Understanding Your Coverage
When purchasing insurance, be sure you understand what the insurance “covers” (“coverage” is the list of items for which the insurance company will pay the cost). Most “premiums” (the “premium” is the monthly, semi-annual or annual cost of the insurance) are not refundable. Examples of items you should consider when purchasing health insurance include:
- Pre-existing conditions (conditions that you or your family have already been treated for in the past by a medical doctor, such as asthma, cancer, pregnancy, etc., may not be covered)
- Pregnancy (most insurance companies will not cover a pregnancy that occurred prior to arrival in the US; many insurance companies do not cover a pregnancy that occurs while a person is in the US. If you or a spouse may get pregnant while in the US, it is important to make sure your insurance covers pregnancy.)
- Cost of prescriptions (some drugs that are used to treat illness require a prescription or “doctor’s order” in the U.S. and some insurance companies do not cover the cost of some drugs)
- “Wellness Visits” (some insurance covers the cost of routine doctor’s appointments and some insurance does not cover this cost)
- Vaccines (some insurance does not cover some or all vaccines)
- Vision and Dental Care: Most health insurance in the U.S. does not cover vision or dental care and it is not a requirement for the J-1 visa status. Scholars may choose to purchase additional plans in the U.S. to cover their vision and dental needs, or may choose to take care of these needs when visiting their home country.