Top 5 International Student Insurance Buying Myths
We've collected and debunked the most well-known myths on international student health insurance to ensure you're as educated as possible when evaluating your insurance options.
Myth #1: I do not need insurance because I won't get sick
Accidents and illnesses can happen at any time. There is no way to predict when they will happen and it's never a good idea to leave your health or your financial situation up to chance. Keep in mind that health insurance is specifically designed to help you find a doctor nearby and help cover some, if not all of the cost of your visit. Without insurance you will be liable the total cost of your medical bills, which could be in the thousands and thousands of dollars, especially in the United States because healthcare is much more expensive.
Myth #2: I can just buy insurance when I need it
Insurance is meant to protect against future unforeseen events. This being said, most plans will not cover conditions that you had before the effective date of your insurance plan. These pre-existing conditions may be covered after a waiting period of at least six months, but sometimes are excluded from the plan altogether.
Think of it this way, you can't buy car insurance to pay for an accident you've already had and health insurance works on this same principal. It's important to buy insurance before you actually need it.
Myth #3: If I use my health insurance, my premium will go up automatically
The prices (called premiums) that you pay for insurance plans go into a pool and then are then used by insurance companies to pay the medical bills (called claims) for everyone insured under the plan. So as long as there is about the same amount of premium going into the company as the insurance company is paying out, the prices for your insurance will remain about the same. This being said, even if your premium does go up after seeking treatment, it isn't because of you alone.
Never be afraid to use your insurance plan because you think your rates may increase. You purchased the plan to be able to use it and remember you can always contact your insurance company before seeking treatment to ensure the cost will be covered.
Myth #4: All health insurance plans are the same, so I just need to find the cheapest plan
No two insurance plans are exactly the same. There are many international student insurance plans available, each with different prices and meeting different needs. While finding an affordable plan is ideal, it is even more important to ensure your plan covers everything you may need like sports, maternity, mental health, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. Something else to keep in mind tis that different policies allow you to have insurance for different lengths of time as well, so be sure to read our article Short Term vs. Long Term Insurance if you're still deciding between the two.
Depending on the country and institution that you are studying at, you may need to meet specific insurance requirements as well. For example, international students in the U.S. on an F-1 visa do not need to meet federal regulations, but they do need to meet all of their school's requirements.
Myth #5: If I have health insurance I don't need to worry about anything because I will always be covered
Having student medical insurance can protect you against the unexpected, but your plan will still have a list of exclusions that are not covered.
- What if you get into an accident while you were consuming alcohol — would that be covered?
- What if you were injured playing tennis at school — is that excluded from your plan?
- What if you need to get an immunization to register for classes — would that be covered?
Even if your medical expenses are covered, it is possible that you have out of pocket expenses, like coinsurance that you are still be responsible to pay. For questions about what may or may not be covered by your insurance plan, be sure to contact your insurance company for clarification.
Return to our "Insurance Explained" section for more information and help