The USA is one of the best countries providing quality education at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels for multiple disciplines. So, if you are an Indian student Traveling to the USA to study, it will surely be one of the best opportunities of your life. The amount of exposure coupled with the quality of studies offered and getting the prestigious degree are just some of the perks that come with the package. Chances are, you are already prepared for everything big and beautiful with all the excitement for the future that is to unfold. But it is important to prepare for both the best and the worst because after all, Life is beautiful but uncertain.
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This is why it is generally advised that Indian International students in the USA get health insurances beforehand. Though certain scholarships and universities provide limited coverage, if it does not suffice your purpose, you may want to get an adequate health insurance policy. This is because of the cost of availing medical facilities in America, no matter how minor the cause maybe, can be substantial enough to affect your budgetary constraints. Thus it is best to evaluate your needs on the basis of the extent of coverage, duration of the insurance as well as specificity with regards to the states where you might need to avail the insurance.
The good news is that students often need insurance for a limited amount of time only which may be between 10-12 months. Furthermore, there are various companies providing health insurance to students at discounted prices suiting to their specific needs. Before choosing a particular plan, one needs to make sure that the essential requirements for the same are met with. The requirements for a student may include coverage in the states where he/she may need to go, the credibility of the company, minimal exclusions, especially sports and accidental injuries must also be covered and the most important factor is to choose an insurance that is affordable with moderate premiums. The following are some of the best health insurances for Indian international students in the USA provided in India and America.
Indian Health Insurance
There are various health insurance companies in India that provide options for international students. The options range from the variety in coverage, the distribution of premium as well as the time from which the insurance may be enforced. Hence, the decision must be made wisely.
Bajaj Allianz Student Elite Plan is often highly recommended. This plan is available in three variants that are Standard, Silver, and Gold so that it can be customized according to the needs of the student. The wide coverage of this plan includes in addition to the Hospital expenses, the loss of baggage, dental expenses, family visits, bail bonds, Loss of Passport and other documents and other incidental expenses. The best part about this is that it is comprehensive for all the needs of the student while primarily being health insurance. The Rate of premium retained by the company as per the period of risk is also relatively less and it is the only insurance company that provides international toll-free in-house assistance.
The TATA AIG Student Guard is an overseas Health Insurance plan. It covers various health problems including Emergency medical evacuation, accidental medical expenses, Sponsor protection, Personal accident cover, felonious assault and mental and nervous disorders. The insurance plan has a vast network of Hospitals which make the reimbursement of claims easy and quick. The cover also includes 24-hour emergency assistance. Especially in the US, a Red 24 Plan works which provides information about the specific potential threats and risks in the area of the insured. This scheme is also customizable and the prices vary according to these choices.
HDFC Student Surakasha Travel Insurance Plans is a very lucrative option as well. This provides for reimbursement in cases of Childcare benefits, bail bonds, passport loss, accidental death or injury, dental treatment expenses (but only when arising out of an accident and pregnancy-related expenses. But this plan has a very long extended period which may not suit the needs of students who have a short duration course.
Availing Health insurance in the US
Most universities like the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Yale and Massachusetts Institute of technology among others, provide for a student health insurance plans. This is the best option to avail if your university provides for one. The benefits of this plan are that it is specifically suited to the needs of the area in which you are to reside, the duration of your stay and the specific needs of the students in that place. Furthermore, these health insurances are often available at a very subsidized rate especially for the students who have already been granted scholarship for their studies or those who come from far off countries like India. The procedure to apply for these policies is very simple and is often processed after the admissions and before the arrival of the student in the US. The coverage includes overall body evaluation, emergency tests recommended by a licensed medical practitioner, accidental injuries as well as medical termination of pregnancy.
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A collective plan that can be availed by a group of five students is the “Student Health Advantage”. This is very cheap if a number of people are interested. In addition to all the required coverage offered by other insurance companies, it also covers mental and nervous disorders and substance abuse since 2015 in light of the needs of various students in the US.
There is a “Patriot exchange program” that is underwritten by the Sirius International and is consequently very well reputed. The program is very comprehensive and covers medical emergency, accident or injury that covers “student’s stay outside their home country” and is thus, valid before and beyond the period of study. The plan also covers the cost of prescriptions up to $350.
Atlas exchange is a very lucrative option as well. This is specifically designed for F and J type Visa holders. These include people coming to the US for study purposes, research or as a part of exchange programs. The premium of the coverage is nominal and well suited to the needs of students but a downside is that it does not cover checkups, maternity issues and immunizations.
Indian students in the US can also get insurance from various US insurance companies but it often is a very tedious process requiring a lot of documents for proof of residence, duration of stay as well as the medical background that may require taking certain tests or overall body evaluation. Plus since most of this process is to be carried out in person, the student may not get the coverage immediately after starting the studies and this may take up some time as well. Moreover, depending on the exchange rates, it has been reported by many that buying insurance in the US is often much more expensive than buying the same in India. Another factor that acts to the detriment of the student is that while the Indian Insurance companies provide for continuing the use of the insurance back in India after the student has returned, the same is not true for the US insurance companies. This means that the period of coverage, if not designed specifically for the duration of your stay, might also get wasted.
Thus, it is important to evaluate the various health insurance options, the plans that best suit your needs, your budgetary constraints as well as the possible risks according to your health conditions. It is very important to plan ahead and get insurance. Though the insurance is not covered in the student loans, an application for the same can also be made. Be prepared for the best and the worst. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!