Because buying international student insurance can be a confusing process, we have compiled 10 helpful tips to make your decision making a little easier.
From school and visa requirements to typical costs, these tips are a good way to start your search for the perfect international student insurance plan. Be sure to read all ten tips, take some notes and take a look at our International Student Insurance article if you would like to know more.
Do not wait until the last moment
This is the first advice mentioned as it is also the most important. Although your school may not require you to have a plan until the school day, it is never a good idea to dwell on something as important as health insurance. It is best to start looking for a good policy on time, even before leaving your home country, which guarantees coverage from the moment you arrive at your destination.
Purchase a plan that meets your visa requirements
Many places in the world (such as the United States) have medical insurance requirements that you are required to meet to enter the country, depending on your visa. Students on an F1 visa do not have to follow federal regulations, and instead must follow the guidelines given by their institution. J1 Visa visa holders, on the other hand, must comply with a strict list of government mandates, including repatriation coverage, evacuation along with minimum periods of validity.
Do not forget the requirements of your school
Your school is aware that not all insurance plans are the same. Because of this, many schools have created an insurance waiver form, listing the requirements that an international student’s plan must have to be considered comparable.
Since schools rarely make exceptions to these requirements, it is important to find a plan that will satisfy your waiver and buy it before the deadline. You can find the insurance requirements of your school by contacting the international affairs office or doing a quick search in our database of school insurance requirements.
Find out if you need a waiver form
Some schools ask not only that you buy an international health insurance plan, but that your insurance company complete an insurance waiver form (also known as a Form of Compliance) to show that you have adequate coverage before registering for classes. After you make your purchase you only have to fill the student’s part in the format and send it to your insurance company so they can complete it. From there, the company performs the rest of the form, signs the end and then e-mail or fax a copy directly to the school.
Verify your eligibility
Each health insurance plan has certain criteria that must be met in order to qualify. International student insurance options require a valid student visa, but will not require internal information, such as a social security number. Sometimes these plans require you to attend school for a certain number of hours a week in order to remain eligible, so make sure you meet each of the eligibility requirements of the plan before you buy.
Look at the specific benefits
Since you are most likely to have the same insurance plan throughout your school experience, it is imperative that you know exactly what the plan covers and what does not. To get started, make sure your plan has traditional coverage like doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescription drugs, with the maximum of the policy high enough to make you feel comfortable. In addition, your international student insurance plan must come standardized with travel benefits such as emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of the remains.
Do not spend too much
Although no one expects the cost of insurance, medical insurance for international students is generally affordable, bearing in mind that students are usually younger and in good health. In addition to the premium each month, it is important to take note of any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur as well.
These sometimes unexpected costs will come in the form of deductibles, coinsurance, or co-payments. Always ask your insurance company to explain these costs to you in detail as this will help you understand how much you will have to contribute to the eligible expenses and how much they will cover them.
Know your documents
Having a plan is important to your health, but as mentioned earlier, it is more likely that you will also need to meet the requirements, either at school or in the country. Often, international insurance plans, such as our Student Secure plan, offer a visa letter on your purchase, but in case your consulate or school requires a different document, it is good to know what the insurance company offers. Failure to have the necessary documentation on time may delay processing your visa or prevent you from enrolling in the classes.
Check the time you can have the plan
Generally, plans made specifically for international students can be renewed for up to 4 years, but some plans like our Student Health Advantage plan can be maintained for up to 5 years. If you are in a study program abroad for less than a year, a travel plan would give you traditional medical benefits, such as doctor visits, plus benefits such as emergency medical evacuation. One such plan is the Atlas Travel plan, with such low prices ranging from $ 0.79 per day.
Remember that any illness or injury dealt with in your initial insurance plan will be seen as pre-existing conditions in a new plan and most likely not covered, at least until after a waiting period, so it is important that you stay in The same plan as long as possible.
Check your cancellation policy
Life can be unpredictable. Your school may not approve your alternative insurance plan, your visa may be denied, or you may have to return home unexpectedly for a family emergency. In the event that you no longer need your insurance plan, it is important to understand the cancellation conditions to know if you are eligible to receive a refund and stop future payments. Normally if you cancel your plan before the effective date you will be issued a full refund, but after this day cancellation charges apply.