Possible health plans in the USA
By now you understand that you better be medically insured in the United States. Note that you can select one of the three health plans available: PPO, HMO and II.
1. PPOs or Preferred Providers Organizations
PPOs are private insurance companies that provide employees with medical coverage through their company. In other words, the monthly contribution will be paid by the company which will pay into a "Health Savings Account" tax free.
They function like « mutuelles collectives d'entreprise » which is very common in Europe, the PPOs cover the medical expenses, consultation fees and hospitalization costs of their members in the condition that they will consult health professionals and hospitals that they will have previously defined and with whom they work in close collaboration.
2. HMOs or Health Maintenance Organizations
HMOs or Health Maintenance Organizations are entities that offer both insurance and medical services. In other words, by subscribing to this insurance company, in return for a lump sum contribution, you will be able to benefit from a complete care service in the event of illness.
You will then be able to get treatment by the health professionals of the organization, but also by other specialists paid by the act. Since they can treat other patients apart from the contributors, they must nevertheless be included in the list of professionals approved by the HMO.
3. The II or Indemnity Insurances
Undoubtedly the most expensive, Indemnity Insurances are independent insurance companies, means they do not depend on any company or organization. They are thus based on a fairly simple pension system: insured members will contribute according to the risks they wish to cover. The more important they are, the higher the contribution will be.
Which health insurance to choose?
PPO, HMO or II? To choose well, base yourself on your needs, on the real risks that you will incur and of course, on your budget. Feel free to inquire at the consulate of USA in your country before your departure and simulate your online membership upon your arrival. Comparing the various benefits you will receive and the costs you will have to pay will allow you to save some money.
In addition, to minimize the risk of illness in foreign countries, carry out a complete health check before your departure and make sure that all your vaccines are up to date. If, for one reason or another, you are following a long-term treatment, do not hesitate to take all your medications with you. This will save you from buying in the United States when needed.
Also lookup for doctors who reside and work in the city that you will be visiting and who can speak your language in case you have issues with English.
If your budget does not allow you to purchase health insurance in good standing, there is one last alternative: enrolling in a university as a student. This status allows you to benefit from medical coverage type HMO.
Note however that this care is not complete: the care is only reimbursed up to 80% and hospital costs are capped. But also admit that in exchange for weekly courses on the subject of your choice.
To help you better understand the American health care system, here are some expressions from the vocabulary often used in this area:
- Copay: equivalent of the "co-payment" in Europe, it is the remaining amount after insurance payment.
- Out of pocket maximum: this is the maximum ceiling that you will have to pay
- Deductible: this is the deductible, the minimum amount that you will have to pay.
- Coverage & Exclusions: this is the list of risks covered and not covered by your insurance.
Do not confuse the social security and health insurance
Although you will have to ask for it on your arrival, the American social security number (ESC015) has nothing to do with your health expenses. This number has a role of identification only.
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