The joy and excitement that comes from knowing that we are about to expand our academic horizon is enormous especially as international students, but for a certainty, one thing that gets missing on such an excited mind is the issue of health insurance.
As an international student(s) or a visitor in a foreign land, one of the vital things you would need is a quality health insurance plan that gives you the best guarantee.
To rid your mind of the stress of this entire phenomenon, it is quite expedient that you must know these few basic things about health insurance as a student.
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1. Importance of international students health insurance.
Studying outside your native country comes with its own unique challenge, hence there are things that one ought to prepare for especially when it comes to health.
You will be treated in an emergency situation regardless of your health insurance coverage in the United States and some other countries however, in the instance where you are uninsured, you will have to pay out of pocket for all medical costs incurred.
Your health insurance gives you a high level of protection especially in the case where you fall ill and would need critical health services. WIthout the International health insurance at your quick disposal, life as a foreign student abroad would be a living hell when you have any medical complication.
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2. Memorize the terminology.
To fully comprehend the entire insurance industry and some ot the things you are likely to face, you would need to have an understanding some of the basic terminologies so that in case there is an issue, you would easily understand what is being discussed.
Claim: A claim is sent if an accident occurs. You can do this by hand or online. You usually need to submit receipts, reports, and photos with this.
Premium: This is what you pay every month—or every six months—to have insurance. It’s like a Netflix subscription. But WAY less fun.
Deductible: This is a predetermined amount that YOU must pay BEFORE insurance begins paying IF you have a problem. This can range significantly and will impact your premiums; the higher your deductible, the lower your monthly costs generally are. The deductible is the maximum amount you will have to pay in a year before insurance kicks in.
Co-Insurance: Beyond your deductible, your plan might include co-insurance payments, which is a percentage of what you’ll be charged after your deductible is reached/exceeded. This is typically a percentage, like 10%.
Co-payment or co-pay: This is a fixed amount that you’ll have to pay the doctor when services are rendered.
In and out of network: When you have health insurance in the United States, it will likely fall in one of two categories—HMO (Health Maintenance Organizations) or PPO (Preferred Provider Organization). This means different rates for services depending on if procedures are performed by certain individuals who are in or out of network.
3. Understand what health insurance for an international student typically covers.
There are many different organizations out there keen to provide you the type of coverage that you are looking for. Typically speaking, medical insurance for international students in some countries like the USA covers new illness or injuries, so wellness or preventative care is usually not covered. Emergency doctor visits and lab orders, emergency surgeries? Yes. Routine check-ups? No.
However, sometimes, you might also have to pay a little extra if you would like protection for an emergency evacuation (i.e. natural disasters, political upheavals, etc.) or the repatriation of your remains if you happen to pass away while studying in your desired country.
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In fact, sometimes the insurance you subscribe to depends on the type of visa you take depending on your desired country you are going to study at.
On the other hand, you can also find policies that cover “Trip Interruptions,” such as a need to return to your home country due to an emergency.
If you are coming to study in the United States with a pre-existing condition or chronic illness, be cognizant of purchasing an insurance plan that covers your potential medical needs, like prescription drugs. No one wants a stack of receipts from out-of-pocket expenses as a souvenir from their adventures in America!
Note: Travel insurance is NOT health insurance—But you can find policies for both
All in all, even though these few tips are helpful, one key thing you would need to consider as well is to make a proper budget to cater for all these necessities. Of course, in many countries, health insurance policies are not that exorbitant, but also you must budget for additional savings to cover any unexpected out of pocket expenses, such as deductibles, co-insurance, or co-pays.
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