Getting Peace Corps medical clearance is by far the longest and most frustrating step. It requires you to meet with your dentist and doctor on several occasions and the Peace Corps gives you very limited instruction on how to do it. Hopefully, I can help you out by sharing a few of my mistakes!
Before you Begin
Some things you MUST have before you start:
• INSURANCE (dental and health)
The Peace Corps will assistant with about 1% of your possible medical and dental cost.
• Previous Shot Records
Your previous or high school or university should have this on file.
There are a ton of forms, papers, and appointments that you’re going to have to keep track of. Get a planner and stay organized.
Not only are you going to have to deal with waiting rooms but you’re about to be touched, poked, and questioned about EVERYTHING. Keep your cool and be honest.
- Dental Exam
- Dental X-rays
- If any issues, they will need to be fixed.
Upfront, make sure you go to a trusted dentist. When I first started seeking a dentist for my examination, I had zero dental insurance. I stumbled upon Aspen Dental because they advertised that if you had no dental insurance your first appointment is free. I’m here to tell you, that nothing is free.
After the exam, the dentist claimed I had four spots that needed to be fixed, which would cost a whopping $1,300 to fix. With my jaw still on the floor, I told them I couldn’t afford that and walked out. I later drove to my old family dentist, over an hour away, to get a second opinion. After his examination, I was told nothing was wrong with my teeth and all I needed was a standard teeth cleaning. Costing me all in all about $300!
I’ll say it again, nothing is for free. The $300 I spent on a teeth cleaning and an office visit was well worth the money. The time I spent falling into some bologna sales funnel, ended up costing me more money. *On a side note, Aspen dental did provide me with free x-rays……. still wasn’t worth it.
- Make sure your wisdom teeth are out before leaving.
- Get Dental Insurance. The Peace Corps only pays up to $60 of your cost.
- Use a trusted and recommended professional.
- Physical exam
- Immunization records
- Current immunization shots
- HHF positive response form
- Blood testing
- Mental health questionnaire
Forewarning, don’t expect the Peace Corps to hold your hand through all of this. I feel like they make things vague and confusing for a reason, like it’s all part of a test to see if you have adequate problem-solving skills.
When you’re in the Peace Corps medical portal you will have a list of task that you’ll be expected to get completed. Make sure you print them all out and label them with your name and case number. Some documents actually require you to create a form for your physician to sign, so pay close attention to the instructions.
When you bring these documents to your physician make sure everything is together in one folder. This will keep your documents from getting mixed up or lost with your physician’s paperwork.
If you’re missing proof of certain immunizations than you have to get blood work showing the antibodies. Make sure you tell your doctor that this blood work is separate from the blood work listed in the physical exam form. You will also have a blood test (G6PD) that isn’t listed in the physical exam form. Make sure you point this out to your doctor.
Ultimately, I had several unnecessary visits and needle sticks due to my doctor and nurses being were confused on paperwork. If I had ordered the documents correctly and been clearer on instructions, two doctor visits would have been all that was needed.
- Health Insurance. The Peace Corps pays up to $160 of medical cost.
- Be prepared for your physical exam, you more than likely will have to get naked. On the day of my exam, I had forgotten I was wearing my Ironman undies that were two sizes too small for me. Let’s just say my doctor and nurses got a good laugh out of it!
- Make sure all blood test are taken on your first doctor visit!
Submit And Wait
Finally, once everything is done, you just need to submit the paperwork online with the appropriate cover letter. Eventually, you will hear from your Peace Corps nurse and she will tell you if something is missing with a deadline to complete it.
Best of luck! If you have any questions please let me know! Make sure to sign up to keep up my latest Peace Corps guides!