In a health insurance policy, a deductible means the amount of medical expenses that you must pay out of your pocket before your insurance company will start paying any expenses. Once the medical expenses exceed the amount of the deductible, the insurer is liable to pay the rest of the expenses for each illness or emergency. For example, if a person falls sick and his medical costs are $250. If his deductible is $100, then he has to pay $100 after which the rest of the medical costs of $150 are paid by the insurance company. But if there is coinsurance, the remaining health care costs of $150 are shared by the insurer and the insurance provider. Coinsurance is a sharing of health care costs, with cost sharing ranging from 80/20 to 50/50. Typically in health insurance policies, an 80/20 is an effective provision where the insurance company pays 80 percent of the medical costs and the insured pays 20 percent. The 80/20 provision begins after the insured reaches the deductible. Until then, the insured is responsible for all his medical expenses.
Pay attention to the deductible amount when you buy a health plan. Some policies may offer a lower deductible rate but the premium may be higher. Deductibles are part of most policies to cover financial losses as a result of unexpected medical emergencies or illnesses. Think carefully about how much you can afford to pay each time you are ill or injured, weigh the deductible and the premium before you decide.
Before getting your insurance, do ensure that your insurance company meets the minimum rating requirements established by the U.S. Department of State. Your insurance provider should have an AM best rating of “A-“or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd(ISI) rating of “A-1” or better, a Standard & Poor’s Claims Paying ability of “A-“ or better, or a Weiss Research Inc. Rating of “B+” or better.
The rating is an important factor when buying health insurance and it is given to all insurance companies. It shows the financial strength and operating performance of your insurance provider. The rating provides consumers with all the information they need to make a good buying decision. An insurance company with a rating of “A” and above shows that the company is in excellent financial condition and that it can fulfil all your insurance policy requirements. In case the insurance carrier rating is not met, your insurance policy should be backed by the full faith and credit of the government of your home country. Before you get an insurance plan, remember that each state may have slightly different requirements on the amount of insurance, so you should verify the level of insurance required by the area of the country you will be traveling in. All these requirements apply to both J- visa exchange visitors and to their J-2 dependent visa spouses and children. Designate sponsors must inform exchange visitors of the health insurance requirement, in writing, in advance of the participant’s arrival in the U.S.
Benefits of health insurance
With a good insurance plan in place, you can be free from any financial worries caused by unexpected accidents or illnesses while you are visiting the US. They can help you cope with the prohibitive cost of health care in the U.S; covering medical expenses as well as evacuation or repatriation expenses. There are many types of health insurance available and your sponsor can help you find the right plan with good levels of coverage and benefit limits.
Exchange visitors may have some questions regarding their program such as extending their program, joining a new program and so on. Exchange visitors beginning their programs cannot enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the starting date of their program. Remember that your sponsor may extend the length of your program and if an extension is granted, a new Form DS-2019 will be issued to you.
If you want to withdraw from an exchange program, you must contact your program sponsor who will enter this information into SEVIS and you must leave the country immediately. In such a case, you will not be entitled to the 30 day post completion period, as you did not complete your program. If you want to take up a second J-1 exchange program in a different category and with a different sponsor, you will have to apply for a new J-1 visa and a new sponsor to re-enter the U.S. for your new program.
As an exchange visitor, it is good to be aware of all issues related to your J-1 visa, so you can look forward to an exciting stay in the U.S.