Student health insurance is a must for students pursuing higher education in the US, because of the exorbitant cost of health care. Since health care in the US is privatized, the absence of an adequate coverage will make it exceedingly difficult for students to seek affordable health care in times of need. Thankfully, health insurance is available for international students studying in the US. For US students studying abroad, the need for health care will depend entirely on the country where they intend to pursue higher education. Medical facilities are subsidized in countries where health care is the government’s responsibility. Hence, students can manage without insurance in such locations. If health care is privatized, it would behoove the student to equip himself with a good health insurance policy that provides adequate coverage.
Health Insurance for International Students in the US
As mentioned earlier, the high cost of health care has made insurance mandatory for international students.
Eligibility: A non-US resident who is at least 14 years of age but less than 65 years old, pursuing ‘full-time education’ in the US, is eligible for health insurance. Full-time education would mean at least 6 credit hours. The person should be eligible to enroll or should have enrolled in one of the following courses: associate, bachelor, master or PhD., or formal university ELS program. The student should hold a J1 or F1 visa. The health insurance policy can be extended to include spouse and unmarried children less than 19 years of age.
Renewing Coverage: In case a person has a valid F, or J visa, and his coverage is expiring, a grace period coverage of 30/31 days is provided. This, of course, is subject to paying a premium.
Pre-existing Condition Exclusion Period: The pre-existing condition exclusion period is generally one year. This means that the plan does not cover medical treatment that is required on account of existing health problems for a period of 1 year. However, even during this exclusion period, facilities like emergency evacuation in case of chronic illness are not denied. This brings us to the facilities provided by health insurance companies.
Benefits of International Health Insurance: Fees for diagnosis and treatment; hospital charges and treatment in case of motor vehicle accident, and cost of lab tests and X-rays are completely covered. Pregnancy check-ups and treatment are covered up to a reasonable amount. Rehabilitation on account of alcohol and drug abuse is also covered to some extent. Depending upon the premium that is paid, the maximum coverage that is provided to the patient may vary. Accidental death, dismemberment, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation of remains are some of the facilities that are provided by insurance companies.
Health Insurance for US Residents Studying Abroad
The terms and conditions of this policy are almost similar to those of the above mentioned policy. The amount of coverage may vary depending upon the country. The age of a person and his past claims history will determine the amount of premium to be paid. This policy is optional in case the student is pursuing higher education in a country where health care is subsidized. Emergency evacuation facility may provide a modicum of comfort to some people.
International students in the US should not be without insurance even for a short period of time. Temporary or short-term medical plan is a good option for students who have recently graduated and are looking for work. During this period, they are not covered by student insurance. The main drawback of a temporary plan is that it covers the cost of the treatment only in case of illness and injury. Routine and preventive health care necessary for good health are not a part of this policy. Moreover, coverage is provided only for a maximum period of 6 months. Still, temporary insurance is an affordable alternative to not having insurance.