As a UK student studying in the USA, it is important to understand the medical insurance system in order to ensure that you are protected in case of any unforeseen medical emergencies. Medical care in the US can be very expensive and having medical insurance is a necessity in order to protect yourself from the high costs.
This guide aims to provide information about the healthcare system and medical insurance in the USA to help UK students navigate the system and take more informed decisions.
Healthcare System in the USA
The US healthcare system is primarily based on private insurance. Unlike the UK, where the National Health Service (NHS) provides free healthcare to all UK residents, healthcare in the US is funded through private insurance. Those who have no health insurance coverage are required to pay the full cost of treatment.
Medical Insurance Types
There are mainly two types of medical insurances in the US – the Comprehensive Medical Insurance and the Limited Medical Insurance.
Comprehensive Medical Insurance
Comprehensive Medical Insurance (also known as Major Medical Insurance) is the most commonly available and generally most recommended insurance plan. It provides coverage for all medical expenses related to hospitalization, surgical procedures, and medical treatment for injuries or illnesses.
Limited Medical Insurance
Limited Medical Insurance is an insurance plan that covers only a portion of medical expenses. It is typically less expensive than comprehensive medical insurance, but it only covers specific medical treatments and expenses.
Choosing an insurance plan
When choosing an insurance plan, it is important to understand the coverage and the cost of the plan. Students should also check the network of doctors and hospitals that are covered under the plan.
Some universities in the US offer their own medical insurance plans for students at a discounted rate. It is important to consider these plans while choosing an insurance plan.
Co-payments and deductibles
Co-payments are the portion of the medical expense that the insurance holder has to pay out of their pocket. Deductibles are the amount that the insurance holder has to pay before the insurance company starts paying for the medical expenses. Some insurance plans have a lower deductible but higher co-payments, while others might have a higher deductible but lower co-payments.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are special accounts that are set up by the insurance holder to help pay for medical expenses. The money put into HSAs is tax deductible, and there is no tax on the money withdrawn, as long as it is used for medical expenses.
In conclusion, understanding the healthcare system and medical insurance in the USA is essential for international students, especially those from the UK who are used to relying on the NHS. Students should do their research, choose an appropriate plan, and make sure that they are fully covered in case of any medical emergencies. Stay healthy, stay protected!