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I will shortly be entering the United States on a K-1 visa. I understand that my travel insurance will cover me for health until my adjustment of status at which time I will need to apply for healthcare on an exchange.

I have a preexisting condition (migraine) for which I take prescription medication. My understanding is that I simply locate a specialist whom I can visit to discuss continued treatment. Is there a process I go through (in AU we require a referral from a general practitioner), or do I simply find a neurologist and make an appointment?

I will be bringing as much medication as relations allow into the country with me.

  • When medical practitioners are self-employed, requirements like are typically set by insurers. In most countries, you can always contact a specialist if you want to but won't be covered by mandatory/statutory insurance if you don't go through a GP first. So the usual practice in the US, whatever that might be, need not necessarily apply to your situation, depending on your travel insurance and your willingness to cover the costs yourself. – Gala May 9 '14 at 10:01
  • Requirements for payment through insurance is always set by the insurance carrier irrespective of whether the doctor is self or not self employed. You can always go as "self-insured" and not care what the provider might say... – Karlson May 9 '14 at 12:46
  • @Karlson What I meant, perhaps somewhat unclearly, is that some health systems or some healthcare providers do not rely mainly on a separate insurance system. If people don't pay at the point of delivery and there is no price per service, access might not be possible at all if you don't follow the rules even if you were willing to pay. – Gala May 9 '14 at 14:17
  • @GaëlLaurans This doesn't apply in the US. You can visit any doctor you want if you're paying out of pocket. – Karlson May 9 '14 at 14:27
  • @Karlson Yes, I thought so (and certainly didn't mean to suggest otherwise), but I don't know the system well enough to offer an answer. My point was merely that in many cases, such requirements are set by insurers. The qualification was just a way to avoid generalizing to countries where that might not be true. – Gala May 9 '14 at 14:31
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If you are on a K visa your intent is to get married within 90 days of your arrival. That situation aside a lot(if not all) of insurance plans provided in most states(if not all) the US for the employees or even those purchased individually provide coverage for the domestic partner and definitely for the spouse, so your fiancee if he/she already has coverage can add you onto that plan.

Once that happens the rules and procedures for that plan kick in for your visit to the specialist. As @GaelLaurans pointed out there are plans that require you to obtain GP(Family Doctor) authorization to visit a specialist. And there are plans for which you don't have to do this.

One thing I would suggest is to bring a copy of you medical records for the visit. While things may not match exactly a lot of them are common.

  • We're same-sex and will be living for the first six months in a state that doesn't recognise same-sex relationships, so I won't be on his policy. That asside, am I to understand that the procedure for visiting a specialist doctor is dependant on the policy I choose? – Gary May 14 '14 at 0:40
  • @Gary That's correct. And even if same sex marriage may not be recognized by the state you may still be able to get on the policy as a domestic partner. – Karlson May 14 '14 at 2:06

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