International Student Health Insurance/Health Care Information

Copyright International Student Voice Magazine 2016

Some of the best healthcare in the world can be found in the United States, but it is expensive and can be hard to understand.

There is no “universal” healthcare in the United States, also referred to as “national” healthcare.  Americans purchase their own insurance with a private insurance company either on their own or through an employer.  As an international student, you will need to do the same.  Either on your own or through your institution.

If you visit a hospital, doctor, or clinic the U.S. government has no role in covering the cost of your visit.  It is up to you or your insurance company to pay the bills!

Even if you have insurance, you may still end up paying some of the costs out of your pocket.  The insurance plan will probably cover the majority of the costs, but you will still have to pay money out of your pocket during these visits.  It’s just the way the system is in the States.

View this helpful video which will show you how to prepare for your arrival in the U.S, how the U.S healthcare system works, and how you should seek medical care appropriately if you become sick or injured.

International Student Stories  

If you’re still not convinced of the value of health insurance, read these real-life stories from international students:

Chuchu Xu, China

“It was my second year in the United States when I chipped my front tooth in an accident.  I went to the Student Health Services on campus, showed the receptionist my insurance ID card, and met with a nurse, who suggest me take a tetanus shot and visit an off-campus dental center later to get further treatment.

After I got a tetanus shot, the nurse wrote me a written transcription of medication which I obtained at the SHS pharmacy. The Tetanus shot was $79 and the prescription charge was $80, but because the SHS was a preferred provider under the insurance company, both of the charges were reduced.  I only paid $10 for the prescription and the insurance covered the rest.

About a week later, I went to the off-campus dental center to get my chipped front tooth replaced.  After a two-month treatment, I could finally smile with my mouth open again.  But since my insurance didn’t cover the dental part, I had to pay the total cost all by myself.”

Total Dental Cost: $4980!

Costs covered dental exam, dental x-ray, root canal, crown materials and treatment, dental implant, and other associated expenses.

SUMMARY:  Health insurance helped cover the majority of the cost for the tetanus shot, but since DENTAL is not covered in most insurance plans, Chuchu had to pay out of pocket.

Tomas Uribe, Colombia 

“It all started on a sunny Fall morning when it happened.  We used to meet up every Sunday to randomly team up and play some soccer, or old-­fashioned football as some call it.  Imagining a slow motion sequence in a very Kill Bill fashion, I jumped to receive the ball with my chest in a very clumsy manner, and knowing my fate didn’t look very attractive in that fraction of a second, I landed on my right leg, amplifying an indescribable cracking sound all the way up to my inner ear, letting me know my anterior cruciate ligament was completely torn.

It’s worth saying that two months before this event, I waived my school’s recommended health insurance due to the cost, and bought a cheaper, more accessible international student health insurance.  At a third of the price, I was covered with this new insurance and my school accepted this equivalency.  My school’s health services office is very convenient, and thankfully, they gave me crutches, painkillers, and several phone numbers to get in touch with a knee specialist.  One by one, doctors informed me they didn’t take my insurance, or that my coverage was too low.  Frustration was the only adjective that could define that Monday morning.

Finally, one doctor accepted me (and recommended my future surgeon). Summing it up, I had a successful ACL reconstruction surgery, excellent medical attention, and have a great physical therapist. I was lucky, given my situation as an international student; since every doctor acknowledged the difficult situation I was in. I also found out about an emergency fund my school offers to students’ special needs. And last but not least, the incredible support of family and friends.”

SUMMARY:  Though Tomas had insurance, most doctors refused to treat him because his insurance coverage was too low.  Luckily, he found a doctor who accepted him as a patient but he still had to pay several costs.  “If any advice can be offered, do not take your health for granted.”

Wheaton College requires all international students to enroll in the college sponsored Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plan.  Review your plan benefits at Gallagher Student Health.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact Cynthia Maricle, Associate Director, Student Health Services, at 508-286-8210 or maricle_cynthia@wheatoncollege.edu.View this helpful video which will show you how to prepare for your arrival in the U.S, how the U.S healthcare system works, and how you should seek medical care appropriately if you become sick or injured.

students

 

Wheaton College requires all international students to enroll in the college sponsored Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plan.  Review your policy at Gallagher Student Health.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact Cynthia Maricle, Associate Director, Student Health Services, at 508-286-8210 or maricle_cynthia@wheatoncollege.edu.

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