Paying for medical expenses may be much different in the US than in many other countries. International students are expected to pay for their own medical expenses when visit a doctor for an injury or illness while studying in the US.
For this reason, international students must have a medical insurance policy. However, having a good insurance policy will provide both students and parents with the assurance that expenses of any major medical incident that occurs while the student is in the US will be “covered” (mostly paid for) by the insurance policy. Having a good insurance policy could save students’ parents hundreds of thousands of dollars if the student is injured or becomes ill.
What to know about international student insurance:
- Many Variables: Insurance policies in the US have many variables:
* Maximum benefit: this is the highest amount the insurance policy will pay for a particular injury or illness. For example, if the student is covered by a $100,000 medical policy and the student is injured and is admitted to the hospital. The most the policy will pay is $100,000. The parents will be responsible for all remaining charges.
* Deductible: This is an amount of money the student must pay before any insurance benefits are paid. For example, if the policy has a $100 deductible, and the student goes to the doctor for the first time in the US and is charged $90, the insurance will pay nothing until the student incurs another expense that is covered by the policy.
* Premium: This is the cost of the policy. The higher the maximum benefit and the lower the deductible, the higher will be the premium.
- Important: Purchase a policy designed specifically for international students studying in the US. International student insurance policies provide benefits for Medical Evacuation (in the event an injured or ill student needs to be transported back to the home country) and Repatriation of Remains (in the unlikely event a student dies while in the US).
- Important:strong> Purchase insurance before departing for the US. This guarantees that medical expenses will be covered should the student become ill or be injured immediately after arriving in the US.
- Important: Realize that any pre-existing conditions (medical situations the student is being treated for in his home country) are generally not covered for at least six (6) months or more after the student insurance policy is purchased. This means that insurance will not pay for expenses related to an illness or injury the student had before departing for the US or before the insurance is purchased.
- Important: Medical costs in the US are high! Purchase an insurance policy with no less than $250,000 coverage. M&W Global Services recommends a policy with $500,000 (US) coverage per incident or illness.
- Important: Purchase an insurance policy for a twelve (12) month term, not 10 months, and renew for the next school year before the current policy expires. This provides for continuous insurance coverage regardless of when the student arrives in and departs from the US. It also maintains insurance coverage for any pre-existing conditions they student had before departing for the US. If the student purchases a 10-month policy, another 6-month waiting period is required before payment for any pre-existing conditions.
- Remember: Insurance generally does not pay for any dental (teeth) problems. Dental treatment can be very expensive in the US. Consider purchasing a separate policy covering dental treatment.
- Remember: TImmediately after you purchase an insurance policy, print three (3) copies of your insurance card. Give one to your host parents, give one to your school official, and keep one with you at all times.
M&W Global Services recommends Safe Travels USA as a cost-effective international student health insurance policy. This policy can be purchased in various amounts of coverage per accident or illness. M&W Global Services requires at least $250,000 per accident or illness but strongly recommends $500,000.