Tips For Making Insurance Plan Selection Easier


ISO Customer Care | Jun 30, 2023 Insurance

We understand – healthcare in the United States is not the easiest thing to comprehend. Those who come to the U.S. as an international student may not be immediately familiar with how to receive medical treatments and services, let alone pay for them. The American healthcare system is notorious for having inflated costs, especially for those uninsured, so here are some recommendations for easing your worries when choosing insurance.

Things To Become Familiar With

The most daunting thing for international students to understand when choosing insurance is all the unfamiliar terminology. Though intimidating, it is very important to understand these terms as they will help you immensely in identifying how medical costs are divided between you and your insurer. Some things to look out for include the deductible and copay amounts, the plan’s coinsurance rate, and any out-of-pocket maximums that are set by the plan. For an overview of all basic terminology to become familiar with, review our insurance terminology article.

Additionally, international students should look out for any exclusions that are a part of their plan, as these are events that are not covered. Plans that look lucrative to a person may be hiding an exclusion for the one reason that they want to be insured for, which would then defeat the main purpose of their plan.

One final thing to look out for are the providers networks that your plan will have access to. These networks usually have specific providers that work with them, and you can find them by visiting your insurer or network’s website, which should provide features to find doctors and hospitals within your local area.

Overall, you should never purchase an insurance plan without first reviewing the plan brochure and any other supporting documents. Insurance plans can be a substantial investment, so you should not commit to purchasing one without being fully aware of what you are purchasing.

Understand the tradeoff between cost and plan benefits

When choosing an insurance plan, you will see that the more your plan covers, the more you will be asked to pay. So if you want to purchase a plan that covers more services or has lower deductibles/copays, you will have to be prepared to pay more up front for the plan premium.

For most international students, being young and less inclined to get hurt/sick does play as an advantage as you may have more flexibility to choose a less comprehensive plan that saves you money. But due to excessive costs of health care in the US, it is a necessity to make sure you have some level of coverage to protect yourself in case of unexpected injury/sickness.

Though price will be a driving factor, students should strongly consider any ailments or conditions that may be currently affecting them and not be hesitant to pay more up front to get them covered if needed. For example, if you have a persistent medical condition, you know you will need to get medication and/or be treated for it, you should find insurance that covers pre-existing conditions.

See What Your School Has to Offer

Almost all schools in the US will have an insurance plan set up that international students will automatically be enrolled in. In the interest of protecting their students, schools will often seek the most comprehensive plans possible, offering services such as pre-existing condition coverage, wellness/preventive care, and dental/vision coverage. Though these benefits are great to have, it also is a driving reason students can pay up to $2360 on average for insurance. These benefits will have little value for students who are healthy and can have most of these services rendered for a much lower rate in their home country before arriving in the US.

Luckily, you will often have the option to waive out of the sponsored plan if you show comparable coverage elsewhere, which allows you to find a more affordable option. It is always good to review the requirements your school has for alternative insurance prior to purchasing elsewhere.

ISO is an excellent example of an alternative plan option for international students, as we provide plans that are affordable and are guaranteed to meet your school’s requirements. While you may want to save money on insurance by not purchasing a plan, remember that injuries and illnesses are never planned out – they simply happen, so choosing even an alternative insurance plan is in your best interest.

Everyone will have a different process and intention when it comes to determining the right insurance for them. While plans can be rigid in what they offer, you will be able to find one flexible enough to meet your exact needs, whether that be for price or for benefits. Having an insurance plan is much better than paying for your doctor’s visits out of pocket, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

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About ISO Student Health Insurance

Founded in 1958, ISO prides itself on being the leader in providing international students with affordable insurance plans. Administered by former and current international students, we are able to assist our member with multilingual customer service in Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, and more. ISO serves over 3,200 schools/colleges and more than 150,000 insured students every year.

For more information, please visit www.isoa.org and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn.

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