The question of health insurance in the USA is one of the main concerns of foreign citizens who move to this country, and it seems logical!
In fact, the American system is totally different from other nations. We will help you to find the best health insurance in the USA for foreigners.
How health insurance works in the USA
In the United States, the healthcare system relies entirely on private companies and their networks of practitioners. Insurance can be grouped under the following categories: PPO, HMO and EPO.
All health insurance plans offer different levels of coverage: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) are the most flexible and widespread health coverage in the US. They generally have extensive networks of practitioners and hospitals.
All health care costs are covered, whether in-network or out-of-network, and there is no need to go to a general practitioner before seeing a specialist. However, out-of-network consultations are only partially covered.
PPOs generally charge more than HMOs. Large companies often include PPO membership in their employee compensation package.
HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) are the other major type of health insurance in the United States. Premiums are generally lower, but the restrictions are higher.
Actually, only care provided within the network is covered. Any consultation outside the network is entirely at the insured’s expense.
In addition, it is imperative to consult one’s primary care provider in order to be referred to a specialist.
EPOs (Exclusive Provider Organizations) are a kind of intermediate solution between PPOs and HMOs. They only cover care provided within the company’s network, but do not require a referring general practitioner.
What is the best health insurance in the USA for foreigners?
As you can see, the American healthcare system is relatively complex. In reality, in many cases, an expat will be better off with international health insurance in the USA.
Taking out local health insurance
If your company covers all or part of the cost of health insurance in the USA, it is worth considering this solution, as the amount of the contributions will be reduced or nil.
However, you should keep in mind that this insurance will only cover your care in the United States. During your stays in your native country or in other nations, you will not be covered. In addition, do not forget to review the benefits and make sure they cover all of your likely needs.
Choosing health insurance for expats
If you do not have any special benefits from your company, the best solution will generally be to use an international health insurance offered by a company from your home country.
On the one hand, this type of insurance does not cost more than an American health insurance, because they are all private companies without any government support.
On the other hand, dealing with a company from your country specialized in health insurance for expats will bring you other advantages:
- Communicate with people who speak your language and share your culture of health assistance
- Flexible conditions and easy-to-understand benefits
- Benefit from specific coverages for foreign citizens such as repatriation insurance or coverage of treatments performed during your stays in your home country or abroad.