1. Why does an international student need health insurance?
The United States does not have a nationalized health care system that provides free medical care. Consequently, the majority of those who live in the United States must pay for their own health care. Since the cost of medical care can be expensive (for example, one visit to the doctor can cost $75 or more and a room in the hospital can cost $400 to $500 per day) most people enrolled in a health insurance plan.
2. What is health insurance and how does it work?
Health insurance is your guarantee that if you become ill or suffer an accident during your stay in the U.S. , you will be able to afford proper medical attention. Health insurance works as follows: You, the member of the health insurance plan (or the "policy-holder") pay a fee (or "premium") to a health insurance company. In the event you require medical care, the company will pay for all or part of your medical bills.
3. What should an international student look for when selecting a health insurance plan?
International students should select a plan which has adequate coverage given the high cost of medical care in the U.S. and the fact that students live on a limited budget. An adequate plan should cover at least $35,000 in medical expenses. This may seem to be an unnecessary amount but a serious accident or long-term illness can easily cost $35,000 or more.
Since many insurance plans will not pay for medical care for an illness or physical problem which existed before insurance coverage began, students who have chronic illnesses or have had health problems in the past which may reoccur should be sure to select a plan which covers "pre-existing conditions".
Many insurance plans require you to pay a certain percentage or set amount of your medical bills before they will pay the balance of the bill; this is called a "deductible"; for example, if you have a $100-$200 deductible, this means you pay the first $100-$200 on your medical bill for each individual illness or accident and the insurance company pay the balance. Other plans expect you to pay the first $100 or $200 depending on the plan. Be sure to check the "deductible" when reviewing insurance policies. Someone who has young children frequently requiring the care of a doctor may want to select a plan with a low deductible.
4. What types of health insurance plans are available to international students?
There are several plans available to students enrolled at Queens College. Please come to our office for more information.
5. Once a person is enrolled in a health insurance plan and incurs a medical expense,
how does he or she get a refund?
Most health insurance plans work in the following way: If you become ill and need the services of a doctor, you pay the doctor's bill and then file a "claim" form with the insurance company. Claim forms are provided by the insurance company and are used to request a refund. If hospitalization is required, you must show your health insurance membership card to the hospital staff and they will bill your insurance company directly. For this reason it is wise to carry your health insurance card with you at all times.