Are Malaria Tablets Covered by Insurance? (Malarone, Doxycycline, Mefloquine)


6 Dec 2023

Understanding insurance & malaria prescriptions is crucial for anyone planning travel to malaria-endemic regions. 

Let’s dive in & provide a comprehensive answer to this question:

Can Insurance Be Used for Malaria Prescriptions?

Answer: It’s highly variable, and depends on the nuances of your insurance plan. Some travelers do & don’t have coverage. For those that may be covered, pre-certification or a prior authorization may be required.

The good news is: if you don’t have coverage, there are ways to find affordable options for high-quality antimalarials – as we’ll discuss below.

Navigating insurance coverage for malaria prescriptions requires consideration of various factors:

For Malaria Meds, Every Insurance Plan Is Different

The coverage for malaria prescriptions can widely vary based on your insurance plan. It’s essential to review your policy details or directly contact your insurance provider to understand the extent of coverage.

Prescription Drug Coverage

Many insurance plans include prescription drug coverage, but the specific antimalarial medications covered may vary (or require a time consuming prior authorization process). Check your plan’s formulary, a list of covered medications, to see if the prescribed malaria tablets are included.

Out-of-Pocket Costs

Even with coverage, there might be out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments or deductibles. Understanding these expenses beforehand helps in budgeting for your travel health needs.

What Are the Best Malaria Tablets for Travel?

Obtaining the right malaria prescription is vital for effective prevention & enjoying your trip (especially with potential side effects). Here’s a closer look at some popular options:

  • Malarone: Known for its effectiveness and relatively low side effects, Malarone is arguably the #1 choice. However, the costs can get high with travel clinics and primary care (but thankfully, there are cheaper telehealth options for Malarone, as we’ll discuss below).
  • Doxycycline: An effective option, but may have more uncomfortable side effects, including sun sensitivity, disorientation and nausea. Many doctors shy away from Doxycycline for this reason, especially for travelers.
  • Lariam (Mefloquine): While a less frequent dosing option, Lariam also has potential side effects and is generally considered when other options are not suitable.

When determining the best malaria tablets for your travel needs, you’ll need to consult with a licensed physician

Your doctor will consider factors such as your destination, travel plans, and health history to prescribe the most suitable and safe option. 

While Malarone is often favored for its efficacy and lower side effect profile, your healthcare provider will factor-in your individual situation. Remember, the choice of malaria tablets is a personalized decision made with your well-being in mind, ensuring a healthy and protected journey.

Start Consultation for Malarone

How Much Does Malarone Cost?

Understanding the cost of malaria medications is essential for budgeting. Let’s break down the pricing considerations:

Through Primary Care Physician

The traditional route may involve higher costs, potentially exceeding $200.

Doctor’s appointments often have a 24-day wait time on average, impacting the immediacy of obtaining medication.

Standard Travel Clinics & Pharmacies

Prices at travel clinics or pharmacies can also exceed $200, excluding consultation costs.

Availability may not be guaranteed, leading to potential last-minute scrambling for alternatives.

However, there are now cheaper & easier options for obtaining a prescription:

What’s the Cheapest Way to Get Antimalarials, Without Insurance?

Many travelers are passing on standard clinics & primary care – opting for new telehealth options:

Online Travel Clinics

Runway Health offers a budget-friendly option with a $30 online consultation fee.

On top of that, prescription costs are typically far below the $200+ fees for ordinary travel clinics and primary care. 

  • This kind of price transparency ensures you know the cost upfront, helping you avoid surprise increases.
  • The convenience of online consultations and direct-to-door delivery makes it an efficient and affordable choice.
  • It also helps you avoid potential last-minute stockouts, right before you depart.

Malaria Prescription Cost

Caution on Traditional Routes

Again, standard primary care and travel clinics are the “normal” option, but they may involve higher costs and potential delays.

Unexpected price increases can occur, emphasizing the importance of clear pricing upfront.

Last Considerations on Insurance for Malaria Pills

Navigating insurance coverage for malaria prescriptions involves understanding your plan’s nuances. 

If your insurance doesn’t cover antimalarial meds, then cost-effective alternatives (such as online travel clinics) can provide budget-friendly options with convenience and transparency. 

Make informed decisions based on your travel health needs, ensuring a safe and well-prepared journey.


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