Healthcare in the USA: Information For International Students

From tuition and accommodation fees to club memberships and living expenses, international students in USA institutions are likely to face a number of costs during their time at university.\r\n \r\nOne important expense that many international students overlook is the cost of health insurance. After all, when you’re about to embark on an exciting adventure in a foreign country, the last thing you’re likely to worry about is your health. Thankfully, your time in the US will probably go without any problems but it’s important to be prepared just in case.\r\n\r\nIn this post we’ll explain how healthcare works in the USA and investigate the importance of having health insurance during your time in the country.\r\n\r\n

The US healthcare system

\r\n\r\nUnlike many other countries, the United States does not provide state healthcare. As a result, seeking treatment following an accident or illness can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since most Americans are unable to pay such high fees themselves, many purchase health insurance to minimise the costs and protect themselves from debt and financial struggles. \r\n\r\n

On Campus healthcare

\r\n\r\nMost universities offer basic medical care on campus so that students can access help without having to pay an extortionate bill. Campus healthcare in America can include services such as basic first aid and treatment for minor ailments, and often these services are free. \r\n\r\nSome universities have sophisticated care centres and offer x-rays and access to specialists for a small fee. Different institutions have different facilities and costs so you may wish to check with your potential university before applying. \r\n\r\n

Off campus healthcare

\r\n\r\nWhether you need prescribed medication for an illness, you’ve hurt your ankle while playing a competitive sport, or you’ve been involved in a more serious accident, you’re likely to be charged for the medical attention you receive. The US healthcare system provides the following services off campus:\r\n\r\nNon-emergencies – Private doctors can treat you as a non-emergency patient by appointment. Your appointment will most likely need to be during office hours, typically between 9am and 5pm. \r\nMinor emergencies – In the event of a minor emergency, there are suitable clinics available and these are usually open at weekends as well as during the week. \r\nSerious emergencies – If you’re in need of help following a serious emergency, it’s important to go to the nearest hospital emergency room. \r\n\r\n

Healthcare for international students

\r\nSome American universities and colleges have specialist health insurance plans designed for students. In many cases, it’s mandatory for international students to participate in these university health plans. If your student healthcare plan is optional, it’s strongly advised you opt in so you’re covered in the event of an accident or illness.\r\n\r\nIf your host university doesn’t offer a health insurance policy for students, the university’s International Student Office should be able to help you find a private plan that suits your requirements. Since international students are often only in the US for a few months to a year, many insurance providers have short term plans designed especially for foreign students. \r\n\r\nBefore selecting a plan, check that you’ll be covered for both accidents and illnesses and ensure you’ll be covered for costs incurred in a variety of medical settings. Read the plan thoroughly before signing or agreeing to anything. \r\n\r\nIf you don’t understand everything in a policy or you’re struggling to translate some of the terminology, be sure to ask your university for help. They may have specialist advisors and translators on hand to help you understand the insurance plan in full.\r\n\r\nWould you like to learn more about studying and living in the US? We’re here to help. Please get in touch with the team at IEC Abroad for more information. \r\n\r\n\r\n