Will taking statins hike expat international medical insurance rates

Published:  14 Aug at 6 PM
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The latest fad for health in retirement is statins as a regular preventative prescription, but is taking them likely to result in increased international health insurance rates?

Figures show that at least 13 million UK residents are taking the drug, with the National Health Service recommending that another five million should take them in the future. A majority of people over the age of 60 are to be offered the cholesterol-busting pills as a preventative in the hope of lowering the risk of strokes and heart attacks and their cost to the NHS.

However, taking a preventative dose on medical advice doesn’t mean that a stroke or heart attack is looming or inevitable, with opinions varying across the medical professiono as to the wisdom of take statins ‘just in case’. In addition, disturbing reports are now coming in that health insurers are upping their premiums for those admitting to taking the popular drug, whether or not they are showing symptoms of cholesterol-related illness.

According to Debbie Kleiner-Gaines, spokeswoman for the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries, long-term medical insurance isn’t loaded to cover for medical problems. Travel insurance, however, is likely to rise as it has to cover those in less than perfect health.

Expats living overseas as well as those regularly travelling, she said, will need to answer questions about their medications as well as their long term health and will need to give permission for their GP to be contacted for confirmation. It’s therefore possible, she added that premiums might be increased if preventative statins are being prescribed.

However, she said, premium increases would only be likely if a pre-existing medical condition such as heart disease was the reason for taking the drug, adding that cover for the condition might be refused. In spite of her reassurance, examples are surfacing of older men with very slightly increased cholesterol levels being charged more if statins had been prescribed as a preventative.
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