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Moving To The US To Pursue Higher Studies? Here’s What You Should Know About Campus Health Insurance

The major concern that prospective students have before they apply to, or enroll at a university in the United States is medical insurance. Several universities in America have made it mandatory for students to have health insurance, including international students as well. Different campuses have different health insurance policies and associated costs. Overseas students need to keep some key things in mind when they have to determine if they require a health insurance policy in the United States. If one doesn’t have insurance, that might affect their studies. The United States does not have a universal healthcare system. Some universities have insurance plans of their own. There is a lot more that you need to know.

Requirement of a Health Insurance Policy Might Depend on the Visa Category

The exchange visitors need to have a J1 visa, while the dependent needs to be on a J2 visa as per the rules of the United States Department of State to have medical insurance during the total duration of their program. However, the State Department hasn’t laid out any specific requirement in case overseas students, as well as their dependents, on an F1 visa have to apply for medical insurance. According to Mandee Heller Adler, the CEO, and president of the International College Counselors, those who are on an F1 visa need not comply with the standards that have been laid out by the government.

Adler stresses the fact that even though some colleges might not make it mandatory for students to have health insurance, it’s always beneficial if they have one. Not having a health insurance policy could burn a hole in the pocket due to the high medical costs. There is a misconception among the students that medical costs without a health plan are affordable while it’s just the opposite. Unpaid medical bills are a big reason why people face bankruptcy. If Americans do not have a health insurance plan, emergencies can push them towards a financial disaster. According to experts, it’s always better for students to communicate with the universities if they have any specific policy.

Some Universities Have Insurance Policies of their Own

Overseas applicants might be required to have a group insurance plan sponsored by the university they wish to get enrolled in. Universities that don’t have an insurance plan of their own ask the overseas students to choose their own health insurance policy. The University of California has made it mandatory for all overseas students to have medical insurance when they are registering themselves at the university.

Therefore, they are signed up for SHIP or Student Health Insurance Plan for which they are charged a fee. SHIP offers counseling, medical, dental, and vision services to the students. Undergraduates need to shell out $1768 every semester while graduate students need to pay $2841 every semester. All these are mentioned on the university’s website.

Having No Insurance Might Affect Studies

If you are an overseas student who has just enrolled at a university in the United States and believes that not having health insurance has got nothing to do with studies, you are highly mistaken. The San Jose State University, a part of the California State University clearly mentions on their website that students from overseas are not entitled to register for the classes if they haven’t availed the SJSU health insurance. Students have to buy the plan before classes start. Always verify with the university registrar or the health center regarding what you specifically need before enrolment, just to ensure that you are not late for your classes.

There is No Universal Healthcare in the United States

If you somehow believe that health insurance in the U.S. is identical to that in your native country, this is a big misconception. You need to know one very important thing that medical care doesn’t come for free in the United States.

There are a lot of countries where the government covers the medical costs of the citizens. In the U.S., nothing like that happens. So, remember this before you set foot in the country. You must have your own health insurance to cover the exorbitantly high medical costs.

Health insurance policies in the U.S. are a bit complicated. A health insurance policy tends to work differently as compared to the healthcare system and health insurance in your own country.

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