

I've found the similar drug on the PBS schedule and it lists the 1) Dispensed Price and the 2) Price to Consumer . I take it this means that these are the prices of the drug with and without insurance ie if bupa doesn't cover it due to pre-existing condition then it would cost 1) and if it does 2)?

Sorry for the ramble, any help explaining exactly how this would work would really help. Thanks!
 
G

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You'll get in to a huge amount of bother shipping drugs into the country. You need a licence and or prescription to import controlled drugs!

You wont find it on the DIAC site you might find it on here Frequently asked questions - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

You wont be covered initially by an Australian insurer but after the waiting period you will be. You'll pay the second price, you would not be entitled to the PBS list price even then as you are from the USA. But the insurance should cover it then. Your insurance wouldnt cover you buying it from the USA as they are not Australian Government approved.

You need better insurance if they wont cover it! Is the bane of having a medical condition when migrating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks shel,

Obviously I have a prescription. though its from my US doctor.

I guess I need to find out from Bupa whether it'd be covered or not. I called them over the phone and after a discussion of what plan would be best for us signed up for a policy, and paid 1st month premium. However there wasn't really an application process detailing medical history or anything. It was pretty much name and DOB for my wife and I.

So assuming it is covered I'd pay the second price, and if not then the first price for a year until its covered?

I also assume that because my US prescribed medicine isn't available in Australia, I'd have to get the Australian version. I take it i'd need an Australian doctor's prescription for this? Or should I ask my US doc to make out a prescription for the Australian version (that is available here).

Thanks again, as this is truly frustrating trying to sort it all out...the last thing i need is to get there and realize I cant get what i need in a practical matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Shel,

I found a link on the forestry site that seemed to indicate that its ok, provided all the boxes are checked...

Of course i cant post links yet
 
G

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Aye initially bringing in drugs is ok, if the box is written in english and you have a precription but how do you propose do get ongoing prescriptions whilst living in Australia from an American doctor? And a prescription by an american doctor for a drug which is not available in Australia would not be seen as valid!

Australian do not and are not allowed to ask your medical history because they are not allowed by law to either charge you more or refuse to cover you if you have a medical condition. Most unlike the rest of the world especially the USA. All they can do is enforce a waiting period until you are covered, between 2 & 12 months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks again Shel

Though now i'm a little confused...

You say Australian do not and are not allowed to ask your medical history because they are not allowed by law to either charge you more or refuse to cover you if you have a medical condition. Most unlike the rest of the world especially the USA. All they can do is enforce a waiting period until you are covered, between 2 & 12 months.

Yet my policy states:

Waiting periods - Hospital

Pregnancy related services (including childbirth) 1 year
Pre-existing conditions, ailments or illnesses for hospital and out-patient medical services 1 year


If they aren't allowed to ask about medical history how do they determine pre-existing condition?
 
G

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Your medical history! You don't randomly turn up at a GP asking for a prescription for some chronic illness unless you were already diagnosed with it! They will check with the hospital, GP etc when you claim and will pay out for new but not for old unless waiting periods are up. But they can not hike your premium or refuse to cover you because of it regardless of how much you claim.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok I think I get it now...

Basically rather than going through a long application process with medical history like I have on other (usa) plans, any pre-existing condition is determined at the time of treatment rather than at time of plan application/purchase. And the waiting period would start at the time of purchase rather and not the time of treatment. So if the plan starts at June 1, the waiting period would terminate at June 1 +12 mo, even if i visit a doctor at say July 1 and the pre-existing condition is determined.

Wonder if it'd be worth calling Bupa and talking with them? I would hate to get there and be stuck without meds or coverage for a while.
 
G

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Yes your waiting period is from when you take the application out, so the earlier you get it the better. If you have already purchased it the clock is already ticking even though you are not in Australia.
 
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