Foreign Force Majeure

Health Care

Our campus hosts students from around the world. It seems unfair that they don't receive the same healthcare and other services. What happens if they have a problem?

With over one million foreign students studying in the U.S., the true forum for this question should be the federal government. We all know the high cost of healthcare here, and foreign students are not eligible for coverage under ObamaCare. Everyone coming here under a student visa carries insurance to protect them just in case. In a serious incident, the medical bills can skyrocket, plus there are other personal injury claims.

Healthcare is such an integral part of American life now that most colleges require some kind of insurance as part of the enrollment process. According to the Commonwealth Fund, healthcare in the U.S. is the most expensive globally. Foreign students are not eligible for free healthcare so getting some kind of insurance policy is the only way to go.

The cost of healthcare can be astronomical and even a short stay in an emergency room will rack up an eye-watering bill. There is the option of campus-based health services, but these too can leave your wallet hurting if you are not covered. One of the most common reasons students visits campus health services are respiratory infections and you could find yourself being billed for cpap treatment. Despite the name, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is anything but affordable.

Insurance companies, in general, don't like making hurts their profits. This is especially true for foreigners and international students who usually fall under the ‘non-alien resident’ category. This status grants them the freedom to shop around for health and accident insurance that is not bound by the limitations of the ACA. One of universal limitations imposed by insurance companies, not bound by ACA, is the exclusion of pre-existing conditions. "This can effectively prevent foreigners who need cancer care," explains a leading Connecticut facility, "or treatment for other long-term illnesses from studying in the U.S."

Both health and accident insurance have defined benefits however, injuries in an accident can far exceed your financial coverage. Anyone injured on U.S. soil is entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit, regardless of their nationality or citizenship. Rights of international students are respected and they can apply to the same system for compensation.

There are a couple of advantages to securing compensation through a personal injury claim. There is no need to wait for an insurance company to pre-approve your care or risk being declined. You can be fully compensated for emotional trauma in addition to physical injury.

Some firms can also take care of a claim even if the claimant returns to their country. If the case goes to court, the plaintiff will need to return, though out-of-court settlements are usually preferred in these circumstances.

A statute of limitations determines the amount of time you can wait after an accident before making a claim. It can vary depending on the circumstances and the state so filing as soon as possible is usually advised.

College health insurance premiums are available for international students and they will be accepted by student health services, but in the case of an accident leading to injury where the causes are questionable, you need to file a personal injury claim.

In life, more than in anything else, it isn’t easy to end up alive - Roman Payne.

(Suzanne Hite is a former publications editor serving the technology services sector).


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