Every fall, around 100,000 international students come to the United States in pursuit of higher education. As the cost of health care is extremely high in the U.S., most schools require that their students carry sufficient international student insurance.
While shopping for international student insurance, it is important to consider the following tips:
- Health care in foreign countries may be difficult to understand. If English is not your primary language, it may be even more difficult to decipher the complicated terms.
- With that in mind, please view our guide section for many helpful articles. You may also view our glossary, if you are uncertain of any specific terms.
- Because each school determines its own minimum requirements for student medical insurance coverage, it is critical to first find out what those requirements are. Those requirements are often listed on the waiver form. You should not buy any insurance that fails to meet those requirements.
- If you plan on participating in any sports or adventure activities, make certain that the student health insurance you purchase will cover those. Some international student insurance plans exclude intercollegiate, intramural, extreme, and club sports.
- We understand that, as an international student, money may be tight. Look for insurance plans that provide the flexibility of monthly payments, as opposed to those where you must come up with large upfront payments.
Although some international student insurance plans offer highly attractive overall policy maximums and a low price, be very careful. They probably have severe sub-limits that are significantly lower than the actual cost of healthcare in the U.S., meaning you could have a very high out of pocket expense.
E.g., if you are covered for $1,000 per day for hospitalization and the actual cost is $2,000 per day (not uncommon), you will have to pay $1,000 per day out of your own pocket! Oftentimes, hospital stays may even be significantly higher than that.
If you are covered for $3,000 for a surgery that costs $40,000, you will have to come up with $37,000.
In addition, there may be other limitations to those plans, such as the number of days for which treatment or prescriptions may be covered. It is very important to educate yourself and select a plan that fits your specific needs AND your school’s minimum requirements.
Normally, coinsurance is designed to limit your out of pocket expenses.
E.g., A good insurance plan may have a coinsurance similar to the following: After the deductible is met, the plan pays 80% up to $5,000, and then 100% to the policy maximum of $250,000.
In this example, even if the expenses are $100,000, you will only pay the deductible plus $1,000 (20% of the $5000).
However, if the coinsurance is like the following, your expenses could potentially be much higher:
After the deductible is met, the plan pays 100% up to $30,000, and then 80% to the policy maximum of $250,000.
In this example, with the expenses still at $100,000, after the deductible you would be responsible for 20% of $70,000 or $14,000.
Therefore, it is extremely important to review the coinsurance very carefully and know what you’re getting.
There are many international student insurance plans available in the U.S. market and not all are created the same.
Be sure to compare international student insurance plans to ensure that the one you purchase is the plan most suitable to your needs and your school’s requirements.