The Need for Medical/Health Insurance
The main purpose of having insurance is to protect you in the case of a serious illness or accident. When you purchase insurance, you agree to pay a certain amount on a monthly or quarterly basis, and the company agrees to pay for your expenses either partially or in full. The document that you sign is called a policy, and it typically states the covered expenses and exclusions (expenses not covered) under the terms of the contract.
Unlike some other countries, the United States does not have a universal health care system. A short stay in the hospital can result in thousands of dollars in medical expenses. A non-emergency visit to a regular physician today can easily cost $100, not including medication if needed. You should know that the U.S. government does not pay for health care costs for international students. In fact, if you are an F-1 student, you are required to have enough funds to cover such expenses (the average amount of the policies listed below is included in the Estimated Annual Costs on your I-20). You are therefore required to buy medical insurance to avoid serious financial hardship that could ruin your educational plans.
Montgomery College has such a wide variety of international students that we do not have a standard insurance policy connected to the College. You need to choose an insurance policy for yourself. You may choose any company, in the United States or in your home country, that will give you the coverage YOU need. Students may be able to take advantage of the new Affordable Care Act Marketplaces, although that type of coverage is designed to be different than what is described below as most needed by International Students.
Basic Insurance Terms
Helpful Health Insurance Web Sites
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Some information for this topic was taken from a NAFSA (Association of International Educators) publication titled: Medical Insurance for International Students, Scholars, and Their Families, by Judith A Green.