- Get your schedule: Ensure that you enroll early into the classes that you want to take for the upcoming Spring semester.
- Get ready: Once you have registered for classes, check to see if the syllabus is posted and get a head start on any necessary readings, course works or books that you need.
- Get insurance: New semester means new insurance coverage. If you haven’t purchased your ISO insurance coverage for the Spring semester, check out the plans that we have for your school online today- www.isoa.org
After a busy Fall semester, relaxing and resting are usually at the top of the list to do during the holiday break. Throughout your much needed break, there are the 3 G’s that you should keep in mind to avoid unnecessary stress.
Q. What is PPACA (ACA) otherwise known as “Obamacare” ?
Emergency Rooms: In the United States, the Emergency Room was created to deal with injuries and sickness that are life threatening. However, what is considered to be life threatening? Here are the top 5 reasons why you should go to the ER:
1. Continuous chest pains- This may be a sign that something serious is happening to your body and you may need immediate attention. Also, if you are having a hard time breathing, feeling sick and have a burning feeling along with these chest plains for a long a period of time, find the closest emergency room as soon as possible.
2. Broken bones – Breaking your bones can be very painful and if not taken care of immediately can dangerous to the rest of your body. For immediate attention, the emergency room is the safest choice.
3. Severe stomach pain – If you are experiencing a painful stomach ache that goes on longer than usual, get to the emergency room as soon as possible. Severe stomach pain can be related to infections, kidney stone problems or food poisoning.
4. Contusions head trauma or severe cuts- Injuries to your head is not something to mess around with. This may cause to experience seizures, losing your consciousness and repeatedly vomiting. If you are badly bruised and/ or bleeding heavily and you are unable to stop it, it would be best to go to an emergency room to get immediate attention.
5. Suddenly dizzy or disoriented - This may be a sign of a seizure, dehydration or something more serious.
o Urgent Cares: These are medical facilities that can deal with numerous conditions that need to be treated immediately but are not an emergency or life threatening. Here are the top 5 situations where you should go to the urgent care rather than the emergency room.
1. Skin rashes and infections - This may be a sign that there is inflammation to the skin. This can be caused by chemicals, soaps or even cosmetics dyes in clothing that are in contact with the skin. If rash starts to get worse or swells and becomes red, immediate medical attention may be required so that your condition does not get worse.
2. Bleeding or Cuts- If you get injured and you are bleeding (not heavily) and may require stitches, going to an urgent care is cheaper than going to the emergency room. They will be able to provide the same service as if you went to the ER.
3. Eye irritation and redness- There are many things that can cause your eye to become red and irritated. They range from allergies, dry eyes to computer vision syndrome (caused by staring at a computer screen too long). If your eye irritation and redness goes on longer than normal, get to an urgent care closest to you.
4. Moderate back pains- If you are experiencing these kinds of pains for at least 2 weeks, you may want to see a doctor soon to see what’s causing the problem. This may be a sign that something more serious may be happening in your body.
5. Fever – This is usually linked to an infection in the ear, lungs, or throat. It isn’t normally considered to be a dangerous condition and you can get treated properly at an urgent care.
Hopefully, these tips can help you on deciding on where would be the best place to go to get medical attention while saving money.
For those who are allowed the flexibility in selecting a health care plan, most students seek plans that are affordable, yet can meet their school’s waiver requirements. Most schools in the U.S. have specific waiver requirements, such as specific coverage for lifetime maximum, deductible and/or co-payment. Services such pre-existing condition and wellness and preventative care coverage might make the plan more appealing, yet it also makes the premium a lot higher. To most international students, they come to the U.S. with one goal in mind—to obtain knowledge. Therefore, if they need to pay extra for services that go way beyond their needs, it only becomes another financial burden for them and their family.
Service vs. Cost
According to the College Board’s Trends in College Pricing report, students spend up to $9,000 for room and board, $1,200 on books and supplies, $2,000 on personal expenses and $1,000 on transportation on an annual basis. These fees are solely for cost of living and do not include the actual tuition. Sri Charan, who attends the University of South Florida, said living expenses can cost up to $1500 per month for him. Therefore, when faced with a $2000 charge for health insurance from his school, he described that as being “really pricey” for an international student. Therefore, any additional fee for students, especially students from abroad, can seem like an extraneous expense that they might not be able to afford.
As a result, most international students want to find a balance between cost and coverage when it comes to health insurance, since few of them go to doctors on a regular basis and even fewer require supplementary services such as intercollegiate sports. Furthermore, many international students do not seek treatments unless it becomes a case of emergency Dorian from Kutztown University said, “I want an insurance that covers me for big problems, just to be sure that I do not have to spend thousands of dollars in case of emergency.”
Mandatory school plans
Currently, a big problem that many international students are facing is not being able to waive out of their school’s health care plan, since some schools have strict waiver requirements. Some students must meet one of the following requirements to waive out of their school’s plan—government sponsored, employer sponsored or covered under the parents’ insurance plan—which is hard to achieve for international students. With these tight restrictions, one can’t help but raise the question of why is it that schools are pushing students into their health insurance plans? The answer: convenience. According to the director of ISSO (International Student Services Office) for Oakland University, he labels it as: “… a huge hassle for the school when students have multiple [insurance] plans.”
What do students really seek for?
Therefore, unlike their U.S. classmates, many international students do not have the option to opt out of the school’s plan. According to Dorian, “The price, if the plan meets the school requirements, and if it covers serious problems,” is what he is looking for in an insurance plan. Similar to Dorian, most international students are not seeking for comprehensive plans like the ones they may have in their home country. Instead, they want a plan with medium coverage at a cost that they can afford.
Fortunately, companies such as ISO Health Insurance, is working with universities across the country to create plans that will not only meet their requirements, but also make them more affordable. Laura from University of South Florida said, “My school recommended ISO to me, and I haven’t had any problems when I went for treatments.” She then added, “It’s really easy for me!” There is nothing more important than staying healthy when you are abroad. With ISO International Student Health Insurance, students are able to have affordable health care plans that will meet there school’s unique requirements.
Health Insurance 101: if you think you are paying too much, you probably are!
If you are an international student, enrolling in a health insurance is as important as selecting the right classes for your major. Yet, with so many health insurance providers out there, it can be hard to decide on which one to choose, especially as the premium for health insurance becomes more costly.
To most first time insurance buyers, they are only interested in two things, the premium and the coverage. Many international students have very little knowledge when it comes to health insurance, and they often think the university’s plan is their only choice when it comes to selecting a plan. However, there are companies such as ISO Student Health Insurance that provides comparable plans with an affordable premium that’s only a portion of the school’s price.
Domestic Students vs. International Students
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “A Cure for Student Health Woes?” the average cost of student insurance plans is increasing on an annual basis. The annual cost of health insurance in public universities was $2,031 for the 2012-13 school year, a 9% increase from a year earlier. In private universities the cost of a similar insurance plan was $2,229.
Under the new Obama health care plan (ACA), American students have a more affordable alternative for their insurance. They can choose to continue being insured under their parents until age 26 or under their employee insurance if they have a job.
International students, on the other hand, may not have this choice. Some international students are automatically enrolled in the school’s plan and often do not have the option to waive out of it. Given the face that international student neither have parents who are insured in the U.S. or have a valid working status, many will be stuck with a huge insurance bill.
How to select the most affordable insurance plan?
In the U.S., in order to be considered a full time international student in school, most universities require their students to enroll in a health insurance plan. Some schools are going even mandating the purchase of the school’s own (and often more expensive) insurance plans.
As a result, ISO aims to create comparative plans that will not only meet the school’s requirements but also help international students to take a huge chunk of financial burden off of their back. For most foreign students, saving a few hundred dollars or more on their health insurance can have a huge impact on their lives and the lives of their family members abroad.
Living thousands of miles away from home can be a scary thing, especially when you don’t have a safety net to fall back on. Therefore, it is essential to choose an insurance that will both meet the requirements from your school and not put a hole in your wallet. There are many comparable plans out there and ISO Student Health Insurance is already ready to assist international students in finding the most affordable plan!
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