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What To Do If You Get Sick in Italy

What To Do If You Get Sick in Italy

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Old Jul 7, 19, 3:28 pm
  #106  
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Originally Posted by estnet View Post
I don't know the costs of meds in Italy obviously, but I was referring to the full cost (not based on insurance). The bp med you mentioned that would have cost 750 in the US would cost how much in Italy?

In the US without insurance costs vary wildly between different pharmacies and being smart is important. I notified an MD than the med he had rx'd cost $3000 (yes thousand) - which had been increased from $300 a few years ago for ONE PILL THAT COMBINED 2 OTC MEDS THAT WOULD COST ABOUT $30 for both. So taking 1 pill that required an rx rather than 2 pills cost you thousands of dollars BUT since most people have insurance they may not be aware of or care - of course with "managed care" (which I am usually not in favor of) the insurance may catch this.

There are lots of weird things - eg the cost of a Nonsteroidal cream that I used costs $80 in the US and requires a prescription, the SAME med in France does not require rx and costs about $8, (the generic version costs $3 in Thailand),
You are correct. I should have been more clear. My message should have been if you are insured, make sure you have enough of your medications with you so that you don't have to buy them over there because uninsured in Italy, they will cost much more.

Most drugs in the USA are inexpensive if you have insurance or medicare. However, medications in the USA cost twice as much as in any other country to insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid. It is a scandal, it is a scandal, because without insurance, you can't buy most medications. I've lost close friends to this because they couldn't afford Obamacare, couldn't afford their cancer meds, and died. I've personally stopped taking a blood pressure medication because it is too expensive even with insurance, but it is no available in Italy.

I believe a month's worth of insulin can cost about $250 in the USA until you reach your deductible, which can be $5,000. In Mexico you can buy a year's supply for $500. I know people here in Northern California who fly to Tijuana, Mexico, because they can't afford their insulin. And insulin has been around for about 100 years. Many people in Southern California drive to Mexico for their meds, and many people who live close to Canada drive up there to get them.

I do take one medication regularly, and sometimes need others, and with insurance the co-pay can be $10-20. Since I no longer have a permanent residence in Italy I'm not covered by Italian national insurance, so those meds can cost more there. I should have said, "bring enough medication with you, because they will be more expensive in Italy." On the other hand, if you go to a hospital for an emergency, medication is free. In the USA an ER in often charges $30 per aspirin, $18,000 for a headache, and up to $24,000 for a sprained ankle. And health care outcomes in Italy are far, far better in Italy.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/features...ges-what-to-do

People are saying that Big Pharm needs a, "Tobacco Moment," as when Congress brought the CEO's of the six main tobacco companies before them, and all denied a link between smoking and lung cancer, heart disease, and said they weren't addictive. That led to action that reduced smoking to its lowest rate in history in the USA.

Meds cost twice as much in the USA as in the UK. Their outcomes are not as good as in Italy, but are far superior to medical care in the USA. I know a doctor, one of the most pre-eminent in the USA. I believe former head of the American College of Cardiology. He just published an article, "Why it's Still 1989 for Primary Care," in the USA.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/revolutionandrevelation/80822?xid=nl_mpt_blog2019-07-03&eun=g1169526d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium= email&utm_campaign=Packer_070319&utm_term=NL_Gen_I nt_Milton_Packer

Last edited by Perche; Jul 7, 19 at 3:33 pm
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Old Jul 7, 19, 7:18 pm
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This thread is rapidly devolving into Omni/PR.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 11:00 pm
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
This thread is rapidly devolving into Omni/PR.
Perhaps, a bit, but the basic info - that emergency care is free in Italy is quite valuable. Years ago I was on the verge of heat stroke and would have asked for help if I had known this - but thinking in US terms I decided to "tough it out" and fortunately for me it turned out okay - but had I known then what I know now.........
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Old Jul 9, 19, 3:14 pm
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As a datapoint, my bp med is valsarten hctz (Diovan HCT) 325/25. In the US, with insurance it runs about $20 per month. In Italy, I just paid €9 for 28 day supply at the pharmacy - no script required.
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Old Jul 9, 19, 6:04 pm
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Originally Posted by JMN57 View Post
As a datapoint, my bp med is valsarten hctz (Diovan HCT) 325/25. In the US, with insurance it runs about $20 per month. In Italy, I just paid 9 for 28 day supply at the pharmacy - no script required.
This is much closer to my experience. I often buy medicated shampoo for mrs. iapetus when in Roma. In the US, it requires a prescription. There is no prescription required in Italy, and it's cheaper to boot.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
This thread is rapidly devolving into Omni/PR.
This thread is one of the most practically useful threads that I have ever encountered on FT. Having a perspective about differences in medical costs and care standards and access/affordability to such care during travel and becoming informed about how to use travel as a way to arbitrage necessary medical care costs is no less useful than anything else I have ever encountered on FT.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 6:25 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post


This thread is one of the most practically useful threads that I have ever encountered on FT. Having a perspective about differences in medical costs and care standards and access/affordability to such care during travel and becoming informed about how to use travel as a way to arbitrage necessary medical care costs is no less useful than anything else I have ever encountered on FT.
As I said in an earlier post, this is--or should I say--was, a great thread. However, rather than continue to provide useful information about how to navigate the Italian medical system, unfortunately the OP has drifted off into bashing of American healthcare. That is clearly OMNI/PR material and has no place in this useful thread.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 8:40 pm
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
As I said in an earlier post, this is--or should I say--was, a great thread. However, rather than continue to provide useful information about how to navigate the Italian medical system, unfortunately the OP has drifted off into bashing of American healthcare. That is clearly OMNI/PR material and has no place in this useful thread.
Not bashing, just ranking, which by independent standards puts us below Domenica, and just ahead of Cuba. It's great that politicians now agree across both parties that our medical system is broken, instead of with absence of data, just repeating the mantra, "We have the best health care system in the world." The data are out now (data is a plural word, so "are" is correct).

The purpose of this thread was not to bash the broken USA health care system, but to give people confidence that when they are in Italy if health care problems arise, they will be in good hands.

Upthread someone mentioned that when they got sick in Italy and were taken to a hospital, they were concerned about what type of health care they would get in, "a third world country." As someone with 40 years of experience working in health care and health care policy in both countries, the purpose of this thread is to inform travelers that is not the case at all, by objective standards.

You don't need to hire a jet to get back to the USA for health care if you are in Italy. That's not bashing, it is the message. I saw surgeons in Italy doing operations that are unimaginable today in the USA, and I am the former Chief at Harvard. So, the message is, don't worry if you get sick in Italy. In the USA 60% of bankruptcies are due to our extraordinary medical bills. In Italy it is free, and no one goes bankrupt because of medical bills, even non-citizens on vacation.

So just hang loose when you are there.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 6:00 pm
  #114  
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
As I said in an earlier post, this is--or should I say--was, a great thread. However, rather than continue to provide useful information about how to navigate the Italian medical system, unfortunately the OP has drifted off into bashing of American healthcare. That is clearly OMNI/PR material and has no place in this useful thread.
Putting into comparative perspective each country’s healthcare systems and the impact it has on a person as either an actual or potential visitor (or resident) has every place in this useful thread about what happens when sick in Italy. It helps someone decide what to do if sick in Italy or if facing decisions about whether or not to travel to Italy given the potential for medical issues during travel. I have medical evacuation insurance to get me back to the US, but whether I want to use it or not would depend upon having a good comparative perspective also about quality of care and cost of care differences in the medical care markets of relevance to me. You can call it “bashing”, but I call it getting a useful perspective as a traveler. Even if medical care is relatively lousy or more expensive in a market of relevance to me, there may be times where I would still want it in a “bashed” market for reasons other than quality of care and/or cost of care.
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