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Health Insurance guide for students coming to USA

Selecting an International Student Medical Insurance Plan

As an International Student in the US you are expected to be insured for medical, repatriation and evacuation expenses. Some universities mandate insurance coverage for international students/scholars on F and J visas. Almost all universities permit you to buy a plan of your choice provided it meets their minimum requirements. There are many insurance plans offering various benefits at various costs. It is important for you to consider the following factors while selecting a plan.

Policy Maximum

Plans can cover the medical expenses resulting from illness and injuries up to a certain maximum amount only; any expense beyond this maximum limit will not be covered by the insurance plan. This limit is typically referred to as the 'policy maximum'; policy maximums range from $50,000 to $1,000,000.

Plans with higher policy maximums offer better protection and hence cost more.

Premium

Premium is the amount you pay towards purchasing the plan. By paying the premium you can enroll in an insurance plan and protect yourself from several unforeseen expenses. Insurance plans can offer monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual premiums.

Deductible amount

In the event of a medical expense, you as a policyholder will be required to make a certain fixed payment towards meeting the medical expense. This amount you pay towards meeting the medical expense is called the 'deductible'. The insurance company will consider making payments for the medical expenses only after you have satisfied the deductible amount.

Some policies offer an annual deductible, and you are expected to pay the deductible only once a year, irrespective of the number of times you visit the hospital or doctor. Other policies may require you to pay the deductible for each illness or injury (you could visit the hospital or doctor several times for the same illness or injury but you will be required to pay the deductible just once for each illness or injury).

Your monthly premium will decrease as your plan's deductible increases.

Co-insurance

Usually, even after you have paid the deductible, insurance plans may cover only a portion of your medical expenses. For example, the policy might pay 80% of eligible expenses; the remaining 20 percent, for which you are responsible, is called the coinsurance.

Hence, if you were injured and incurred a $2,100 claim in eligible medical expenses; an insurance plan with a $100 deductible and 20% coinsurance would require:

  • the insurance company pay $1,600 (80% of $2,000)
  • and you pay $400 (20% for $2,000) as co-insurance The plans that offer best protection are those that require you to pay the least towards co-insurance.

    Intermediate Coverage Limits

    Some plans assign intermediate limits to each type of covered medical expense. For example some plans in spite of offering $250,000 maximum coverage can stipulate the maximum coverage offered for surgery is $5,000, the maximum limit for prescription drugs is $150 etc. So please read the policy benefit details in the brochure.

    The plans that offer best protection are those that have very few intermediate coverage limits.

    Exclusions

    Most insurance policies either exclude coverage for certain pre-existing medical conditions or require you to be continuously covered on the plan for 6 or 12 months before covering the pre-existing conditions.

    So, if you have special coverage requirements please seek help from a qualified US Health Insurance professional



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