Everybody has heard at least once that medical care in the United States is expensive. So, if you are planning to move there, you should get insurance.
In this article, you will find some tips that will help you find the best health insurance for foreigners in the USA. You will also get a better understanding of their health system.
Medical Insurance in the USA for Foreigners
In the United States, the health insurance system is mainly based on private companies.
Different Types of Insurances in the US
There are 3 main types:
- HMOs (Health Maintenance Organization): only cover care provided in their network of health professionals and hospitals. In addition, the insured must consult a primary care provider before going to a specialist
- PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations): cover all medical expenses, but the coverage is much better if the care is provided within their network. They do not require a referring physician
- EPOs (Exclusive Provider Organizations): cover only care provided within their network of practitioners and facilities but do not require a referring physician.
Important Concepts to Know
Here are some important concepts to know to understand how medical insurance for foreigners in the USA works:
- Deductible: is one amount the insured has to pay before the insurance coverage starts
- Co-insurance: when the insurance doesn’t cover all the expenses, co-insurance is the part of the expenses paid by the insured
- Maximum out-of-pocket amount: is the maximum the insured may have to pay in one year for health care expenses. When this maximum is reached, the insurance company will cover 100% of the health expenses.
What Is the Best Health Insurance for Foreigners in the USA?
The first doubt often arises when having to choose between local or international companies.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Local Medical Insurance for Foreigners in USA
For an expatriate, subscribing to health insurance based in the USA is only interesting if your employer takes care of all the fees. Many companies offer this benefit to their employees, even if they are foreign workers.
Anyway, it is important to keep in mind that this type of medical insurance in the USA for foreigners is neither the most protective nor the least expensive.
Indeed, they do not take into account the particularities of their situation and the needs that arise from it.
For example, they do not include repatriation or coverage for care provided in their home country. Some policies even cover the insured only in US territories.
Opting for a local contract also requires knowledge of the local health system. In all cases, it is essential to check:
- The health care networks to which the insured has access with the contract
- The coverage and reimbursement rates applied by the insurance policy
- If the insurance also covers all the dependents.
International Health Insurance for Expats in the USA
Another option is to take out international medical insurance for expats in the USA. It has several advantages:
- There are many offers are available on the market, at different prices. This allows you to find an offer adapted to your needs and budget
- This type of contract is designed by specialists who are fully aware of the specific problems of expats. They can mobilize the necessary logistics and assistance in case of need
- These policies cover their beneficiaries and their dependents in the USA. But also anywhere in the world, including temporary stays in your home country.
Medical Insurance for Foreigners in the USA: Social Security or 1st Dollar Policies?
Social Security and Its Limited Value as Medical Insurance for Expats in the USA
Some countries with Social Security insurances might offer coverage when the insured goes abroad. Since it’s a public service, it’s easy to join.
It’s not needed to fill out a medical questionnaire. There are no chances of exclusions nor changes in price in case of chronic illness or medical history.
But several flaws do not make it the best choice of health insurance for expats in the USA:
- Its reimbursements are not at all adapted to the costs of care practiced in the country. And the US is one of the most expensive in the world. For example, consultations are paid according to the same prices in your home country. And then, you must then pay the difference
- The basic Social Security covers only certain guarantees. And excludes, for example, repatriations, which are very costly operations.
It is possible to subscribe to a supplementary policy. This way you will benefit from better reimbursements and more extensive guarantees. But this represents an additional cost and does not simplify the management of the contract.
1st Dollar Policies: The Best Health Insurance for Foreigners in USA
Another solution, more adapted to expats are the policies known as “1st dollar”. Actually, they are considered the best health insurance for foreigners in the USA.
They are offered by private companies that have partnerships with networks of local providers. This guarantees optimal coverage and certain advantages, such as third-party payment in certain cases.
The benefits and coverage levels of this type of insurance are adapted to the situation of each expatriate. And they cover the expenses at the real cost of care in the United States.
The offers available on the market are numerous and flexible. And some are even designed specifically for this destination. Everyone can therefore find the policy that better suits their protection needs and budget.
In any case, good health insurance must cover at least:
- Current health expenses
To make your choice easily and quickly, it is advisable to use an online insurance comparator. It allows you to obtain free and detailed quotes, and thus to make your choice while being well informed.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are 3 main types of health insurance in the USA:
– HMO (Health Maintenance Organization)
– PPO (Preferred Provider Organization)
– EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization)
The deductible is the amount that you need to pay before the insurance coverage begins.
Coinsurance means that you and your insurance share the cost of the medical expenses. The coinsurance amount represents the part of the expenses paid by you.
The maximum out-of-pocket amount is the maximum amount that the insured person may have to pay for health care expenses in one year. When this maximum is reached, the insurance company covers 100% of the health expenses.