Health care insurance is a necessity today. Most educational institutions in the United States require students to be covered for healthcare. Surveys reveal that nearly thirty percent of students in the US do not have healthcare insurance, and ask their parents for financial help when in need. These students are most likely to drop their studies for financial reasons, as they have to work to pay off their dues of healthcare expenses.
Many students find it difficult to meet the costs of healthcare insurance, because it does not come cheap. However, it is advantageous for a student to have this medical insurance.
Although there are many plans offering student health insurance, they can be categorized into three basic types: parent’s health care plan, college health insurance plan, and the commercial health insurance plan. Each of the mentioned plans has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Under the parent’s health care plan, a college student may not be covered, after a certain age. If that is the case, extra coverage called COBRA needs to be obtained, which is not necessarily cheaper than purchasing a different plan altogether. Moreover, it may be a pre-requisite that the student should have at least ‘x’ number of college credit hours to qualify for the coverage.
The college plan can offer coverage through HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), or PPO (Preferred Provider Organization). These are group plans and generally cheaper than commercial health plans. However, the coverage offered may be limited. Other options would have to be explored for coverage that is more comprehensive. The college plan is preferable when there is an ‘on campus’ hospital. Most of the college plans cover all accident or health care expenses, subject to the condition that the student continues to be registered with the college for a particular duration.
Many companies sell commercial health insurance. The terms may differ widely, hence, it would be essential to purchase a plan that offer facilities that one finds suitable. The best way would be to make a list of the features that are important, and then get the details for different plans from various companies, and compare them to decide which plan is the best one.
Under the commercial health plan, there is the temporary student health insurance, which is meant for students staying away from home. It can be availed for periods of thirty days, to six or twelve months. According to the temporary plan, the student can find a doctor or hospital of his choice by taking an Indemnity Plan. Alternatively, he or she may take the Managed Care Plan, which allows a choice of doctors and hospitals that are in the plan’s network. The Managed Care Plan has lower premiums than the Indemnity Plan.
Most states in the US have legal stipulations, which require compulsory health care insurance for foreign students, and set a minimum amount that should be available for emergency evacuation, medical treatment and repatriation of remains, if required. International student medical insurance costs approximately six to seven hundred dollars per annum.
In view of emergencies requiring medical attention, it is essential for students to be covered under health care insurance. It is a precondition for registration in most educational institutions in the US. Many states have laws that make it compulsory for foreign students to be covered by the health care insurance.