Has this ever happened to you: You go to the doctor, show your health insurance card, and the receptionist tells you that you’ll need to pay something out of pocket? In the United States, healthcare can be very expensive, and oftentimes US health insurance plans have certain cost sharing measures to help keep the cost of the insurance plan relatively low.
Unlike in other countries where there may be a nationalized healthcare system or you can purchase health insurance that covers almost all of your costs, US health insurance plans typically require that the patient pay a certain amount out of pocket when they seek medical attention.
If you are an international student or traveler, it’s important to be aware of what you will need to pay out of pocket when you use the plan to avoid any surprise bills! If this is a concern, rest assured that there are plans that will cover you without a deductible, coinsurance or copayment.
Common Out of Pocket Expenses
To determine whether you need to pay something out of pocket when you go for medical treatment, you need to look for the deductible, copay and coinsurance on your health insurance policy. If you are not familiar with these terms, they mean the following:
- Deductible – The amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance starts covering your medical expenses. This can be paid once per year or once per condition, depending on the terms of your plan..
- Copay/Copayment – The amount you pay out of pocket each time you go for treatment. Depending on the terms of your plan, this can be paid each time you go to the doctor, urgent care center, or Emergency Room. The copay is usually a small amount, and it’s important to check the policy wording to see if and when this needs to be paid.
- Coinsurance – This is a percentage that both you and the insurance company pay for your covered medical expenses.
Finding A Plan With No Deductible
While many plans require payment of a deductible, copay or coinsurance, there are plans that are available to international students and travelers that have no deductible, and cover you 100% for your eligible expenses while you are abroad. Here are a couple of examples:
Atlas Travel – This plan will allow you to choose your deductible, including a $0 deductible. By choosing a $0 deductible, the urgent copay is also waived. With this plan, if you go inside the network, out of network or if you are outside the US, the plan will then cover you 100% up to your policy maximum. The exception to this is if you go to the Emergency Room in the US (this copay does not apply outside the US) and you are not admitted for an illness (this does not apply to injuries) then you would be responsible for a $200 copay.
Patriot Travel – This plan is available in a Standard and Platinum level, both of which have the option to choose a $0 deductible. Like the Atlas Travel plan, if you choose a $0 deductible the urgent care clinic and walk in clinic copays are waived. If you choose to go inside the network in the US or if you are outside the US, this plan will cover you 100% up to the policy maximum. The exception to this is if you go to the Emergency Room in the US (this deductible does not apply outside the US) and you are not admitted for an illness (this does not apply to injuries) then you would be responsible for a $250 deductible.
Why a $0 Deductible Insurance
If you want a plan that will cover you immediately, then this type of insurance is well-suited for you. It can mean that you won’t need to pay anything out of pocket when you go to a network-doctor, clinic or hospital.
Enrolling in an insurance plan with no deductible may also be a requirement of certain visas around the world. A common example is Spain. Many times Spanish consulates and embassies want to see you have a health insurance plan with no deductible, and both the Atlas Travel and Patriot Travel plans will not only meet this requirement, but they will also give you a visa letter immediately after purchase.
If you are interested in learning more about health and travel plans with no deductible, please contact our customer service representatives who would be happy to go over the plan benefits as well as provide you with a customized quote.