Monday, October 29, 2012

Worldwide Medical Clearance: the costs and your insurance

The Pickering Fellowship, as does the Foreign Service Officer career, requires that you pass the Worldwide Medical Clearance. This confirms that you are healthy enough to travel and work extensively in remote regions where you may not have easy access to medical care. You will receive information about how to complete the clearance.

There are many, many tests involved. Some are obscure, like the one testing to see how you react to a certain anti-malarial medicine. This can be VERY expensive.

It may be completed outside of DC, but if possible, wait until you're in DC to do this test. They have all the resources to do it in two visits. Otherwise, you'll have to schedule multiple visits where you can meet with the facilitates who do only certain aspects of the test. Insurance may or may not cover this. Luckily, I got my test for free.

Insured (costs depend), the Underinsured (costs high), and the Uninsured (free in DC)
I do not know the process of how to get this covered by insurance because I did not have insurance. My method of getting it for free only applies to the uninsured. Those that are underinsured are hurt the most, because you will likely have to pay the entire thing out of pocket. The minimal insurance plans will not cover these costs but having insurance at all will disqualify you for the waiver.

If you are not insured, like I was, then doing it in your hometown in NOT an option. You will have to pay separate doctors to do separate testing and it will cost you probably over $800. If you are uninsured, the State Department will not charge you, at all (at least at the time I did this, 2011). It might cheaper to fly to DC and get it done there. It is as easy as signing up for an appointment and walking in. No dealing with bills, claims, anything.

In DC, the test examination is divided into just two sessions: lab work and the physical. This is one of the most thorough health examinations on the planet, imo. There have been instances where people find out they have early cancer or something serious, so I was thankful to get something like this, especially being uninsured.

Read more about the day of the exam here.


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