Overview of the US Healthcare System for International Students



in this short video we will provide an overview of the US healthcare system and how to seek medical treatment the first step is what to do before you leave home before you travel to the US there's some simple things you can do it will make your life much easier and could prevent you from having to pay for things that are typically not covered under international student insurance plans one prescription medications if you are currently taking any prescription medications such as asthma inhalers make sure to bring a good supply with you along with your doctor's notes for those medications too I test opticians are typically not covered under international student insurance plans so get a check-up before you travel and make sure you have current prescription glasses and contact lenses 3 dentist make that visit to the dentist you have been putting off dental costs in the USA can be very expensive and will likely not be covered by your insurance plan for general checkup go to your doctor and have a check-up before you travel and make sure all your vaccinations are up to date with some advanced planning and preparation you can avoid uncovered expenses when abroad the US healthcare system offers some of the best medical care in the world but it is complex difficult to navigate and often very expensive the u.s. system will also likely be very different from the health care system you are used to back home in this section of the video we offer a few simple tips first like most Americans you will need a private insurance plan either through your school or one that you purchased directly there is no universal access or national health care like many countries offer when you seek any medical care the provider you choose hospital doctor or clinic will look to you and to your insurance carrier to get paid for their services there will be no payment from the government and health care can be very expensive in the u.s. here are a few recent real-life examples appendicitis 60,000 $493 fractured humerus 47,000 $445 fractured clavicle 18,000 $393 car crash or serious illness $150,000 plus we hope by now it's clear why you need insurance however even with insurance you should still be prepared to pay some portion of the cost of your medical care cost sharing is an important element of the u.s. system so medical care is never entirely free and each time you access the system you should expect some cost while your insurance plan will typically cover the majority of expenses there will be co-pays deductibles coinsurance excluded charges or some combination of these items that will ensure that you pay something carefully review your insurance documentation so you understand how these payments work for your plan when you get sick or injured where do you seek care here's where it can get complicated the medical system in the USA is made up of a mixture of many different types of providers large and small hospitals emergency rooms private doctor's offices urgent care centers walk-in clinics specialists offices surgery centers pharmacies and our favorite the on-campus clinic as daunting as it may look if you keep a few simple points in mind seeking medical care does not need to be overly complicated the main thing to do is if at all possible stay out of the emergency room emergency rooms in the US are expensive and are designed for life-threatening or very severe illnesses and injuries if you have the flu or a sprain or minor cut you can go to an urgent care center walk-in clinic on campus clinic or doctor's office for a fraction of the cost of the emergency room it's the best place to start if at all possible is your on-campus health center or clinic these clinics are typically available at reduced cost or even free are closed and convenient and even if you end up having to go somewhere else later we'll save you money under most insurance plans local doctors offices are a good affordable place to start your medical care as well often called general practitioners or family doctors these offices typically require an appointment and some doctors may not accept new or short-term patients if you can find a doctor you like and get an appointment it can be the best place to start often a more convenient option is a walk-in clinic or urgent care center with long opening hours no appointment or prior relationship required an ability to deal with a wide variety of medical issues these retail providers have become extremely popular they can cost a bit more than a doctor's office but much less than an emergency room and typically accept a wide variety of insurance plans of course for serious or life-threatening illnesses and injuries go straight to the emergency room connected to your local hospital they will be prepared to deal with any problem you have and will either treat and release you admit you or refer you to another facility it won't be cheap and it won't be quick but you are in the right place for a serious case a doctor at an office urgent care center or hospital may write you a prescription for medication in this case you will need to go to a local pharmacy to get the prescription filled there are lots of options available Walgreens and CVS are two of the more popular nationwide chains but Walmart and other grocery stores also have pharmacies in most cases you will need to pay for the medications fully and then keep copies of your receipts and submit a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement to review one prepare before you go to make sure you have insurance three plan to pay some costs yourself four stay out of the emergency room and start your care at an on-campus clinic doctors office or urgent care center whenever possible we hope that you have found the information in this video helpful and that you have a better understanding of the health care system in the US for more detailed information about various US health care topics please visit the insurance explained section of international student insurance WWE international student insurance comm / explain

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