Healthcare for overseas students in USA

Healthcare in the US can be complex, but Indian students going to study abroad in the US can save money and time by knowing where to go for different types of healthcare. Find out more about US healthcare for international students and buying health insurance from this article.

Indians going to study abroad in the US will have access to some of the best healthcare in the world, but also some of the most expensive. Healthcare is not socialized in the United States, like it is in many other parts of the world. Even Americans find it expensive, and a major illness or an accident can cost a fortune. Prospective students going to study overseas should be very clear about the healthcare system. It is a complex system, but the key to enjoying its benefits lies in knowing where to go for specific types of care, and the proper procedures to obtain healthcare to save an international college student a lot of money and time.

On-Campus Healthcare

Your US university or college campus will usually offer general medical care in the form of first aid and treatments for minor illnesses. Some colleges will also have facilities for X-ray and lab tests. Others may have specialists within easy reach, and pharmacies where prescription drugs are available. Be sure to take your medical records (immunization records, prescriptions etc.) to the infirmary or healthcare center of your school, within the first week of your arrival there.

Off-Campus Healthcare

The cost of healthcare off-campus will be higher, but it is good to know about your options. Private doctors in the US have regular office hours (usually 9 to 5) when you can see them by appointment if there are no emergencies. For minor emergencies, you will find clinics open round the clock, even on holidays that will treat you without appointments. For serious emergencies, you may need to call an ambulance to take you to the emergency room of your nearest hospital. These emergency rooms are fully equipped to deal with life-threatening illnesses, and are also more expensive.

Health Insurance

You will also need health insurance when in the US. Many universities and colleges have their own insurance plans for students, and often it is compulsory for international students to sign up for it. If you have received sponsorships from Fulbright and other such sponsors, they will usually have their own insurance policy. To find a suitable healthcare plan independently, visit the International Student Office at your university.

You will find many private insurance policies designed particularly for international students. Not all of them are beneficial, so be sure to consult with the student office and talk to other students who have had problems with claims, before choosing a plan for yourself.

When buying insurance, be sure that you find out the following:
  • Are accidents as well as illnesses covered?
  • Are costs outside the hospital covered?
  • Which hospitals and doctors are on the plan?
  • What are limitations and exclusions?

As the fine print says, be very sure to read the insurance policy carefully, taking the advice of the International Student Office, before you sign up for insurance. Also note that if you have an F-1 visa, the US government does not make it mandatory for you to have a health plan. But if you study on a J-1 visa (for exchange work-and-study programs) you will need health insurance before you can enroll in a US university.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Kailash Kumar08 Jun 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

Most of the universities require the admitted students to take health insurance policies before allowing them to register for classes. The students are required to show the proof of insurance at the beginning of every semester. Generally most of the universities provide an option to the students to either buy the universities recommended health insurance plan or buy an outside one. Otherwise also maintaining an appropriate health insurance coverage is money well spent while studying abroad. One nevers knows as to when an emergency may arise in the form of an accident or an illness. Healthcare is very expensive in US. Therefore irrespective of the fact as to whether it is a mandatory requirement for F-1 student visa holders to buy an health insurance policy or not, it is always wise to buy one and remain covered under a health policy.

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