Question about blood pressure medication

Spring 2017 CSANews Issue 102  |   Posted date : Mar 16, 2017.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
In the fall 2016 issue, a writer asked if blood pressure medication containing both hydrochlorothiazide and another medication was considered as ONE medication.

Your reply was "it is only counted as one pill (medication)."

I, as an RN, was rather surprised at this…should this not be explained on the application form? Something to the effect of: a pill that contains hydrochlorothiazide COMBINED WITH a second blood pressure medication is considered to be ONE medication.

I have considered it as two medications when I have filled in the application in the past; now I know not to.

I have a question about medication: I take one (combination hydrochlorothiazide/irbesartan) medication for my blood pressure. After an episode of atrial fib this past January while I was in FL (and Medipac was great!), I was started on metoprolol to slow my pulse. HOWEVER, it can also be used to treat high blood pressure. So in Medipac’s eyes, am I now on two blood pressure medications?

And I have a question about coverage: We are thinking of taking a cruise in 2018 that goes through the Red Sea and Suez Canal. The Canadian government states there is a travel advisory against these areas…although many cruises a year sail there.

Medipac states there is no coverage if there is an advisory in place. Does this mean I am not covered for THAT part of the cruise, or for the whole cruise? If I am treated on board by the ship’s MD in that area, am I covered? Does it mean I am not covered for ANY medical emergency in that area (i.e. an MI), or only for any medical injury that arises due to war, terrorism, etc.

Thank you.

Marian Bowles
Newmarket, ON

Response :
Ed: Lots of great questions. Let's start with one pill containing two medications. I think that Medipac is unique in still considering this as one medication. We felt that many seniors were not totally aware of the content of their individual pills and it was unfair to expect them to be pharmacists. So, one pill counts as one medication even if there are two or more medications contained in that pill. This combining of medications is getting to be very common now.

The metoprolol, in your situation, is considered a heart medication as it is to protect your heart from beating too fast. You do not have to count it as a blood pressure medication, but the A-fib (if occurring in the past five years) does place you in the Standard rate class.

The cruise question is easy – again with Medipac, we consider this as a temporary stopover and you would be fully covered both on and off the boat, even if the destination was on the government’s travel advisory.

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