International Students and ACA Compliance at U.S. Schools…

GeoBlue_logo2It seems that more and more students living in countries outside the borders of the United States are coming to the U.S. to attend U.S. colleges and universities.  It has been reported that during the 2012/2013 school year that close to 1 million International Students attended school in this country.  Similarly, there is an all time high in numbers of U.S. students traveling abroad for their educational needs as well.  Although most U.S. students spend less time abroad, a vast majority of International Students from other countries spend longer periods of time here in the states.

Most colleges and universities now have requirements that all students attending their school must have proper medical insurance in place while attending the school.  If you are not able to show that you have an acceptable policy in place you more than likely will be forced to enroll in their own health insurance program.  The cost for the insurance in most cases is now higher for the school based plans than having your own coverage in place from private markets.

What About the International Student and ACA Compliance?

Some things have changed since the first of this year.  One being the actual implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its requirement that all U.S. Citizens obtain a ACA Compliant Major Medical Plan.  This is now the law of the land.  Most of the health plans that I have seen offered by schools in the years past were mediocre at best and not what I would call comprehensive.  When my daughter attended college we opted out each year of the schools plan because we maintained our own insurance and at less cost too.

Today most all U.S. schools have been required to upgrade and meet the ACA requirements for compliant health insurance coverage.  And that is fine.  But if you are a foreign student studying in this country you are not subject to this U.S. law.  You are not required to have an ACA Compliant health plan.  The school should in most cases accept your International coverage as long as it is comprehensive in scope.  The choice is still yours.

I talk to more and more students studying here in the U.S. and they tell me that their school told them they had to enroll in their ACA Compliant offered plan.  My suspicion is that this misinformation is being distributed by students working in the schools enrollment departments.  I am not sure if they have a clear understanding about what they are talking about.  Ultimately the school wants to make sure that all of their students have proper medical insurance – it is to protect them and the student.

What International Plan Covers the International Student in the U.S.?

GeoBlue Navigator International Health Insurance for Students and FacultyThere are several companies that offer “Student” plans but only a few are really comprehensive in scope of coverage.  And, only one is fully insured by a U.S. Insurer.  GeoBlue offers a plan called Navigator for Students and Faculty.  The GeoBlue Navigator health plan meets the needs of International Students and Faculty by offering comprehensive worldwide benefits – inside and outside the U.S. – without the typical limits, eligibility conditions and benefits exclusions common among traditional plans.

As global lifestyles emerge, the demand for comprehensive international health insurance has grown rapidly.  In response to this demand, a new generation of superior health plans is now available to serve expatriates and their families.  This is a positive development for American expatriates who have historically had limited choice when it comes to coverage.  Existing insurance options have often missed the mark because of limited benefits, long waiting periods, harsh exclusions, per-certification penalties, lack of portability and other hidden gotchas.

GeoBlue Navigator is the premier health plan for students and faculty because it combines these benefits with concierge-level medical assistance and easy access to an elite community of carefully selected hospitals outside the U.S. and a network of over 700,000 doctors and hospitals inside the U.S. through the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Network. GeoBlue Navigator gives international students and faculty peace of mind, knowing they always have the freedom to access top medical care and benefits no matter where their ministries take them.

Why Choose the GeoBlue Navigator Plan?

  1. A Recognized Leader in International Health Insurance and medical assistance services
  2. Highest Standards of Service, GeoBlue meets the highest expectations of quality
  3. Strength of a U.S. Regulated Insurer that protects your rights by meeting U.S. standards
  4. Group Quotes Available – Educational organizations can cover groups with 25 or more enrollees

GeoBlue Navigator Plan Highlights

  • Unlimited annual and lifetime medical maximum
  • Physician office visits including preventive care
  • Hospitalization, surgery and diagnostic care
  • Coinsurance: 20% in-network/40% out-of-network (waived outside the U.S.)
  • Prescription drug coverage included
  • Physical therapy, mental health and substance abuse
  • Medical Evacuation, Repatriation of Remains and AD&D

Top 10 Advantage over Competing Plans

  1. U.S. licensed and admitted coverage
  2. Cashless access to the best provider networks inside and outside the U.S.
  3. Choice of deductible options (waived for office visits)
  4. $30 office visit copay (reduced to $10 outside the U.S.
  5. Coinsurance waived for care outside the U.S.
  6. Pre-existing conditions exclusion waived with prior credible coverage
  7. No waiting period associated with preventive services
  8. No exclusion for specified conditions in the first 6 months
  9. No per-certification penalty imposed
  10. Sports and alcohol related injuries covered
  11. The strength of Blue. GeoBlue Navigator is offered in cooperation with certain local Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies

How The Plan Works

GeoBlue Navigator offers comprehensive benefits and a range of deductible options that allow members to select the right amount if insurance coverage for their budget and lifestyle. For families, the deductible and coinsurance maximum is a multiple of 2.5. After 364 days of continuous coverage, Navigator members may re-enroll in a plan that matches their existing befits. GeoBlue Navigator offers four deductible plan choices, $250, $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000.

GeoBlue Navigator has three tiers of coinsurance; 100% outside the United States, 80% in-network in the United States, 60% out-of-network inside the United States. All GeoBlue Navigator plans have an unlimited lifetime maximum and a $250,000 maximum benefit for emergency medical evacuation. The Out-of-Pocket Maximum is calculated by adding the deductible and coinsurance maximum together.

How to Apply

Applications are available Online via the quote link above or you can download the application here. A personal check, money order or credit care number must accompany the application and must be sufficient to pay for one month of standard premium. GeoBlue will hold the form of payment until an underwriting decision is made. If your application is accepted, the payment will be applied to your account. Quotes obtained Online or by telephone are advisory only. Actual premium is determined by the medical underwriting department.

GeoBlue will review your medical history as provided on the application and may request Attending Physician’s Statement. GeoBlue publishes standard premium rates for non-smokers. Smokers and other applicants with certain medical histories may be offered a policy at a higher rate. Not all applicants will be accepted. Your effective date of insurance will be on the 1st or 15th day of the month following underwriting approval.

GeoBlue Navigator Student and Faculty ApplicationTwo Options to Apply

  • Quote and Apply Online
  • Download Paper Application, complete and return to us via email or regular U.S. Mail.
    • Email Completed Applications to “sales@individualhealth.com
    • Mailing Address: Application Processing, P O BOX 6374, Jackson, WY 83002-6374

Who is eligible to buy a GeoBlue Navigator Plan?

GeoBlue Navigator is designed for extended living abroad.  You can choose to enroll in a new plan when your existing plan expires.  When you do, there are no medical questions and premium rates do not change based on your individual claims history.  Your new rate will be the same as all persons in your rating class.  U.S. Citizens and U.S. permanent resident living abroad who are 75 or younger at the time of application are eligible to apply for coverage.  Legal residents of the U.S. (citizens and residents) are eligible if they apply from an approved state.  The Eligible Member must be scheduled to reside outside his/her country for at least 3 months per year AND be involved in Educational activity.  This includes:

  • International Students living in an approved state
  • International Faculty and Research Scholars in an approved state
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) Participants living in an approved state
  • U.S. Students and Faculty, planning on studying outside the U.S., applying from either an approved state or from outside the U.S.
  • If you live in the U.S. and you are not in an approved state we may have other options for you
  • Underwriting times can be fairly fast – first response to applications can be within 24 hours

Get started and see what the cost is for coverage for you while attending school both here in the United States and abroad.  If you have questions call us (619) 435-6700 or send an email to “sales@individualhealth.com”.  We are here to help!

GeoBlue Navigator for International Students and Faculty

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About Timothy Jennings
Based in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I have worked in both the Domestic and International markets for most of my adult life. During the past four years the United States has seen a complete change in direction when it comes to accessing health care and obtaining mandated health insurance coverage. I have been an agent selling in the U.S. markets for more than 30 years. Today I work exclusively serving the needs of our International health insurance clients. If you are outbound or inbound to the United States I can help guide you through the process of selecting proper International Cover that is right for your family.

2 Responses to International Students and ACA Compliance at U.S. Schools…

  1. So it seems as if a student from Pakistan could be getting cheap health coverage in the US while the self-employed are actually seeing their insurance premiums go up by 40%.

    • Hi Richard… Thank you for your post. You are correct in your observation that rates for U.S. Domestic coverage is at an all time high and rising. The Affordable Care Act has had a huge impact on insurance rates. Some Americans are able to seek subsidies from the tax payer while others foot the entire cost of the insurance. I have been a broker for almost 30 years and I have no idea what the end game is going to be.

      International Health Insurance in many cases is less expensive depending on countries traveled to and how long someone is planning to live abroad. International Health Insurance that includes coverage in the United States can be pricey as well. For International students studying abroad whether here in the U.S. or another country have specially designed and rated plans that meet their needs. GeoBlue is one of these insurers that offer such coverage.

      For the student here in the United States the colleges and universities all require students to be covered. Foreign students studying here in the U.S. are not subject to the Affordable Care Act and thus the plans are less expensive. I hope this is somewhat helpful… Thanks again for your post.

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