Terms in health insurance students should be aware of:
There are some important terms students should be aware of before they plan an insurance cover; at times there are terms which are very important and should not be overlooked. Understanding insurance lingo can keep you safe and pay for majority of your medical expenses instead of paying thousands of dollars even after buying health cover.
This is the amount a person has to pay out of their pocket before the insurance company will pay any expenses. There can be two ways to pay a deductible - once a year payment; you don’t have to pay again till you renew the policy the next year. You pay per condition deductible, where you don’t pay for follow up visits of the same illness, but for some different condition you will have to pay again.
This is the amount the insurance company pays - if your policy has an 80% coinsurance - the insurer will pay 80% of your medical bill.
Also known as an in-network provider is a group which includes doctors, hospitals and medical providers with contracts to the insurance companies to provide health care. Their charges are considerably less than non network providers. Most of the network providers accept direct payment from the insurance company so it will save you the effort of first paying and then getting re-imbursed.
Usual, Reasonable and Customary:
Known as URC is the average cost of a particular treatment. This is a fixed rate for treatment in a particular area and it cannot change too much - for example when treatment for a particular illness in say, Chicago is $1000 - this is the average taken for all states for the same treatment.
Any illness or condition before the insurance policy is taken has to be checked as each insurer has its own conditions.
Repatriation of the remains:
Most insurance plans cover the cost of returning the insured’s body to their home country in case of death.
Emergency Medical Evacuation:
The insurance company provides medically necessary transportation when the insured requires treatment not available locally.
Important Points to Ponder:
It will be wise to check the insurance which the school provides because though expensive it may not cover all your particular needs. Not everything will be covered but you will need to make sure that everything essential to you is covered. Follow some basic guidelines to choose the plan best suited to you.
The rate of the plan is very important, some cheaper plans can leave out essential medical services, and so, it is best to keep both the price and services covered in mind, while choosing a plan.
It is best to study benefits carefully as all the main medical benefits should be included.
Read these carefully as you will know exactly what the insurance plan does not cover.
Take care to read about the hidden limits on benefits in some plans. Sometimes plans have hidden sub-limits - for example it may read $100,000 for hospitalization but the fine print may say only $500 per day for hospitalization. It will be best to ensure that the plan will cover 2 situations - a general doctor’s visit for $600 and a 3 day hospital stay will cost $10,000.
You will want to make sure you can visit providers of your choice without limitations and in your area. You need to know where 24/7 help and assistance is available and where in your locality.
You will also need to know how claims are processed with an insurance plan. Are the claims submitted online or by email? Do you need to fill up forms each time or will the doctor submit the claim to the company directly. How long does it take to process a claim?
You should make sure of the plan’s carrier rating. It is best to make sure that your carrier has an A rating with either Standard and Poor’s or AM Best as they are the largest insurance rating agencies.
It is easy to assume that once you have health insurance you are fully covered or at least a good part of your medical bills will be taken care of by your health insurance policy.
There are some common health insurance exclusions - a type of surgery or a type of drug - it is important to look for them before taking a policy.
Company will not cover. This can range from anything from a type of drug to a type of surgery. These exclusions vary from plan to plan, so it’s important to read through all of the plan exclusions – as this can be even more important than the benefits listed out in a plan!
Make sure that the sport you play is included as many sports injuries are excluded.
Insurance for F2 Visa
Insurance is actually not required for F2 visa holders though it is a good idea to have a health cover since health costs can be very steep. Finding insurance for an F2 visa can be very difficult as students are covered by universities and a full time student or with a F1 visa it is easier to find insurance covers.
One possibility is when on a student or F1 plan try to buy a plan which will cover dependants like a spouse or child. The student Secure Plan has this option.
Another option is to buy an international major medical plan. These plans do not have student status requirements and offer comprehensive covers.
The international travel plan can buy insurance for an individual from the moment he leaves the country, followed by a few months of stay also.
You may wonder why you need to have travel insurance; it may not cover whatever emergency treatment you may need and it will be too expensive.
There are 2 types of travel insurance you should consider – one is where your travel expenses will be re-imbursed if there is a medical emergency like someone seriously falls sick or the trip is cancelled due to a natural calamity or a strike.
The other important insurance is the travel health insurance; this plan will cover you in case you fall sick or are injured while you are travelling abroad. This will allow you to see a doctor or visit a hospital while you are covered.
F1 Student Visa Insurance
Students should maintain a good insurance cover while they study in the USA. The school or college has some requirements which you will need to study abroad. Some universities have their own plans under which you need to be covered. There are many options a student can choose from.
Health Insurance Plan Options
This is the most popular plan for students who are on a F1 visa. This plan has monthly payment options. You can buy it for 5 days up to 365 days and it can also be renewed for 4 years.
• Coverage: 1 month to 1 year, $200,000 to $ 300,000 max
• Deductible: As low as $ 25
• Monthly payment options
• Renewable for 4 years
Atlas Travel Medical
This is a very good option for F1 students. This allows dependants to be enrolled - for e.g. cover dependants like spouses and children. It is a good plan for students who don’t require comprehensive benefits. There is international medical insurance for students whose travel includes benefits like Hospitalizations, doctor visits, Prescription Medication, Evacuation and repatriation.
• Coverage: 5days to 1 year
• $50,000 to $1,000,000 max
• Deductible: $0 to $250
• Full payment has to be made
• Renewable for 1 year
Reliance Travel care Insurance
There are many types of policies available - The Reliance Basic, Silver, Gold and Reliance Platinum. You can buy a policy online with no medical checkup required. They have a 24/7 Cashless emergency service, with an emergency assistance service provider.
The Global Medical International Major medical Insurance
This plan is available to both US and non US students and the company offers a range of benefits to suit all needs. The plans start with a silver and then Gold and Gold plus options. For maximum coverage Platinum plan is available. There is a maximum of $ 5 million coverage. The cover includes hospitalization and doctor visits included with prescription medicine included with evacuation and repatriation, maternity and pregnancy care and much more.
To submit a Claim
When you have paid the medical charges or shown your ID card for insurance at the hospital you will still have to submit an insurance claim form to the insurance company.
This form will furnish the company about the medical treatment sought and what the company will need to re-imburse.
Keep all receipts and bills:
Ask the hospital, doctor or clinic bills. The bill will list the service provided and the cost of the service. The insurance company will want original bill copies.
You will also need to download the claim form and print it. Fill in all the details of the accident or illness.
Make copies of both the form and the bills before submitting them; this will avoid any errors on the part of the company or the hospital.
Latest Publications and Research on Student Health Insurance OptionsHealth insurance literacy: A mixed methods study of college students. - Published by PubMed
Validation of a Finnish version of the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (Finn-FIQ). - Published by PubMed