More is always better, right? When it comes to the number of insurance plans you have, that’s not always the case. If you’re considering buying two (or more) health insurance plans here are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
Why consider buying two insurance plans?
A few common scenarios as to why international students and scholars feel the need to buy more than one plan include the following:
1. A plan was already purchased but will not meet all federal or school requirements.
2. You don’t think the plan options available to you have enough coverage.
3. The plan that you have doesn’t cover a condition that just developed.
Let’s dive into each of these situations in greater detail.
- A plan was already purchased but will not meet all federal or school requirements.
First and foremost, check the cancellation policy of the plan you already have if it doesn’t meet your needs. Some plans will allow you to even cancel for a full refund if you do so before the start date, so check the cancellation policy and check it as soon as possible. If cancelling your plan isn’t an option, then exploring other plans that specifically cover the benefit you need is. However, it’s important that you do not buy two primary plans, or two secondary plans (plans that are run after the primary) that have the same coverage- this could cause problems down the road if you need to file a claim. For example, perhaps you’re trying to meet the federal J visa insurance requirements and your current plan does not have emergency medical evacuation or repatriation of remains coverage. Since your current plan will cover your other medical needs (like hospitalization) you’ll want to find a supplemental, stand-alone plan to cover the evacuation and repatriation.
- You don’t think the plan options available to you have enough coverage.
If you find a plan that you like and are wondering if you can buy two of them so you can double the coverage- unfortunately not. The same is true if you find two different primary or two different secondary plans that you like and want to buy. If you do find two plans that you like it’s fine to purchase them if one plan is a primary plan (meaning it’s the plan that the provider will run first), and the other plan is a secondary plan (meaning it’s the plan that the provider will run if there are any remaining expenses).
- The plan that you have doesn’t cover a condition that just developed.
If you already have a condition, whether officially diagnosed or just symptoms of, it’s a pre-existing condition. This means if you buy a plan specifically to cover a pre-existing condition you need to make sure it covers pre-existing without a waiting period. Keep in mind that it will be difficult to find a plan that covers pre-existing conditions without a waiting period and plans that do will be very expensive. It’s best to buy a plan that can cover potential items (like a sports injury or a pregnancy) before they happen.
If needed, having two insurance plans is an available option if one plan is a primary and the other a secondary. However, it’s best to find one solid plan that has the potential to cover what you need.