Are you trying to choose a health insurance plan offered through your employer? Choosing a health plan for the year ahead is an important decision. And if it’s open enrollment time at your company, it’s your time to explore the available health plan options before you enroll.
You can use this checklist and watch our open enrollment video series to help you weigh the options and decide which health plan may be best for you. Let’s get started.
- Check to see which providers are in network
Finding a doctor or clinic that is in network may help keep costs lower. In fact, many plans will only cover network providers. When you’re reviewing your health plan options, consider taking these steps:
Check to see if your primary doctor, provider or clinic is in network for the plan you are considering
Check to see if your mental health providers, dentists and specialty providers are in network
Find out if there is partial coverage for out-of-network providers
Knowing which providers are in network may help you narrow your choices for health plans. For example, if you have a specific doctor you prefer to see, you’ll likely want to be sure they’re in network for the plan you choose. If you’re considering a UnitedHealthcare plan, you can search for network providers and clinics using our provider search tool.
- Consider your health care needs
From year to year, your coverage needs may change. Maybe you have different medication needs or a procedure planned for the upcoming year. Before you enroll in a plan, think about the care you or your family may need in the year ahead. Here are some factors to consider as you’re making your decision.
What do you see the doctor for?
Do you have a major procedure planned?
Do you take medications?
Who else needs coverage through your plan?
- Decide how you prefer to manage your costs
You can make choices about how you pay for your care too. Check to see if the plan you’re considering works with the way you like to manage your budget. Some people prefer to keep their monthly premium payments low. Others may choose to pay higher monthly premiums so they may pay less for copays when they need care.
Lower premium plans
If you don’t have any major care needs, you can save money by finding a plan that charges a lower premium each month. This means the plan will take less money out of your paychecks to pay for insurance. Compare your plan options to see which plan’s premium amount requires you to pay the least.
Lower copay plans
Some plans may give you the option to spend less money when you pay for care services, like when you visit the doctor. Consider the cost of payments like copays when you visit a doctor, clinic or urgent care. You can also compare the deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket limit for each plan. That way, you can see which plans may help you save more. Researching these costs and understanding how you and your plan share costs together also helps you avoid cost surprises later.
7 Tips for Medical Insurance for Intl. Students in the USA
You’re going to the United States to spend some time studying—too cool! It’s fun to get caught up in your dreams of living the suite life like Zach and Cody or finding an incredible apartment in downtown New York City just like Monica, Ross, Rachael, Joey, Chandler, and Phoebe. You’re already picturing your first blue jeans purchase and your first drive through experience. You’re getting excited about diverse student populations, beautiful quads to toss a football or get some studying done in the sunlight, Starbucks frappuccinos on the reg, a professor whose mind you adore…
Traveling to Asia? Get Covered with the Luma ASEAN Pass
health insurance for international students in the USA
High quality health insurance for international students is something worth clapping for!
And while yes, most of these happenings will certainly be a part of your experience studying in the United States, many foreign students don’t consider more serious matters well enough in advance—like medical insurance for international students in the USA.
We absolutely love that you’re stocking up on new clothes from TaoBao (your first day of school outfit is important!), but, simultaneously, you also need to shop around for your global health insurance. Read on to learn our best advice for securing your international student health insurance in the USA.
Things to know about medical insurance for international students in the USA
- Know why you need international student health insurance.
Regardless of how old you are, how well traveled you are, or your relative health (future Olympian vs. hours-spent-watching-Sarabhai-vs-Sarabhai-on-couch-record-holder), there are very real risks that need to be prepared for before studying in the United States.
Yes, remembering to pack your favorite hair products or must-have tennis shoes is important, but your international student health insurance carries even more weight. Not having health insurance coverage in the United States—a country particularly notorious for expensive health care costs—can have lifelong consequences for both your health AND your bank account.
You will be treated in an emergency situation regardless of your health insurance coverage in the United States; however, in the instance where you are uninsured, you will have to pay out of pocket for all medical costs incurred.
And trust us when we say… you better hope your pockets are DEEP. Even something as little as a two mile ambulance ride can rack up $2700 in bills. Eek.
study in usa insurance
We know you’re not in an American university lecture hall yet, but hear us out!
- Memorize the terminology.
We know you might still be getting a handle on the English language, but as you shop around for health insurance for international students, it’s helpful to know the definitions of a few important terms, like:
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.
- Fulfill the health insurances requirements necessary for your visa.
Your international student health insurance requirements will vary based on your full time student statuses—aka your J1 vs. F1 visa. For more information on these different visa pathways, check out this resource from the University of Chicago.
health insurance for studying in the US
Whether you have a J1 or an F1 visa will impact the type of health insurance you need for studying in the US.
International students entering the USA on a J1 visa must have adequate health insurance that fulfills requirements set forth by the US Department of State AKA the visa authorities. As of now, the J1 visa insurance requirements include:
Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
Repatriation of remains coverage amounting to $25,000
Expenses associated with the emergency medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
A deductible of no more than $500 per accident or illness
The international student health provider must be legitimate in the eyes of the US State Department too. This means the policy must be underwritten by an organization that checks off boxes such as an A.M. best rating of “A-” or above; an Insurance Solvency International rating of “A-1” or above; a Standard and Poors Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-” or above; or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above.
Note that these requirements are also extended to your dependents, so if you are coming to the United States as a graduate student or researcher with your family, children, or spouse, they too will need adequate health coverage.
F1 visa holders do not have to meet government mandated standards. They have less stringent health insurance requirements than those holding a J1 visa, as these international students don’t have any oversight or requirements from the US government. These policies are typically determined by the educational institution the student is enrolled at.When you gamble with safety, you bet your life.
- 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 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.
health insurance for international students in the US
Not having a clear understanding of what health insurance for international students in the US covers? ^^
Keep in mind that additional coverage, such as dental or eye insurance, can often be purchased separately or in addition to basic inclusions. Further, 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 the United States (note that this coverage is required for J1 visa holders).
Certain providers, like Medjet, offer the benefit of a medical transport membership, which helps make sure you can be transported to a hospital at home in case of emergency. These programs can also have security benefits, providing a 24/7 crisis response line for any security threats. But, like we said—you may have to pay a little extra for perks like this.
On the flip side, 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
If you want coverage for lost luggage or delayed flights, etc., be sure to look into travel insurance policies on top of your health insurance policy research! Or, if you’re wise, find a policy that combines all of your needs—worldwide travel medical & accident insurance (including medical evacuation) such as SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. You can browse travel insurance providers that GoAbroad loves here.
- Budget properly to cover the cost of health insurance for international students.
What is the average cost of health insurance for international students in the USA? Generally speaking, international student health coverage plans are very affordable (your young age and good health might have something to do with that!). You need to plan ahead to pay for your monthly premium, but to also budget additional savings to cover any unexpected out of pocket expenses, such as deductibles, co-insurance, or co-pays.
We recommend having a nest egg of $1500 in your bank account to cover any unplanned for medical expenses per year of study in the United States. It is very unlikely that you will need to tap into these funds—or that you will need to use all of them—but having them there will make an already stressful situation slightly less-so if finances are taken out of the equation.
medical insurance in the usa for international students
Though it may cost a pretty penny, health care services in the US are top-notch.
- Select a trustworthy, high quality insurance provider.
Every other link on Google is telling you that they are the most reliable, trusted, and easy-to-work-with provider on the market. But let’s be serious—not EVERYONE can be the best. Right? So, who does provide the best health insurance for international students in USA? Here are our most recommended options:
Lewerglobal. Lewerglobal offers affordable medical insurance plans that are designed specifically for international students and meet the requirements of most colleges and universities. There are different options available depending on your budget and level of coverage you wish to have. International students attending colleges, universities and high schools, visiting scholars, US work authorization participants and more can enroll quickly and easily right through Lewerglobal’s website and get instant proof of coverage.
Compass Student Insurance. Compass Student Insurance offers multiple packages depending on your needs for studying in the USA—you’ll love their comprehensive benefits packages and affordable prices! You can opt for their basic Care Plan, which costs ~$35 per month with a $100,000 maximum benefit per injury plan (as well as $250 in network deductible), or sign up for their most popular plan, the Care Plus. This costs about $20 more monthly but more than doubles your maximum benefits and slashes your deductible to just $100 per injury. Other options include the Benchmark Plan and their Sports plan for serious student athletes.
AETNA. AETNA international student health insurance works with many US universities—200+—to underwrite their student insurance policies. If you are attending a university that collaborates with this provider, you will be satisfied with the policy options and overall coverage.
ISO. International student insurance by ISO can also meet your needs. This organization has four plans: Compass PPO, Essential (Basic), J1 Exchange, & OPT Students. ISO provides multi-lingual support, including Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Hindi and more.
- Other tips to keep in mind:
Don’t delay. Coordinate your health insurance in advance of setting foot in the United States as an international student. While you might not need insurance coverage from day one of your arrival, you will need it during your actual studies or once the semester begins. Consider buying short-term health insurance for international students on OPT to right any gaps in your coverage as an F1 student.
Double check your school’s requirements. The institution you’re studying at in the USA might have additional health insurance requirements, like waivers. Double check with your campus advisor or guidance counselor to ensure no document is left un-submitted!
Make sure you remain eligible. Some insurance providers will have unique eligibility qualifications, like a requirement that you attend classes for a set number of hours each week. If you’re not able to follow through with these, don’t pay for that insurance. It won’t work!
Review the cancellation policy with someone more knowledgeable than you. We get that you’re a bright student, but legal jargon can be tough to understand—even for native English speakers. Walk through the cancellation policy with your advisor or education consultant so you’re aware of any red flags.
You’re ready to find the right international student insurance for YOU
medical insurance for international students in united states
GoAbroad & the Kardashians are rooting for your success as an international student in the United States!
Now that you know the ins and outs of securing international student insurance in the USA, you are well equipped to find a policy and coverage that fits your goals, needs, and desires as a safety net during your time abroad. And once your medical insurance for international students in the USA is squared away, you can happily return to the more exciting parts of planning your trip—like putting together a rockin’ rock n’ roll playlist on Spotify or buying your first pair of Uggs. You know, the important things.
5 things you need to know about health insurance
If you’ve tried to get a GP appointment over the last few years, you will know how strained the NHS has become. Despite waiting list numbers falling in January 2023 for the first time since the pandemic hit, staff are still attempting to address a huge backlog. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has promised to reduce waiting lists, but with ongoing disputes over pay causing nurses and ambulance staff to strike, the NHS is under an intense amount of pressure.
Given the increase in the number of patients on waiting lists, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many are turning to private healthcare in case they find themselves too unwell to wait for treatment in the future. According to King’s Fund, around 11% of Brits have some form of private health insurance. But this doesn’t come cheap — the average yearly premium costs around £1,500 a year, says Unbiased.
Given the costs involved, it’s important to know what you’re signing up for before you splash out, so we put together five questions you should ask yourself before taking out a health insurance policy.
from motor cover to home insurance, what policies do we need and what can we do without
Which insurance do you really need?
Do I need private health insurance?
One of the benefits of health insurance — also known as private medical insurance — is that you will get treatment immediately, without joining an NHS waiting list. It may also give you access to certain drugs or treatments that aren’t available on the NHS and the extra comfort of private hospital care, and it will cover some or all of the cost of private medical treatment.
The costs your insurer will cover you for will depend on your policy type, and premiums tend to increase every year. Most policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions or chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, epilepsy and arthritis.
PETER DAZELEY//GETTY IMAGES
Am I already covered by my workplace?
Your employer may have a healthcare scheme in place as one of the benefits it offers for employees.
Health cover from a workplace is usually provided through either a healthcare cash plan or private medical insurance. A healthcare cash plan provides a cash payment, normally for a fixed sum, to put towards a private healthcare service.
Routine dental checks and eye checks are usually covered by healthcare cash plans, too. Ask your HR department for more information.
Can I still receive NHS care if I have health insurance?
Yes. You’re still entitled to free health care from the NHS, even if you choose to pay for additional private care.
However, you can only have one healthcare team supervising treatment for a specific condition. So if you need a cataract operation, for example, you would need to opt to have both the operation and lens implants with either the NHS or a private provider — you cannot mix and match services.
NATALIA GDOVSKAIA//GETTY IMAGES
Where can I find a suitable policy?
If you decide to take out health insurance, first look at comparison sites, such as MoneySupermarket and Compare the Market, to check prices and policies.
It’s important to scrutinise every aspect of your policy to understand what’s covered and what’s not. Look out for fixed-sum excess charges and add-ons, such as dental or maternity care, and check whether you’ll be covered for the cost of hospital stays.
If you’re over 50, health insurance can be harder to find and is usually more expensive. However, if you’re looking to insure yourself and a partner, a joint policy can cost you £365 less per year than two individual policies, according to MoneySupermarket.
If you’re unsure about which type of policy is best for you, or you have any pre-existing medical conditions you wish to discuss further, contact a health insurance broker. You can find one through the Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries. A broker can help you find a policy that’s tailored to your needs, let you know about exclusions and put you in touch with insurers directly.
how to reduce car insurance
How to reduce car insurance
How much does health insurance cost?
The cost of your health insurance policy will depend on a number of factors, including your age and risk of developing health problems.
A private consultation alone can cost around £200, according to Compare the Market, and an MRI scan can cost up to £1,500.
There are ways to cut costs, however, and it’s worth working out the level of cover you actually need. If you’re happy with the NHS diagnosing the issue, oping for a treatment-only plan with the private healthcare provider could save you as much as 40%.
You should also check whether the policy offers voluntary excess (typically between £100 and £5,000) which can get you a discount of 10% or more on the rest of your cover.
TIPS FOR USING YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE EFFECTIVELY
For many people, January starts their health insurance coverage year. Now that you have it, how do you use it to keep you and your family healthy and minimize financial surprises? This article will provide you with suggestions to effectively use your health insurance.
A man reading his healthcare information at the dining table.
Review Your Evidence of Coverage – The Evidence of Coverage is that thick document you might get that provides the details of your plan, from the definition of terms to the costs to the rules you need to follow to have health services covered. For some, it might be a URL provided on the back of your insurance card. Either way, you receive the information, be sure to review it, especially around topics such as your network, what health services might need pre-approval, the health services covered. You are looking for any information about services you may not have used before, changes in costs and information that might be new. Sometimes, plans change just a little bit from year to year, even if it is a plan you’ve had in the past. It’s important that you keep up to date.
Carry Your Health Insurance Card at All Times – You never know what might happen or when you might need health care services. Insurance cards have information that a health care provider needs to provide service and the co-payment or co-insurance amounts that could be charged. The card also has contact information in case you have questions.
Use Preventive Services to Stay Healthy – Most health insurance plans offer preventative services; some offer them at low or no cost to encourage individuals to go to the doctor for their annual physicals, well-child visits, annual gynecological care, and in some cases, dental cleanings. We know that people who take advantage of these preventive services help you avoid certain diseases and catch others in their early stages, to limit the harm they can cause.
Choose In-network Doctors and Health Care Services – Most health care insurance companies have a network of doctors and health care services with whom there is a contract. When you use providers from the network, it costs less money. If you have an HMO or EPO type of health care plan and use out-of-network health care services (unless in an emergency), you will have to pay the full cost; health insurance will not cover any of the costs. So, it is important to choose doctors and healthcare services in your health insurance network. Check their website or use the number on the back of your health insurance card to verify if your providers are in the network.
Track Health Care Related Expenses – Use your Explanation of Benefits document mailed to you or visit your information online to track your use of health care services and your costs. You’ll want to do this to make sure information and costs are correct and also to be able to plan for your out-of-pocket costs.
Plan for Health Care Costs – Health insurance is designed to share health care costs with you. Depending on the plan, that may be more or less money. It’s important to understand your plan, what it doesn’t cover, and estimate those costs. Use the Estimating Your Health Care Costs publication to help you determine how much you need to set aside to cover out-of-pocket costs.
Use Tools to Solve Problems – Sometimes things go wrong. Use information from the health insurance company website or the Evidence of Coverage booklet to find information about resolving any issues regarding billing or health care services.