International students in the U.S. need health insurance coverage. You have to buy
it yourself. OCC does not buy it for you. Remember that health insurance is a cost
listed on your I-20 document, so you should have money for it.
WHAT IS HEALTH INSURANCE?
Private insurance companies are paid money (premiums) from very large groups of people
and individuals. If a member of this group has an accident or illness, the doctor
and the hospital bills are paid from the money collected.
WHY DO I NEED IT?
You are responsible for your health care bills.
Health care in the U.S. is extremely expensive. An ambulance ride can be $800. Standard
childbirth can be $9,000. If you don't have health insurance, some hospitals and doctors
will not treat you, or they will ask for full payment at the time of service. You
cannot buy most student health insurance after you are already sick or injured. The
U.S. government does not pay for any health care you need. Nor does OCC. Remember that you had to show you had money to pay for health insurance before you
were given an I-20.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a U.S. federal government law. However, many student
health plans do not have to comply with ACA.
CHOOSING A PLAN
Read all student health insurance brochures very carefully and understand the coverage
and exclusions. With most plans, the premium amount (cost) will vary according to
your age. Student health insurance will NOT cover all of your medical expenses.
If you are a woman, choose a plan with maternity/pregnancy coverage. Less expensive
plans do not include it. If you have a pre-existing condition (have already been
diagnosed with a condition that needs treatment), choose a plan that is ACA compliant.
KEEPING COSTS DOWN
Do not go to the hospital emergency room if you have a condition that can be treated
at a clinic. Make sure that you go to providers authorized by your insurer. Get
a flu vaccine each fall. Plan to have routine care or dental care when you visit
your home country.
SUGGESTED PLANS You may choose whatever plan best suits your needs. OCC is not endorsing these plans,
but only suggesting them. They are not perfect, but you must buy health insurance!
Choose Budget, Select or Elite coverage, not Smart. Smart has minimal benefits and does not cover pregnancy. These plans do have pre-existing
condition rules, and some caps on specific types of charges.
2. Compass Student Health Insurance
Compass Benchmark and Benchmark Plus have some ACA features like no pre-existing condition rule, some coverage for preventative
health care, and no maximum limit the plans will pay. The deductible is annual rather
than per sickness/illness. There are some co-pays included.
Do not buy Compass Care. The coverage is very low and does not cover pregnancy.