Health Insurance Coverage Requirements For International Students
Health care in the United States can be very expensive. Even a short hospital stay can cost thousands of dollars. The U.S. government does NOT pay any part of the medical expenses for international students or their family members. If you do not have insurance and you need medical care, you will end up paying huge bills all by yourself which could negatively affect your study and subsequently your status.
For this reason effective Fall 2012 semester Lansing Community College (LCC) is requiring all F-1 visa holders whose Form I-20 was issued by LCC and their dependents to have and maintain health insurance coverage while in the United States. However, F-1 students and their dependents are strongly encouraged to maintain insurance coverage at all times.
What is health insurance?
Health insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company that says that the insurance company will pay a portion of your medical expenses if you get sick or hurt and have to visit a doctor's office or hospital. Some contracts also specify that the insurance company will pay a portion of your medical expenses to ensure you don't get sick, such as paying for annual physicals or immunizations. However, the amount of your bill that the insurance company will pay, and under what circumstances they'll pay it is known as coverage and can vary.
Health insurance is not exciting, but it is essential - to your life and well-being - for all those health care needs you can anticipate, as well as those you can't. Having health insurance coverage may very well save you time, frustration, worry, and crises at some point in the future.
For your benefit, safety and convenience, LCC has negotiated a reasonable and comprehensive health insurance policy for international students. Administered by International Student Protection (ISP), and underwritten by Chartis Insurance, LCC encourages you to purchase this endorsed policy. It offers a special group rate and features a reduced deductible.
Why do I need insurance?
Unexpected illness or an accident that results in a single hospital visit can be very expensive without insurance. An uninsured hospital stay can cost even more - up to thousands of dollars - and can generate bills that you will have to pay on for many years.
Keep in mind, it is generally impossible to buy insurance after you get sick because an illness or injury that you already have, called "pre-existing," is usually not covered by insurance.
How do I get ISP health insurance?
All F-1 students and their dependents must enroll in or waive the insurance online. Please note that in order to apply for the ISP Health Insurance Program, you will need to provide ISP with a U.S. address. If you do not yet have a local Lansing address at the time you apply, you can temporarily use an LCC office address. Please use the following format when entering the address in the enrollment site:
Name: Janet Tower, 1130 Support Services
Street 1: Lansing Community College
Street 2: PO Box 40010
Your insurance card will be mailed to LCC and you can pick it up when you arrive to Lansing Community College. It is your responsibility to notify ISP of your address change. When you secure housing, contact ISP by calling 1-877-738-5787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and give them your address. This will ensure you will receive your claims and important information from ISP and their claims team.
ISP will notify LCC directly of your processed application and coverage period and you will not be required to submit a copy of your insurance notification.
A list of your network of doctors and providers can be found via the Cofinity Network website. You may also call 1-800-831-1166 or 1-877-738-5787 for assistance in finding a nearby facility.
What if I have other health insurance?
If you already have an insurance policy that you believe meets the requirements listed below, it must be approved. Waivers must be completed online via the ISP web link no later than January 10, 2013. Beyond this date, no waivers will be accepted.
- Coverage must be in effect for full enrollment period
- Lifetime Policy maximum no less than $300,000
- Coinsurance of 100% of the covered accidents and illness
- Deductible no greater than $50 in network, $90 out of network per injury or sickness
- Prescription drug coverage no less than $1,000
- Exclusion for pre-existing conditions may be no more restrictive than a 6 month waiting period.
- Benefits for Medical Evacuation should be payable to a minimum of $100,000
- Benefits for Repatriation of Mortal Remains should be payable to a minimum of $50,000
- Mental and Nervous Disorder & Substance Abuse should be treated as any other sickness with no sublimit or cap on visits per policy period.
Tips for using health insurance
Health insurance can be a complicated and confusing subject. Many health insurance plans are available with all sorts of varying coverage, exclusions, deductibles, co-pays, and so on. The following are generally accepted tips for accessing and utilizing any health insurance plan.
- Carry your valid insurance identification card(s) with you at all times.
- Carry some form of photo identification with you at all times.
- Review your health insurance benefits before you need them. By doing so, you will know what to expect at the time of need.
- Review your health insurance plan limitations and exclusions before you need the coverage. Again, this will help you know what to expect at the time of need.
- Know your deductible amount.
- Know your co-pay amount.
A detailed list of insurance terms definitions is available in a brochure at the ISP website.
What happens if I do not have any health insurance by the waiver deadline?
It is the student's responsibility to comply with the College's policies as they relate to health insurance. Failure to comply will negatively affect your visa status at LCC. All of your courses will be dropped for non-compliance of LCC's policies and you will be reported to the Department of Homeland Security as out of status.
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