NHS Visa Insurance Fee Impact for International Students Studying in the UK

November 21st, 2019 by Ross Mason

The United Kingdom (UK) draws international students from all corners of the globe, and for good reason as it has one of the best education systems in the world. However, over the last few years, the number of international students coming into the UK has struggled from a mixture of Brexit uncertainty, increase in terrorism and changes in visa laws. 

If you are an international student looking to study in the UK, one aspect that you will not want to overlook is your healthcare. The UK does have a nationalized healthcare system (otherwise known as the NHS), but over the course of the last 10 to 15 years, the NHS has battled with spiralling costs and overuse, which has led to the government to start to clamp down on who can access it. It was even estimated that health tourism and abuse of the NHS cost the system £110 to £280 million per year! 

Immigration Act 2014

Under the Conservative government of David Cameroon, a new immigration bill was introduced that came into force in April 2015 that required all those applying for a visa to pay a health surcharge as part of their application. Originally set at £200, the new surcharge was to try and plug the gap that had been left by abuse of the system. The new fee then further increased late last year, so now the fee is set at £400 for all visa applications, with a discounted fee of £300 for students. 

Who does this impact?

The health insurance surcharge is only charged in the following instances:

  • National from outside the European Economy Area (EEA)
  • Studying for more than 6 months

If you are studying for less than 6 months, you will not need to pay the fee, however you will also not get any access to the UK’s national healthcare system. What this means to you, is that you will either need to purchase travel insurance, or the NHS will charge you 150% of the actual cost incurred to the NHS. 

This also brings up a whole new question about what happens post-Brexit, if that ever happens. That is a question that we cannot really answer with any conviction, and it will be up to the final Brexit deal as to what that will look like. We do know that in the short term, if there is a Brexit deal, there will be a hiatus period of about 1 to 2 years where things will continue to run as usual while laws are passed. So there will not be any major changes to this while Brexit goes through.

This is not insurance!

What is really important to remember is that this is NOT INSURANCE. For students coming into the UK that are paying the fee, this will simply give you access to the NHS for medical treatment, just like any other citizen of the UK. 

There are a number of things that you need to make sure you keep in mind:

  1. Waiting Times – the NHS has a number of excellent features, and while it does provide every citizen of the UK with free medical care, there are some downsides. Most namely in waiting times, and with payment of the fee you get access just like anyone else. If you need to see a specialist, waiting times can be in the months, so you will want to purchase additional travel insurance so that if you do need to see a private doctor, you have the ability to do that through your insurance plan.
  2. Travel Benefits – the NHS will only cover you for medical care, but there are certain travel benefits to consider as an international student. What if you are hospitalized and want your family to come and be by your bedside? What if you pass away while studying in the UK and need to be repatriated back to your home country? What happens if your flight is delayed or you lose your luggage traveling to the UK? The NHS will not pay for these types of expenses, so it’s a good idea to consider purchasing travel insurance that will supplement the NHS fee and cover you for things above and beyond what the NHS provides.
  3. European Travel – with the UK’s close proximity to the mainland of Europe, you are only an hour flight, or a few hours on the train, from some of the most amazing countries in the world. The NHS fee will not cover you if you travel to these countries, so you would need to purchase insurance for each trip you make.

As a student coming to study in the UK, the NHS fee is something that you will need to pay (as long as you are from outside the EEA and studying for more than 6 months), but that does not mean you will not need insurance. The NHS fee simply provides you with access to the NHS, and will not provide you with all the other things insurance plans do! 

If you are looking for a great insurance option for studying in the UK, check out our European Travel insurance plan that will offer you cover that goes beyond the NHS fee. 

The U.S. Healthcare System- What You Need To Know Before You Go

October 23rd, 2019 by Natalie Holland

For international students traveling to the United States, having knowledge of the healthcare industry in the US will allow you to feel confident about what to do in the case that you get sick or injured. While it can seem daunting, if you have the knowledge you need, taking control of your healthcare is simple. Below we have outlined a few key details about the US healthcare system and what to do if you need to seek treatment. 

United States Healthcare

The healthcare system in the United States is vastly different than systems anywhere else. While US medical care is among the best in the world, it is extremely expensive. Whereas your home country may have universal healthcare, the United States relies on individuals paying their own medical bills or individuals enrolling in an insurance plan to help cover the cost of their medical bills. This means that those coming to the US to study as international students will need to purchase an insurance plan so that they do not end up paying all the expenses themselves. 

Where To Seek Treatment

Emergency rooms in the US are very expensive and are made to treat you in very serious cases. In the case of a true emergency, you should visit an Emergency Room to receive treatment right away. What do you do, though, if you need treatment for something that doesn’t need immediate attention, but is still important? In the United States, it is best to visit an Urgent Care facility, Walk-In Clinic or your university’s Student Health Clinic. Not sure where you should go? 

Learn more about insurance provider networks here: https://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/explained/insurance-provider-networks.php

What Insurance Plan Should I Buy?

Many schools in the US require their international students to have health insurance, whether through a university plan or individually purchased. If your school does allow you to purchase a plan individually, they may provide you with a set of requirements that must be met by your policy. If you aren’t sure what your school’s requirements are, or whether one of our health insurance plans will meet them, check out our School Requirements page to simplify the process.

It is important to note that healthcare in the US is never really free, even if you have insurance. You might see advertisements for health insurance policies telling you that it will cover all of your expenses. It is also important to be wary of plans that advertise as ‘free’. While a plan could have very comprehensive coverage that requires little out of pocket expenses, this policy would be very expensive. 

The best way to be prepared for any difficulty that might arise is to be informed. The video below will help you understand the US healthcare system by providing you with all the knowledge you need to prepare you for the journey ahead.

Health and Travel Insurance with No Deductible

September 23rd, 2019 by Jennifer Frankel

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:

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.

2019 Travel Video Contest

September 11th, 2019 by Leah Hammond

The annual InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest is now open for submissions!

Entering its 14th year, the InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest now boasts 5 unique prizes, with a First Place Grand Prize of $4,000. Here’s your chance to be a winner this year. 

If you are currently studying outside of your home country, your video must describe any trip you would like to take. If you are not currently studying outside of your home country, your entry must describe your proposed study abroad. Eligible entries could win 1 of 5 prizes to use towards either of these dreams. To enter is simple: submit a 4-minute or less video that was made specifically for the 2019 Travel Video Contest telling us about your proposed international education or if you’re already an international student, your trip. Your entry will be scored by our judging panel that consists of highly esteemed professionals in the international education industry. 

Winning prizes include:

First Place Winner: $4,000
Second Place Winner: $500
Third Place Winner: $250
GoAbroad Choice Winner: $500
Viewers’ Choice Award Winner: $1,000

For deadlines, rules, regulations, and all the things you’d need to know about the 2019 Travel Video Contest, simply visit the TVC homepage. If you’re an instructor, counselor, or personnel of any kind in the international education sector, and would like to share this contest with your students, please don’t hesitate to download the official poster

Best of luck to all entrants! We cannot wait to watch and be inspired by your dreams and videos!

Health Insurance for International Students at Stetson University

August 16th, 2019 by Diana Nolasco

Because healthcare can be so expensive in the United States, Stetson University recommends that all international students have a comprehensive medical insurance plan before departing their home country. 

Like most universities, Stetson University maintains that all J-1 visa holders must purchase plans that meet these certain requirements:

  • The plan must include a minimum of $100,000 in benefits per accident or illness
  • The plan must offer a minimum of $25,000 coverage for repatriation of remains, a minimum of $50,000 coverage for emergency evacuation, and a maximum deductible of $500

They also recommend that all international students on a F-1 visa enroll in an insurance plan that meets these same requirements.

Fortunately, all levels of International Student Insurance (ISI)’s Student Health Plan meet these requirements.

For students ages 18-24, the rates are as follows:

  • Smart Plan–  $345.80 per year
  • Budget Plan– $513.24 per year 
  • Select Plan– $1,066.52 per year
  • Elite Plan– $1,961.96 per year

These levels of the plan include comprehensive coverage for doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medication, and emergency evacuation and repatriation. Sport-related injuries and maternity are covered by all levels aside from the Smart Plan.

Once the policy is purchased, international students will be required to demonstrate proof that they have coverage that meets the university’s requirements. This can be done quickly and easily with the Stetson staff at WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning.

Wellness, Immunizations, and Birth Control for International Students in the U.S.

August 15th, 2019 by Leah Hammond

When planning on studying in the U.S., the last thing you might be thinking about is the cost of healthcare. It is well known that healthcare costs are very high in the United States, so it’s important to make sure that you have a health insurance plan in place when you arrive. Health insurance plans for international students are generally designed to offer coverage in case something unexpected happens. Routine and preventative care isn’t always covered in these plans and you’ll likely have to pay out of pocket if you are looking for these kinds of services. In this blog, we’ll discuss different options to help find coverage for annual physicals, immunizations, and birth control at an affordable cost! 

Routine and Preventative Care

For some international students, your college or university may require that you have an annual physical and certain immunizations before you can enroll in classes. While routine and preventative care, like a general wellness checkup, annual physicals, and immunizations, are typically excluded from international student coverage, you can usually find this type of treatment at an inexpensive cost to you. 

  • Walk-In Clinic: If your plan does not include coverage for preventative care or immunization, you can visit a local pharmacy walk-in clinic, like the CVS Minute Clinic or the Walgreens Healthcare Clinic for affordable treatment. The cost will depend on each service, but you can expect to pay approximately $69 to $89 for a physical examination, $50 or less for a flu shot, $49 for a TB test, $135 for the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination, and $240 for each dose of the HPV vaccination. You can contact your local walk-in clinic to find out more about the pricing of the services they offer. 
  • Student Health Center: If your school offers an on-campus student health center, you may be able to receive an annual physical and certain immunizations at little to no cost. You should call your on-campus facility to inquire more about the free services they offer and if any fees would be associated. 

Before going to the doctor, it’s important to check your health insurance plan to confirm what is included in your coverage. While most international student plans don’t include coverage for routine or preventative care, International Student Insurance does offer different plan options that include limited coverage for immunizations and wellness.

Student Secure Plan

Major Medical Plan

$150 maximum for Immunizations
Elite Level Only
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR);
Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (TDAP);
Chicken Pox (Varicella); Hepatitis B;
and Meningitis (Meningococcal MCV4 and B)
$250 / $500 maximum for Preventative Care
including vaccinations
Gold & Platinum Level Only

Apply now – Student Secure
Apply now – Major Medical

Birth Control Prescriptions

In the United States, birth control is available by prescription only. Generally, contraception is not covered by international student health insurance plans, which means both the initial visit to the doctor and the prescription would not be covered. Luckily, there are different options out there to find low-cost birth control around the country! 

  • At-Home Delivery: Websites like HeyDoctor, Nurx, PRJKT RUBY and Simple Healthoffer different forms of contraception, from the pill, the ring, and the patch, for as low as $15 per month without insurance. Through these websites, you can consult with an online doctor to find the right prescription for you! Some sites require you to complete an online questionnaire, while others require a video consultation, and availability varies from state to state, so make sure to do your research to find the best option for you. 
  • Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood works to make healthcare in the United States accessible and affordable. They offer wellness exams, birth control prescriptions, and STI testing at low costs and some centers even charge based on income. The costs for these services vary by location, so you’ll want to call your local Planned Parenthood to find out what you can expect to spend for an exam

As you can see, there are many ways to find healthcare services that can still be cost-effective, even if your insurance plan won’t cover the expenses. It is important to do your research and compare costs before seeking treatment to make sure you are finding the most affordable options out there! 

Health Insurance for International Students at Polk State College

August 12th, 2019 by Diana Nolasco

As an international student, it is important to have medical health insurance throughout your studies in the US. Due to the high cost in medical care, most schools in the US require international students to purchase health insurance before enrolling in the classes. Polk State College is no different. Polk State College requires international students to have medical coverage throughout their time in the US. Luckily, International Student Insurance (ISI) provides health insurance plans for international students that are comprehensive and affordable, and meet Polk State College’s insurance requirements. 

Polk State College recommends the Student Secure plan for their international students’ health coverage. While the Student Secure is available in four levels, three of the levels will meet their requirements for international students: Budget, Select, and Elite. These levels include coverage for:

  • Doctor Visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescription Medication
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation
  • Organized Sports
  • Maternity
  • Mental Health

 For an international student ages 18 to 24 years old, the cost for one year is:

  • Budget – $513.24 per year 
  • Select – $1,066.52 per year
  • Elite – $1,961.96 per year

To purchase this insurance, international students can go to the Student Health plan to enroll directly on our website. If you need assistance, our team of customer service representatives are available by phone, email, or live chat and would be happy to help.

Once purchased, our team will send you a confirmation email which you can show to your international student advisor at Polk State College as proof of coverage.

Health Insurance Requirements for Florida Southwestern State College

August 9th, 2019 by Diana Nolasco

If you are an international student attending Florida Southwestern State College this upcoming school year, you are required to provide proof of health insurance prior to registering for classes. Healthcare in the United States can be very expensive, so it is not unusual for universities to require international students to have health insurance during their studies. Fortunately, International Student Insurance provides comprehensive and affordable plans for all international students attending US schools, including Florida Southwestern State College.

The Student Health plan comes in four different levels: Smart, Budget, Select and Elite. All levels of the plan meet or exceed Florida Southwestern State College health insurance requirements for international students. All levels include coverage for:

  • Doctor Visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescription Medication
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation
  • Repatriation
  • Mental Health

To meet Florida Southwestern’s insurance requirements, international students can first purchase the plan online at our website. If you prefer, you can also purchase the plan over the phone by calling our customer service team. 

Once purchased, you will need to complete Florida Southwestern State College’s insurance waiver and then send it to our customer service team to complete. We will then send your insurance information to your school’s International Student Services Office to process.

Please note that Florida Southwestern State College requires students to be enrolled for these coverage dates:

  • Fall: August 20, 2019 – December 31 2019
  • Spring: January 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020
  • Summer: May 1, 2020 – August 1, 2020

You will have to submit a new waiver for every period you want to be covered. To learn more about the Student Health plan, visit our website or contact our customer service team by phone, chat, or email.

Health Insurance for International Students at Bethune-Cookman University

August 5th, 2019 by Diana Nolasco

Deciding which health insurance plan to enroll in can be very overwhelming, but it is worth your time and energy to make sure you have a plan that works well for you. Due to high costs for medical care in the US, many schools like Bethune-Cookman University require international students to purchase a specific type of health insurance before they are allowed to enroll in classes.

International students at Bethune-Cookman University are required to purchase a plan that not only meets their insurance requirements, but students must maintain continuous health insurance coverage. This means that there cannot be any breaks in coverage – international students must renew their plan each year. 

If you are looking for a plan that will work, our Student Secure Select and Elite plan will meet and exceed Bethune-Cookman University’s health insurance requirements. The Student Secure Select and Elite levels both provide comprehensive coverage that includes:

  • Doctor Visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescription Medication
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains
  • Mental Health
  • Organized Sports
  • Maternity

For an international student ages 18 to 24 years old, the cost for one year is:

  • Select – $1,066.52 per year
  • Elite – $1,961.96 per year

International students can purchase the plan right online, and will receive a confirmation email instantly. Once purchased, it is important to fill out the required information on Bethune-Cookman’s waiver. After completion, send the waiver to our customer service team to complete the process! We will then submit your waiver form to you and Bethune-Cookman.

To learn more about the Student Secure plan, visit our website or contact our customer service team by phone, chat, or email. For more information about Bethune-Cookman University’s health insurance requirements, visit the school’s insurance requirements page.

International Student Insurance for the University of South Alabama

August 2nd, 2019 by Diana Nolasco

As an international student attending the University of South Alabama, it is mandatory to obtain health insurance while enrolled and taking classes. Many colleges and universities across the USA, like the University of South Alabama, require international students to have adequate coverage due to the high cost of medical care in the US. Without health insurance, expenses can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it is important to have a comprehensive plan in place to help cover these costs in case you need medical attention.

Fortunately, the Student Health plan comes in four different levels – all of which will meet or exceed your school’s health insurance requirements. The plan provides comprehensive coverage that includes:

  • Doctor Visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescription Medication
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation
  • Repatriation
  • Mental Health

For an international student ages 18 to 24 years old, the cost for one year is:

  • Smart –  $345.80 per year
  • Budget – $513.24 per year 
  • Select – $1,066.52 per year
  • Elite – $1,961.96 per year

International students can purchase the plan right online, and will receive a confirmation email instantly. Once purchased, it is important to fill out the required information on the University of South Alabama’s waiver, which can be obtained from the university’s Student Health Center. After completion, send the waiver to our customer service team to complete the process! To have continuous coverage, a waiver must be submitted each semester to the Student Health Center.

To learn more about the Student Health plan, visit our website or contact our customer service team by phone, chat, or email. For more information about University of South Alabama’s health insurance requirements, visit the school’s insurance requirements page.

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