• International Insurance Blog

  • Friday, June 23, 2017

A new report released by the Lookout Mountain Group, a non-partisan group researching impact of healthcare reforms on students, says that the new healthcare reform proposed by the U.S. Senate has left out college and university-sponsored health insurance plans, which may leave a huge gap in student health insurance coverage. College insurance plans now offer international student insurance as well as plans for American students.

The healthcare reform bill, which is being considered by the Senate, classifies insurance plans into employer-based group plans and individual plans. College insurance plans do not fall into either category, the group notes. This might result in more students opting for “emergency only” insurance or going without insurance, both of which are dangerous.

However, several short-term health insurance plans are comparable in coverage and cost to college-sponsored health insurance plans. While it is not clear what benefits international students can expect under the new healthcare reform bill, options for insurance abound under the current scenario itself.

When looking for insurance outside the college, students must look for benefits such as regular check-ups, a wide PPO network, coverage for mental health and chronic conditions, as well as an A.M. Best rating of A or A+. This must be in addition to the emergency medical treatment benefits of the plan. Going without insurance should never be an option.
When you approach your insurance agent with specific insurance needs— yacht crew insurance needs, for instance—he may sometimes refer you to surplus line policies. Surplus line policies refer to special policies obtained through brokers when the requested policy is not available through companies licensed in your state of residence. They are used in situations where admitted insurance carriers do not provide comparable insurance.

Buying surplus line insurance is legal, but it is much less regulated than insurance companies. Your agent can only suggest surplus line coverage after checking that similar coverage is not available through any admitted insurance company.

The main advantage of using surplus line insurance is in case of unique insurance needs. Surplus line insurance differs from state to state, and mainly consists of business insurance where the risks are deemed too steep for admitted insurance companies. It is usually a last resort for most agents. Surplus line coverage can only be obtained through agents or brokers who are licensed to conduct business with non-licensed carriers.

The disadvantages in using surplus line insurance are many, but the primary one is the lack of any guarantee in case of non-payment of claims, or in case of the company going bankrupt. They are not covered by the Insurance Guaranty Association. It is always better to look for similar options with licensed and reliable insurance carriers whose policies are underwritten by reputed companies such as Lloyds of London and AIG.
Living as an expatriate in a different country lets you experience a country in-depth and closer than you would as a tourist. But that also means that you might live in a foreign country for an extended period of time, and part of that situation is medical care. Adequate international medical insurance is necessary for all expatriates, no matter where they are from.

Unless specified by their companies or organizations as a short stint of less than six months, expatriates must protect themselves with adequate insurance. The plans must not just include typical short-term benefits such as medical evacuation and emergency care, but also routine medical care, including regular prescriptions and pregnancy.

Plans for dependents are critical, as medical bills for children can add up quickly. Babies are particularly vulnerable to infections that their bodies have not been exposed to. If, as an expat, you will be driving a car, remember to purchase adequate auto insurance as well. If your company will take care of your insurance, check the benefits and fill in any gaps with additional insurance.

Also remember to purchase adequate international travel insurance if you will travel to other countries as an expat. Being an expat can be an interesting and eye-opening experience; be ready to embrace it fully with adequate insurance!
With winter just around the corner, skiers are waiting for the powder so that they can hit the slopes. Ski holidays in Europe are becoming more popular, and as a result, accidents are also becoming more common. Having adequate international travel insurance will ensure that a minor accident will not prove too costly.

If you’re going on a ski trip, you might need to purchase either an international travel insurance plan tailor-made for skiing, or one with hazardous sports coverage. Look for the following benefits in your travel insurance: emergency medical evacuation, physiotherapy, and trip cancellation and interruption. These will prove very handy, as an accident might influence many parts of your trip.

Regardless of whether you have insurance, following some basic guidelines when skiing can help you stay safe. Try and ski in a group, or at least have a ski partner on the slope who can check that you are back safe. Ski on runs that suit your ability, and make sure that you follow all signs and safety procedures outlined by the resort.

Remember not to drink any alcohol before skiing. Not only is it dangerous--in case of any accident, the presence of alcohol in your blood may be grounds for rejecting your insurance claim.
A recent study by scientists from the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. and the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network indicates that travel that extends beyond six months is associated with elevated health risks. The study underscores the importance of international travel health insurance for all those who undertake overseas trips.

Data collected from six continents over a period of 12 years suggest that those who traveled for over six months were more likely to suffer from fatigue, chronic diarrhea, malaria, and post-infectious bowel syndrome. Those undertaking longer trips also suffered from psychological problems such as depression, stress, and fatigue.

The study also found that a high number of missionary and volunteer workers suffered from stress and other ailments. Missionary workers often work under minimal sanitary conditions and stressful situations, and that doubtless contributes to the high percentage of illnesses among missionaries. Adequate missionary insurance will help deal with the problem.

The stress of dealing with the physical condition in an alien land begets psychological problems as well. While medical problems might be something that the traveler might not be able to totally eradicate, adequate international travel medical insurance will take the stress out of the equation. However, it is important to wash hands often and take care when traveling abroad.
In the United States, more than a quarter (26.2%) of adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Student life, especially the life of an international student, can be fraught with emotional stress and trauma. However, mental health care is expensive in the United States. International student insurance plans must also cover mental health care.

Many college-sponsored plans cover psychiatric care and insist that outside international student health insurance also provide the benefit to some extent. Alcohol and substance abuse dependency problems are also covered under most student health insurance plans.

If you are an international student suffering from depression or anxiety, the first stop will be the college student health center, where you will most likely meet the college mental health counselor. The counselor will prescribe a course of action. Check for extent of coverage and out-of-pocket expenses for the treatment suggested by the counselor.

However, remember that receiving mental health treatment under an insurance plan can prove costly in the long run. It could be recorded as a pre-existing condition, and subsequent insurance plans you purchase might increase the premium. Remember that several federal clinics and non-profits also help you receive treatment for free. Under any circumstance, do not avoid getting treatment in case of mental illness.

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