How to choose the Best Health Insurance Plan

How to choose the best health insurance plan: Once you have made up your mind to go abroad for higher studies, of the many things that need to be taken care of, a health insurance plan sits right there at the top. There are ample reasons why a health insurance is necessary, with the number […]

How to choose the best health insurance plan: Once you have made up your mind to go abroad for higher studies, of the many things that need to be taken care of, a health insurance plan sits right there at the top. There are ample reasons why a health insurance is necessary, with the number one objective, of course, being to have recourse to inexpensive treatment; remember, without a health insurance, you may be forced to fork out ridiculous sums of money, as health care is pretty costly in the top study-abroad destinations. Also, apart from your personal reason to have health insurance, most universities across the world actually mandate it as part of the admission requirement. So, you practically have no alternative to buying health insurance. The question then is how to choose the best health insurance plan.

It is not that there are no affordable health insurance plans out there, but you have to be smart enough to realize that there are also certain conditions that need to be met by international students. For example, if you are applying to Harvard University and want to purchase a private health insurance plan, the plan must provide comprehensive health coverage throughout the period of your study, and include preventive and primary care, emergency services, and surgical services. Or else, you may go for the on-campus health insurance University Student Health Program.

Students also need to remember that health insurance policies across countries aren’t homogenous, and there can be subtle to substantial differences. So, every country must be looked at with a different set of eyes. Here we bring you top health insurance tips that will help you tackle all the difficult questions regarding how to choose the best health insurance plan.

Top health insurance tipspoints to consider when buying a health insurance

Don’t get awed by the prospect of buying an insurance plan as it isn’t going to help. The following pointers, though, will. So, read on!

Begin the insurance selection well in advance: It is a thumb rule that you can follow almost blindly. The logic is keeping things for too late may leave little time to do the required research. It happens many times that pressed for time, students end up buying plans that don’t match the requirements set by the university or they end up buying very expensive plans, when cheaper options were only a phone call away. Also, when doing research keep in mind that there is there no such thing as the best healthinsurance plan that fits all countries and universities, since each country has its own set of requirements and regulations.

Check if there is a mandatory insurance plan offered by your university: If the university you are applying to have a mandatory insurance plan that you have to buy for registering for class, in that case there is no point buying private insurance plans or wasting time looking for one.

The point of having a mandatory insurance plan is to provide uniform and comprehensive coverage to the international students. But the downside of such a plan is they are more expensive than domestic plans. Like ICICI Lombard claims to offer the same benefits and coverage for one-third the rate of on-campus university premiums abroad. Considering how cheap domestic plans can be, it is only logical that you get in touch with your institute and enquire if there is a waiver option. If there is one, you can excuse yourself from buying the expensive on-campus plan and instead go for a less expensive domestic plan, one that provides similar coverage and benefits.

 

If there is a waiver option, you can either buy a domestic plan or contact a local agent in your area of study to buy the private plan.

In case of private health plan, ensure that it meets visa requirements: The best health insurance plan for you will be the one that complies with the visa requirements of the particular country. To elucidate the point, if you are applying to study in the US, there are different requirements under F1 visa and J1 visa norms. Like, if you are on F1 visa, you aren’t restricted much by federal standards, but instead if you hold J1 visa, there are a long list of government rules that must be followed, including coverage for evacuation in times of emergency and repatriation.

 

Comparing insurance plans may help you find the best health insurance plan: If you are free to buy your own private plan, make a list of health insurance plans that you think fit the bill. Then start comparing them point for point, be it the cost of the plan or the extent of coverage. Just like comparing cost of study in different countries, you can with a little effort compare and figure out the best plan!

Also, for figuring out which one is an affordable health insurance plan, you need to compare the overall package. Here are some points that you must focus on to select right insurance plan.

Eligibility Whether the plan is accepted by your university
Benefits and exclusions, if any Check the nature and extent of coverage
Flexibility in payment options and pricing The payment options –monthly, yearly?

Also, how costly is the plan?

Coverage amounts for each benefit Are there any internal caps for certain illnesses
Is the plan or insurance service provider recognized globally or reputed enough? To be one the safer side
Cancellation policy What if the university refuses to accept the plan?

Stay away from expensive plans, as there are many inexpensive options available

International student health insurance is most of the times affordable, which has to do with the fact that students are typically young and in good health. But while it shouldn’t be difficult to find a plan that is reasonably priced, do also consider points like if there are dependents involved and when the period of coverage changes how the rates vary. Generally the best health insurance plans are those that have all the details clearly explained and allow you to pay the premiums in installments. Here is sample insurance offered by Allianz Global Assistance to help you understand how insurance looks like. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is the health insurance policy students have to buy when studying in Australia.

Cost sample from Allianz Global Assistance:

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) price selection by month (Essential coverage effective 1 January, 2015)

Months duration Single Dual Family Multi Family

1

$54

$142

$211

2

$107

$283

$422

3

$161

$425

$633

4

$214

$566

$844

Studying abroad brings along with a long list of expenses, beginning with expenses related to admission requirements like IELTS/TOEFL and GRE/GMAT. So, every penny you save will lower the financial burden on you. Luckily, while popular study-abroad destinations make you pay in the form of health insurance, the good thing is they also have work opportunities lined up for you that you can exploit to pay off not only insurance bills, but part of your tuition fee as well.

Read the policy guidelines thoroughly

Finally, if you don’t want to regret to discover that a particular ailment isn’t covered because you didn’t bother to go through the policy, read every point thoroughly, especially those mentioned in fine prints. Points mentioned in fine prints are notorious for including conditions and exceptions, so sit with your policy agent and get everything cleared. To select right health insurance plan you have to put in some effort, and you need to imbibe that. Also, implementation of the top health insurance tips outlined here is the key to have positive results.

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