When international students get accepted to U.S. schools, whether for a semester, a year or a full degree, you will have the exciting opportunity to experience a different environment, a different culture, new people and perhaps a new language. While you can take time learning the pop-culture and the slang, health insurance is one area where you can’t afford to let culture-shock confuse you.
U.S. healthcare system is very different from any other countries in the world. The cost of health insurance is prohibitively high, meaning a small accident may lead to financial disaster. That’s why it’s crucial to get the right health insurance for international students.
There are many options. In some cases, you must sign up for the policy offered by your school, but in others, you can opt for your own policy.
So, what coverage are you getting?
Typically, an insurance policy will charge a premium in exchange for helping to cover your medical costs under a variety of circumstances. You will still need to pay a portion of each bill, depending on your co-insurance percentage since the policy will not cover 100% of all your medical expenses. Ouch!
On the positive side, insurance companies negotiate discounted rates from in-network providers (doctors or hospitals), so you are paying a portion of that reduced rate. This may limit your options so when choosing the right insurance company, be careful with the network they are using, and how many networks they are using.
Despite the complexity and high cost of U.S. healthcare, there are advantages of knowing that you are being treated by qualified and certified professionals, with state-of-the-art facilities and predetermined rates.
As you begin preparing for your study abroad journey, don’t forget to pack some international student health insurance. Once you spend some time in the U.S., you may hope to get a better understanding of the wonderful mess that is U.S. healthcare. Enjoy!