International students studying in the United States may or may not have access to health insurance through their university. Temporary health insurance in the form of short-term medical can be a good option for such individuals because they can be tailored to suit an individual student’s financial and medical needs as well as the time period her or she will be living and studying in the country.
Here are five top advantages temporary health insurance plans offer international students—American students, too—and tips for maximizing your coverage.
1. Coverage period options
Whether you are visiting the U.S. as a student for a month, a summer, or a school year, temporary medical plans can accommodate. Coverage lasts from 30 to 364 days depending on state duration limits. When your policy ends, you can typically reapply.
Pro tip: Carefully consider exactly how long you need coverage. Because short-term health insurance plans are designed to be temporary, if you apply for another STM policy it will be treated as entirely new and not a continuation of your previous coverage. Any illnesses or conditions from the previous coverage period will be considered preexisting and will not be covered under the newpolicy. You will also be subject to a new deductible and coinsurance.
2. Easy enrollment
Getting a quote and applying for a temporary health insurance plan takes less than 10 minutes and can be done online. You do not need a Social Security number to apply for STM plans from healtheseals.com. Typically, you will be asked to provide your date of birth and address, select a plan design, and answer a few questions related to your eligibility for coverage. Typically 24 hours after submitting your application—approval and your policy documents will be emailed to you. Coverage can begin as soon as the following day.
If you have a pre-existing condition, they will likely be subject to coverage restrictions. If you have serious health conditions, it is unlikely you will qualify for STM.
Pro tip: Read your policy documents and understand your benefits so there are no surprises later on. Familiarize yourself with the deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocketmaximum you’ve selected. Look at the plan’s covered expenses, which are limited by the usual, reasonable, and customary charge as well as any benefit-specific maximum. Know what items and services are excluded from coverage. Be aware of the precertification requirements, coverage length and coverage termination terms.
3. Flexibility to choose
Temporary health insurance plans not only allow you todetermine the length of coverage you need, they also offer the freedom of provider choice. These plans do not require you to use network providers, which means you can visit the doctor, clinic or hospital you prefer. Keep in mindthat any services and supplies are subject to the usual, reasonable, and customary charge. This is the lesser of the amount usually charged by the provider for the service or supply given or the average charge for the service or supply in the locality where it is received.
Pro tip: Save more money by using PPO networks. While healthedeals.com’s short term medical plans do not require you to visit network providers, you do have access to national preferred provider organizations. These networks provide medical services and supplies at a discount to those covered by our plans.
4. Affordable rates
An STM plan for a college student can run anywhere from $35 to $120 per month depending on the plan selected, in addition to factors such as the student’s age, gender and location. You also have options when it comes to your deductible, coinsurance percentage and out-of-pocket amount.
Pro tip: When selecting a plan, carefully consider your health and financial needs. Research your options beforehand, and know what makes the most sense for you. Be honest about your medical needs and the coverage you can afford.
For instance, if you are in good health and really need coverage for worst-case scenarios, you might select a high deductible, coinsurance and out of pocket, which will result in a lower monthly premium. Just know that if you do pick a $5,000 deductible, your coverage will not kick in until you reach that amount. If you’ve historically been one to visit the doctor with frequency, you may want to select a lower deductible along withlower coinsurance and out of pocket for expenses after the deductible has been met; this will result in higher monthly premiums.
5. Peace of mind
Temporary health insurance plans do not cover preexisting medical conditions; however, they do offer catastrophic coverage. They cover accidents and other expensive medical bills up to the policy maximum—also known as the coverage period maximum—of the plan you choose. Secure STM offered on this site has a $2 million coverage period maximum. You can expect the maximum for most short term medical plans to be somewhere around $1 million to $2 million dollars. If you apply for a new temporary medical plan when your first plan ends, you will start over with a coverage period maximum.
Pro tip: Know what you are buying. If you have any doubt about the coverage you are about to apply for or have questions, just ask! You can contact a local independent insurance agent who can assist you with temporary health insurance options, but you can just as easily shop online and contact the carrier you are purchasing from directly via phone or chat. He or she will be happy to personally assist you.
Remember: Temporary health insurance can be a great option for any student, especially those who’ve reached age 26 and are no longer eligible to remain on their parents’ health insurance and recent grads still looking for a job with benefits.