Why Continuous Coverage is Important
Jonathan Perez | Feb 01, 2023 Insurance
Healthcare is generally never a seasonal topic. People are asked to maintain their bodies especially with the help of doctors visits throughout the year – a financial burden that is generally offset by having insurance.
In order to ensure that your plan provides the benefits you need in occasions of injuries or sicknesses, timing plays a major factor. This article will guide you through the importance of being prepared for unplanned events through continuous insurance coverage.
What is Continuous Coverage?
Continuous coverage means to have insurance over a period without any lapses or gaps. Many individuals think that the difference a day without insurance can make is dismissible, but you should consider what having continuous coverage really means. Not having coverage during specific periods of time can lead to a domino effect of consequences that you can easily avoid.
Why is Continuous Coverage Important?
Insurance companies are very date-sensitive with their coverage. Many benefits fall under the duration of your “coverage period” – rather than defining specific times where benefits can be utilized, insurances will only allow usage of your coverage when your plan is active.
Cost-spending limits are a big reason why continuous coverage is so valuable. Some costs, like out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles are favorable to a user once it is met, as it ensures that covered health costs can be taken care of by the insurance after that limit is reached. You will significantly reduce your medical spending in the long run, especially if you find yourself as someone who visits the doctor often and accumulates these bills.
On the other side, having a gap in your coverage, no matter how small, will only work to your disadvantage, as these amounts can reset, leaving you with an extra amount of expenses that could have easily been avoided by adding an extra day to your plan.
Other Reasons To Have Continuous Coverage
The US healthcare system, as well as your own insurance company, will set limitations on medical services that are time-sensitive. Services usually related to this nature are known as pre-existing conditions, which are defined as a “physical or mental condition caused by a medical illness or injury that existed before a person signed up with a health insurance provider”
If you have a pre-existing condition and you plan on staying in the United States for a longer time, you will need to pay close attention to any policies regarding these types of visits in a health insurance plan before buying, to avoid losing your coverage for them. You should particularly pay attention to any clauses that place a waiting period before pre-existing condition services can be covered.
On the flip side, by not having continuous coverage, you run the risk of amassing high medical bills during the time you are uninsured. As sicknesses and injuries can happen without warning, unexpected and unpaid medical bills can lead to serious consequences, from financial penalties to the termination of your program or school admission.
Legally Bound Continuous Coverage
If you are attending a school where you are required to submit a waiver for an international health insurance plan, you may be asked to have health coverage for an extended period.
In cases where you are beginning your academic journey in the Fall, you’ll be required to have insurance throughout the school year rather than on a per-semester basis. Having insurance will also allow you to remove any holds on your student account that may prevent you from performing critical tasks, like:
- Enrolling for classes
- Attending school events
- Applying for graduation
- Seeing final grades
- Requesting transcripts
- Financial aid assistance
- Beginning/completing the program you signed up for
As schools are liable for all students and cannot predict what their schedules may contain through the year, coverage is required even during dates when students will not be in the United States, like holidays or breaks. Even if you do intend to leave the country during those times, a situation may arise where you are forced to stay on campus, thus still making the school responsible for your well-being.
Other individuals, specifically those under J1 visas, must have continuous health insurance that meets the conditions of the US Department of State for the period that they are within the United States. Not having insurance – which can also be applied to your J2 dependents – during this time is a violation of your legal status in the United States and can result in the early termination of your program.
For students entering a college for the first time, please make sure that you can confirm the school’s insurance policy with an international student advisor, as to know when you’re required to be insured, and ensure that you try to finalize your insurance enrollments before your semester starts! Waiting until the end of a semester to get insurance is a surefire way to introduce extra panic when your studies are meant to be winding down.
Lastly, notice how there is a lack of a section recommending who should have continuous coverage, and that is because everyone should.
Unless you can magically see into the future, it is hard to predict a potential sickness or injury. Since illnesses and incidents can occur anytime, looking into a plan like ISO’s can better prepare you for your healthcare coverage needs – regardless when they occur.
About ISO Student Health Insurance
Founded in 1958, ISO prides itself on being the leader in providing international students with affordable insurance plans. Administered by former and current international students, we are able to assist our member with multilingual customer service in Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, and more. ISO serves over 3,200 schools/colleges and more than 150,000 insured students every year.
For more information, please visit www.isoa.org and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn.