March 15th, 2013 by blindblom
In the 2011/2012 academic year there were 435,230 international students studying inside the United Kingdom (UK). This is a 2 percent increase from the 428,225 international students that the UK hosted in the 2010/2011 academic year according to UKCISA. With a growing number of international students comes an increased effort of ensuring that those individuals are safe during their time outside their home country, this means that some students will be eligible for coverage with the National Healthcare System- however, others many not be. International students studying in the UK will need to make sure they understand what insurance options they have available to them when it comes to health insurance. For students who are not eligible for the National Healthcare System, private health insurance will be needed.
Individuals in the United Kingdom utilize the National Healthcare System which they more commonly refer to as the NHS. Depending on the length of time a student stays inside of the UK to study, they may or may not be eligible for coverage. Here is the break down:
Tier 4 General Student Visa (more than 6 months): students have access to the NHS and may need to only supplement with private health insurance for international students in the United Kingdom
Tier 4 General Student Visa (less than 6 months): students will not have access to the NHS and will need to find private health insurance for international students in the United Kingdom
Student Visitor Visa- students will not have access to the NHS and will need to find private health insurance
Those who will need to find private health insurance for international students in the United Kingdom have many options. Three popular choices when it comes to choosing a reliable plan include the Student Secure, the ISL Euro and the Atlas Travel. Each of these plans will provide coverage for doctor visits, hospitalizations, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains as well as many of their own unique benefits and currency payment options. With these three options you are able to find the plan with the benefit needs, currency of choice and budget that will meet your needs.
If you would like assistance finding international health insurance for your time as an international student in the UK, contact one of our agents today.
Group of people learning English as a foreign language in the United Kingdom photo courtesy of Shutterstock
March 8th, 2013 by blindblom
With Spring break just around the corner, many students will be planning trips to fill their time away from class. If you are one of many international students that plans on taking a journey, make sure you are aware of the March 2013 travel warnings listed by the U.S. Department of State and avoid travel to countries during their period of risk when necessary. Below are the travel warnings issued within the month of February.
Travel Warning in Iraq- Issued February 25, 2013:
This travel warning is to replace the warning issued August 9, 2012 and to remind individuals that travel to Iraq remains dangerous. Ongoing threats in Iraq include kidnapping and terrorist violence. Additionally, the ability for the embassy to respond to U.S. citizens facing difficulty within Iraq is very limited. U.S. citizens can reach the U.S. Embassy in Iraq during an emergency by calling 0770-443-1286.
Travel Warning in Algeria- Issued February 19, 2013:
A travel warning for Algeria still remains in effect; this replaces the warning dated January 19, 2013. Individuals in Algeria need to evaluate their situation and any risks involved to their personal safety. Although major cities are policed, there is still a high level of terrorism including kidnapping, bombings, false roadblocks and ambushes in areas east and south of Algiers. Additionally, the Department of State lifted the authorized departure status for U.S. Embassy personnel and their dependents on February 18, 2013. The U.S. Embassy in Algeria is located at 5 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi, in the El Biar district of Algiers.
For more information on the March 2013 Travel Warnings and past warnings around the world visit the U.S. Department of State. Individuals travelling around the world are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
A Yellow Diamond Shaped Road Sign photo courtesy of Shutterstock
March 1st, 2013 by blindblom
In the 2011/12 academic year there was a new record high for the number of international students studying inside the United States, with a grand total of 764,495 students. This number is a 5.7 percent increase from the previous year according to the “Open Doors” report. Of these international students 8,232 were from France. France ranked in 15th place when it came to the number of international students that other countries send to the US.
If you are one of the many international students inside the US from France, you will more than likely need to find adequate health insurance for your time abroad. There are multiple options available when it comes to finding international student insurance for French students. While it is great to have many options, it can often be overwhelming as well. It is best to find a few great plan options, then compare them side-by-side and find the coverage that will meet your needs.
French students will want to begin their hunt by researching student health insurance plans. One popular option when it comes to international student insurance for French students is the Student Secure plan. This is a great option for students who need coverage for up to four years while studying or while on OPT. Since this plan has many comprehensive benefits like maternity, mental health, repatriation of remains, emergency medical evacuation and organized sports coverage it will also meet many international student school insurance requirements.
Another popular option is the Atlas Travel plan. This plan is beneficial to French students who will be inside the US for one year or less and who are looking for a flexible plan that will fit their budget. The Atlas Travel plan will provide reliable coverage when needed most.
If you would like more information on international student insurance for French students or tips on which of these plans is best for you, contact one of our licensed agents today.
February 22nd, 2013 by blindblom
Participating in Optical Practical Training (OPT) is an exciting and useful opportunity for international students, giving them the chance to gain real-world work experience in a new culture. As beneficial as partaking in OPT may be, there can be a few hurdles involved as well. One common setback that many students on OPT come across is finding international student health insurance that they are eligible for while on OPT. Many student health insurance plans have an eligibility requirement that the purchaser must be a full time student at a college or university and not in OPT status.
However, there are plans available for those on OPT status. Individuals who need health insurance while on OPT often purchase the Student Secure plan or the Atlas Travel plan.
Those who are on OPT and maintain their F1 visa status can purchase the Student Secure plan and enjoy the comprehensive benefits the plan has to offer like maternity, mental health, doctor’s visits, hospitalization, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. This plan also works well for an individual on a financial budget since it allows a monthly payment option.
Another popular option for those needing health insurance while on OPT is the Atlas Travel plan. This plan is great for individuals who need coverage for less than one year and are in need of core medical coverage such as hospitalization, doctor’s visits, prescriptions, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. The Atlas Travel plan allows the purchaser to choose their coverage amount and which deductible they would like. This provides coverage flexibility along with cost flexibility. More importantly, this plan does not have a student status eligibility requirement.
Finding adequate health insurance while on OPT doesn’t have to be a challenge. Find out more on the Student Secure or Atlas Travel plan and if you still have questions please contact one of our licensed agents for assistance.
February 15th, 2013 by blindblom
As doctor’s often recommend, exercise is a key ingredient for a healthy life. It can help maintain blood pressure, lower the risk of osteoporosis, increase flexibility, keep obesity at bay and assist in warding off depression, just to name a few benefits. While coping with the stress of an international transition and new classes, it’s beneficial to start exercising while being an international student! Here are just a few ways that you can easily make exercise a pleasant part of your life.
Find a Workout Buddy:
A great way to start exercising while being an international student is to begin with a partner. Without someone else counting on you to meet them at the gym, it makes skipping a training session much easier. Having a workout buddy will help keep you on track. Plus, being able to socialize takes some of the “work” out of a workout.
Sign up for a 5k:
Not only does participation in a 5k or marathon benefit a cause, it’s a great personal motivator. Races are the perfect time to create goals and actually meet them. Nobody wants to be unprepared and suffer the embarrassing consequences of not being able to finish a race. More than likely you will be able to push yourself harder than if you don’t have a certain distance or time goal lined out. This is also a great way to get involved with the community and learn more about your new environment.
Pace Yourself…Beyond the Treadmill:
Working out will require you to pace yourself with your overall routine. If you are not used to working out, don’t max out the bench press on your first day. It can be tempting to try and push yourself to the max in the beginning to speed up results, but it could only result in an injury. The trick to making working out a part of your life routine is to take things slow and find a lasting approach. It’s OK to take a day off to rest. To help avoid injury it’s also suggested that you don’t increase your training routine more than 10 percent each week.
Join a Team:
Even if your sports skills won’t land you a spot on your school’s intercollegiate team, you can still participate in intermural sports. Many schools have intramural sports teams set up for students to enjoy on a less competitive and more social level. This is the perfect opportunity to establish new friendships and start exercising while being an international student. Just make sure you have the necessary protection before you get on the court or field, such as knee pads, mouth guards, and international health insurance that includes sports coverage.
*Individuals should always check with their doctor before beginning any workout routine.
February 8th, 2013 by blindblom
Understanding health insurance in the USA can be confusing for international students and scholars. Especially for those who come from a country where private health insurance is not a popular option.
There is a large amount of research that can be made when trying to find a plan and piece together everything that health insurance in the USA consists of. For example: what is the difference between private and public insurance, what is a deductible, what is emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. Between the transition of coming to the US, starting new classes, and trying to experience a new culture, many students or scholars don’t have extra time to research which international health insurance plan is their best option. Now, students and scholars who are trying to find a plan to meet either their school insurance requirements or the federal J1 visa requirements have a starter guide to quickly find a plan:
Insurance to Meet School Requirements:
School requirements can vary greatly from one school to the next. This is why our school requirements database is helpful when it comes to finding a plan that will meet the requirements that you need. See which plan level will work for you and have access to your school’s waiver form.
Insurance to Meet J1 Visa Requirements:
The J1 visa insurance requirements are standard across the board. This means those travelling to the US on a J1 visa will need to have an insurance plan that will meet the following:
- Medical Benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
- Repatriation of Remains in the amount of $7,500
- Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000
- A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
- A policy underwritten by an insurance carrier with:
1. an AM Best rating of “A-” or above
2. an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd (ISI) rating of “A-I” or above
3. a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-” or above
4. or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above
The Atlas Travel plan will meet each of these requirements and provide you with coverage past what is required for your J1 visa. The best part is that you don’t need to have full-time student status to purchase this plan!
If you still have questions about which plan you need to purchase or regarding health insurance in the USA, contact one of our licensed agents today.
*Male teacher explaining a subject to his students photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
February 1st, 2013 by blindblom
Although insurance is not federally required for F2 visa holders, it is a good idea to have coverage since health costs inside the US can be expensive. However, finding insurance for a F2 visa can sometimes be a hunt. Many international student insurance plans will have certain eligibility requirements stating that the covered individual needs to be a full time student or have a F1 visa. This can create a roadblock for the F2 dependents of students.
Although difficult to find, individuals on an F2 visa have many options available when looking for a plan. Here are just a few:
More than likely the individual who is on an F1 visa will also purchase health insurance. When making the purchase, whether it is to fulfill a school requirement or just to be prepared for the worst, it is important to check if dependents are allowed on the plan. The Student Secure plan, for example, allows those on an F1 visa to purchase the plan and have a F2 spouse or child added to the plan.
- Purchase a major medical plan:
If purchasing a plan as a dependent is not an option and the individual needs insurance for a F2 visa for one year or longer, purchasing an international major medical plan is a great option. Often these plans do not have student status requirements and will provide comprehensive coverage.
F2 visa holders who need coverage for less than a year will want to explore their international travel medical plan options. Typically a main requirement of these plans is for the covered individual to purchase coverage for outside of their home country. That means there is not a student status required or a full year purchase needed.
You can find out more online on how to purchase insurance for a F2 visa or contact an agent for further information.
*Teenage couple photo on Shutterstock
January 25th, 2013 by blindblom
The US peak of flu season is here and it’s not passing by quietly. It has already become an epidemic according to the CDC and has killed 29 children/teens thus far.
International students especially need to ensure they are fighting the flu as best as possible. Attending class every day, living in close quarters and visiting the dining halls frequently can all contribute to the quick spread of this illness. If you develop one or more of the symptoms below, it could be the flu. Although most college students do not develop serious cases which require a doctor’s visit, this will depend on your personal health situation and strain of flu you develop. This year has produced a strain that tends to make the infected more ill than other strains. It is also advised to visit your doctor for further evaluation if you catch the flu and have a condition like kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, blood disorders, heart problems or weak immune system that could cause increased complications.
A big part of fighting the flu means knowing what symptoms to be on the lookout for:
- Fever of 100 °F or higher
- Sore throat
- Sore Muscles
- Diarrhea and vomiting
If you are in the lucky bunch of international students who has not yet caught the flu, there are a few things that you can do to continue to keep fighting the flu:
Wash your hands frequently: Soap and water work best when possible. Ensure that you wash for at least 20 seconds. Carry hand sanitizer for when this is not an option.
Don’t touch your face: Touching your eyes, nose or mouth after you have touched someone or something with the flu virus can potentially lead to you catching the virus also.
Do not eat or drink after others: Even if they appear healthy, it is best to not share these items since an infected individual is contagious one day before symptoms even appear.
Use a tissue: Use a new one each time you sneeze or cough and be sure to throw it away immediately.
If you are in the not-so-lucky bunch and already have multiple symptoms, grab your international student health insurance card and visit the doctor if needed.
Want to ensure you have necessary coverage before you fall ill? Find out more about health insurance or contact an agent for assistance.
*Attractive brunette girl got a cold photo courtesy of Shutterstock
January 11th, 2013 by blindblom
When it comes to finding international insurance, two popular terms that shoppers will come across frequently are emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. There are many country and school requirements
that state individuals need to have both emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains in their insurance plan. To make the process of finding an international insurance plan as simple as possible, you will want to know the difference between emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains before you begin the international insurance hunt.
In the process of looking at the difference between emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains, we will first look at emergency medical evacuation. Emergency medical evacuation occurs when an individual has a life-threatening emergency and needs care at a facility immediately. The evacuation may occur by air or ground. Additionally, if the individual is at a facility that is unable to provide the medically necessary treatment, emergency medical evacuation may occur if recommended by the attending physician.
Repatriation of remains is another term that often causes confusion. This term is referring to the transportation of mortal bodily remains to the principal residence of the covered individual. Usually, this is back to the insured’s family in their home country. Depending on the location of the home country and host country of the insured individual, this will be done by air or ground. Typically insurance plans include this benefit when the covered individual has a covered illness or injury that results in death.
There are a few key items included when looking at the difference between emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. However, one main difference is that repatriation of remains refers to an individual who is already deceased, whereas emergency medical evacuation refers to a living individual who still is in need of medical assistance. Even if not required by their school or host country to obtain coverage for these benefits, students will want to make sure they have a plan that includes them since both of these instances can rack up high medical bills.
If you need a plan that includes emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains, contact one of our licensed agents to find a plan that best meets your needs.
*Helicoptor taking off photo courtesy of Shutterstock
January 4th, 2013 by blindblom
The United States continues to be a popular destination for students from India to become an international student in. In the 2011/2012 academic year, there were more than 100,000 international students in the US from India, according to the latest “Open Doors” report.
After an international student graduates they have the option to participate in Optional Practical Training (OPT). This period allows international students to gain valuable work experience inside the US without having to change their student visa to a work visa like an H-1B. However, an individual who has purchased an insurance plan that has a full-time student eligibility requirement might find themselves in a bind once they graduate.
OPT insurance for students from India can be difficult to find. One popular plan option OPT insurance for students from India is the Student Secure plan. As long as students maintain their valid F1 visa status, they are able to have coverage on this plan during their OPT.
Individuals are typically on OPT for one year or less, eligible individuals can purchase the Student Secure plan for one month up to 364 days. Since it is a renewable plan, current students from India who need immediate coverage that will last through their OPT can purchase the Student Secure plan and be covered for up to four years. Additionally, many schools have certain requirements that students must meet with their international student insurance plan. To find out what your school insurance requirements are and if the Student Secure plan will meet, visit our school requirements database.
If you would like more information on purchasing OPT insurance for students from India please contact one of our licensed agents today for more information.
Students writing notes under a tree photo courtesy of Shutterstock.