The Complete Guide to Personal Loans for International Student Insurance
Being an international student in the U.S. is a fantastic opportunity, but it comes with its fair share of challenges and costs. As if that is not enough to deal with, you are now faced with the (possibly unplanned) stress and cost of having to get and pay for health insurance required by your university.
We know the process of getting international student health insurance can be overwhelming and confusing. So, to help you out, we’re taking a look at your health plan options and how loans for international student insurance can help you out. Read on to learn more!
What is International Student Health Insurance?
Some countries offer government-funded healthcare. Unfortunately, in the U.S. you have to pay for it yourself. Health insurance, then, is an insurance policy which will help cover the cost of any medical expenses that occur while you are studying in the U.S.
Most international students in the U.S. are required by law to have health insurance. Some students are exempted, but most schools will still only accept international students on an approved health insurance policy.
Why Do Universities Require Health Insurance?
Firstly, as mentioned before, having health insurance is required by law. There is no avoiding that. In addition, most schools require all students to be on health insurance because of two main reasons:
- Student retention
- Student success rates
Universities have found better student retention and success rates among students who are on health insurance plans. These students are able to continue studying even after high medical costs. Their illnesses are also, on average, shorter when compared to those who don’t have medical care plans.
The 2 Types of Insurance
For international students like yourself, there are then two main options available for health insurance.
Most universities have their own health insurance solution. These have prescribed terms and conditions with a specific network of approved healthcare facilities. Each university will have its own unique value proposition. Please take note that the bill for a university is simply added on top of your tuition fees. So even though you don’t make separate monthly payments, you are still going to pay for it. Taking out a university plan is often the simplest choice. You know where you are getting your insurance and you don’t have to worry about any additional payments to manage.
Private plans are supplied by health insurance companies that aren’t connected to the university. If you opt for a private plan, it’s very important that you get a plan that is approved by your school, otherwise, your health insurance might not qualify. Taking out a private plan comes with a little extra work on your part as you have to do your own research and choose the right provider. You also have to manage your own payments monthly. That said, private plans tend to be more flexible and affordable.
Why You Might Not Want the University Plan
The university plan might be simpler, but that doesn’t mean it is the best choice. There are a few reasons you might want to rather opt for a private plan as an international student.
Private health insurance plans are not billed towards parents or bursary suppliers. You will be paying the bill yourself. That means your treatment information is not shared with anyone else but yourself. This is not the case with a university plan. Many students prefer the privacy granted by a private plan.
University plans come at a very high price. These plans are prescribed and controlled by universities. So, students who didn’t do their research properly will have no choice but to accept university plans to continue their studies. This results in the university having all the power and imposing the price they want.
Time of Care
Some university plans will only supply medical cover during the semester. Any needs for medical care outside of the school semester will not be covered. This could be quite a challenge as it means you’ll need to get an additional plan to cover you in the out-of-semester times.
Network of Facilities
Many university plans have a prescribed network of medical facilities whose services they cover. People who live or move beyond that network of approved facilities will not be able to get the coverage they are away from school. Once again this could pose a challenge for you, as your coverage is limited.
Top 3 Private Insurance Plans for International Students
If you are opting to go for a private health insurance plan, here are our top 3 picks for international students like yourself.
This health insurance plan is offered by IMG Global. With this plan, students can expect a yearly deductible of $100 and a maximum limit of $500,000 coverage. This plan supplies coverage through its network of facilities or your student health center.
Coverage will include the following:
- Organized sports
- Emergency care
- Mental health
This plan is also offered by IMG Global. With this plan, however, you decide what plan maximums and coverage are best for your situation and finances. Deductibles will range from $0 to $500 and plan maximum limits go all the way to $5,000,000 coverage.
It is important to note with this plan that medical care will only be covered at a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). When compared to the Student Health Advantage plan, this plan is cheaper. This is great if your finances as an international student is tight. Keep in mind, however, the coverage is less comprehensive.
Envisage International offers a plan suited for every situation. It features month-to-month coverage for qualifying internationals. For instance, F-1 visa holders are automatically eligible. They offer the following:
- Smart: $200,000 policy maximum, $50/100 deductible, 80% coverage up to the policy maximum
- Budget: $500,000 policy maximum, $45/$90 deductible, 80% coverage up to $25,000 and 100% coverage from $25,000 – policy maximum
- Select: $600,000 policy maximum, $35/$75 deductible, 80% coverage up to $5000 and 100% coverage from $5000 – policy maximum
- Elite: $1,000,000 maximum, $25/$50 deductible, 100% coverage in network up to policy maximum
Are There Loans for International Student Health Insurance?
International student health insurance can be costly and make quite a big dent in your budget. The reality is many international students like yourself can’t afford it. The good news is, you get loans for international student insurance that can help you out. This is basically a personal loan you use for your international student health insurance when urgently need it.
Here’s how loans for international student insurance works.
Determine the loan amount you need and then apply for it. You can apply online for most loans for international student insurance. This makes the application process so much simpler and faster!
It is important to shop around before just applying for a loan. Compare the loan terms and interest rate offered by the different lenders. It is important to find the best option for you. Check the eligibility criteria for each lender and only apply for the ones you know you are eligible for and who accept internationals like yourself.
Supply all the necessary documentation to prove your eligibility and to get the best loan terms possible. As an international student, you will probably need to supply valid visas and other documentation to prove you are legal in the U.S. Remember, the information you supply to the lenders will determine the loan offer you get. Some lenders may schedule a follow-up call to confirm the last few details before giving you a loan offer.
You will receive feedback from the lenders after submitting your applications. The period you will have to wait for feedback will depend on the lender. Some will supply feedback as soon as 24 hours of submitting your application. Some lenders may take longer.
If you qualify for the loan you applied for, the lender will provide you with a loan offer. Choose the cheapest loan option with the best loan terms. To accept the loans for international student insurance, you can sign the loan documents the lender provided and return the paperwork to the lender.
The exact time you’ll have to wait until the funds are disbursed will depend on the lender. With some lenders, the money will show in your account as soon as 2-3 business days.
After your loan has been disbursed, the only thing left to do is to start your repayments to your new lender. Most lenders provide an online autopay option which automatically deducts your monthly payments from your account. This makes your admin and payment so much easier.
3 Strategies for Managing Health Expenses
Even though you can get a loan to help you pay your international student health insurance and you will be covered by your chosen health plan, it’s still important to manage your health expenses. Here are some tips on how you can do just that.
Choose Your Policy Carefully
Make sure about any extra costs or hidden fees involved in policies. Read your policy carefully and understand the T’s & C’s. Be wary of opting for plans with lower monthly premiums and higher deductibles. You might have an easier cash flow from month to month, but the high once-off cost of the deductible, should you have a big medical expense, can ultimately make it unaffordable.
Keep Medical Expenses to a Minimum
Be proactive and live with a healthy lifestyle. Minimize incidents of illness or injury. Not everything is avoidable, but you can be smart and limit your risks. This will minimize your medical expenses and ultimately be beneficial to your long term finances.
International students need health insurance. Even if you are exempted by law, you are still better off with coverage. If you can’t afford the compulsory student health insurance, don’t stress. It doesn’t have to prevent you from graduating! Get loans for international student insurance today. Your health plan will be sorted in no time and all you’ll need to worry about is passing your exams!