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Common misperceptions towards the US health insurance system

  • The U.S. government will provide health insurance assistance to international students?
    • False. The U.S. government does not pay any part of the medical expenses for international students studying here or for their family members.
  • When you have insurance, you don't have to pay for anything.
    • False. Oftentimes you have to pay for:
      • Copay (the amount of $ you must pay at the time services are given)
      • Deductible (the amount of $ you pay before the insurance coverage kicks in)
      • Coinsurance (The percentage of the total medical bill the patient is responsible for paying.)
      • Annual maximum out-of-pocket (Maximum out-of-pocket = Coinsurance + (Deductible). It's the highest total amount your health insurance company requires you to pay towards the cost of your health care every year. Some plans don't include deductible in the annual max out of pocket.)
  • You pay the same price if you go to an Emergency Room or a Urgent Care Center.
    • False. In many other countries, people either go to the clinic or directly to the hospital, it's not the same here. In the U.S, if you go to the Emergency Room when it's not truly an emergency case, the insurance company won't always pay your ER bill. Typical cost of an ER visit is $600, often much more. If it's not an emergency, make Olin Health Center your first stop. If Olin is closed, go to local urgent care centers. Visit Where to go when you are sick or injured (/wheretogo.htm) and Is this an Emergency? (/students/health_new/emergency.htm) if you aren't sure where to go.
  • You need to bring your insurance card any time you visit a doctor or hospital.
    • True. It's recommended to carry your insurance card with you at all times- medical emergencies can happen at any time. However, if you have a medical emergency, please go to the health facility immediately. You can submit your insurance information later or Olin will be able to look you up in the system.
  • Dental Insurance.

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