Regardless of your choice of insurance company, you need to clearly understand the nature and the extent of your coverage. Here are a few basic points that are especially noteworthy:
- Individual or family coverage. If you have dependents (a spouse and/or children), you need to be sure they are also covered! You may purchase individual policies for each person or purchase "dependent" coverage on your policy. "Family coverage" may also be possible.
- Geographical limitations. You need to know whether the insurance policy pays for medical services outside the United States (if you take a trip) or even in other parts of the United States. Most will not pay in your home country but may pay if you are on a trip to another country.
- Medical evacuation and repatriation and the special and REQUIRED parts of an "International Student" plan. "Medical Evacuation" would cover the cost of flying you home if you were too ill to recover in the United States, including the cost of medical personnel or any special equipment you would need during your transportation. "Repatriation" would return your body to your family in the event of your death. Some policies include a "bring mommy to me" clause to fly a family member to you if you are hospitalized for a long period of time.
- Coverage for other health services. Dental care (except for teeth broken in an injury) and vision services (eye exams, glasses or contact lenses) are NOT normally part of a medical policy. They often require separate policies but may be a 'rider' on a medical policy.
- Cancellation clause. Most insurance companies are required to include a provision that lets you review a plan for a specified period (usually at least 10 days) and, if do not want the policy for any reason, be able to get a full refund.
- Appeals process. Find out about the company's appeals process. if you think your claim has been denied without justification. But before you undertake this action, you need to clearly understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. Always ask questions if you are not sure about any point in the policy.
- Make sure to keep your health insurance active. Talk to the insurance company about OPT insurance or with the company that will hire you about OPT insurance plans.
Vocabulary to understand Insurance Terms
Links to companies that sell Insurances