INTERNATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE FOR NIGERIAN STUDENTS ABROAD
Health is wealth.
Are you planning to study abroad?
What happens in case you fall sick? How would you pay your bills?
How can you access lifesaving treatments without having to break the bank?
Is it possible to have your health costs totally covered while you study abroad?
Rather than to have to pay from your pocket every time you fall sick, health insurance allows the insurance company pick up your costs. This they do in exchange for a premium which you will be paying from time to time.
Health insurance has become so much critical in our lives. it is now a fundamental necessity and not a luxury.
Your treatment is always determined by certain factors which include but are not limited to: lifestyle, medical history, predisposition to allergies and other factors.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING INSURANCE PROVIDERS
When travelling for education abroad, there are certain issues to consider in choosing the right health insurance provider. They are:
1. Limits of the coverage of the plans that the health insurance providers can offer,
All forms of insurance coverage often have limits which are clearly stated in the policies. If you’re unsure, go back to the policy documents and study them carefully. This would provide you with insight into how such insurance policies work in the first place.
2. The rules and regulations governing the provision of health insurance your country of destination
Government regulations on the provision of insurance vary from country to country. You need to understand how the government regulations would impact your cover. The easiest way to do this would be to look at the features of the policies that you are offered.
The features tell a lot about how the government regulates the healthcare providers.
3. The availability of government backed health insurance for international students
Government health insurance provides a lot of relief to those who have health challenges but cannot for one reason or the other afford the treatment costs that are meted out to them.
The availability of government backed insurance can indeed be the deciding factor of where you even want to school in the first place. This is because government backed insurance cover usually have a wider scope of provisions than private insurers do.
Private insurers are profit driven while government insurance is socially driven.
Should the country you intend to study offer government health insurance to international students; it is advised that you go for it. Ensure you stick to the rules and regulations of maintaining your insurance cover.
Many government health insurance covers are usually given free of charge or at the lowest cost available.
4. The coverage duration and conditions of termination of the insurance policies
You need to be aware of the various factors that affect the coverage duration and also of the conditions that may lead to coverage termination. The policy documents again hold the key for you to be able to determine this. As international student you need a health insurance cover that is valid until you graduate.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROVIDER
The following offer guidance as to how to choose the right healthcare provider:
- Health insurance requirements for the visa issuance
Some countries require that you have adequate health insurance in order for you to able to get a visa.
If so, then you must first fulfill such conditions and then get the visa which will allow you to go to study in that country. When you are now applying for the coverage, you can now choose the provider that meets the requirements of the country.
- Access to emergency services
Access to emergency services is a key component of adequate health insurance cover. Health incidences know no limits or locations.
This is why you must as a matter of principle choose a provider that offers unlimited access to emergency services.
- Limitations to Medical Facilities and Doctors
Some healthcare plans offer limitations to only certain facilities and doctors which may not be in your best interest. It is important use an insurance cover that grant you access to facilities and doctors who can treat you without any issues or prejudices.
Some conditions require referrals and the cost for the referral may come back to you if you have such limitations.
Also, if you have emergencies in a specific location outside an approved hospital, you may also bear the burden of the cost.
This is why you must have coverage that is able to take care of your needs regardless of condition and location.
- Medical Evacuation and repatriation
In the event of a life threatening condition that may require you to be evacuated from your host country to another or from one location to another within your host country for treatment; who bears the cost of the evacuation?
This is a very serious question which you must ask yourself when choosing insurance plans. Many plans do not cover such circumstances but yours should.
There exist clauses and cases for repatriation in some policies and it is in your best interest to be able to choose this for yourself as well.
The issues surrounding reimbursements can get out of hand if the right questions aren’t asked or issue aren’t raised. They are:
1. The question of upfront payments: It is of utmost importance to determine if upfront payments are to be made and why. The details of your healthcare policy contain information about this.
2. The information required from the doctors and the hospitals: You would have to be aware when you’re processing your reimbursements that there are certain specific details that the insurer requires if a reimbursement is to be made.
You have to be certain about this and make sure that this is transmitted to the insurer.
3. Claims documentation and method of payment: Every insurance system in different countries have how claims are handled and how best the reimbursements are paid to the applicants.
You also have to be aware of this so that you do not make mistakes which can cost you your reimbursements.
WHAT SHOULD BE COVERED IN YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE
- Minimum coverage
When the issue of minimum coverage is brought up, there exist multiple arguments as to the requirements. The following offer a guideline for you to be able to determine how best your minimum coverage should be:
- $50,000 coverage per condition or injury
Fifty thousand dollars may sound like a lot of money but it is actually very little when it comes to treatment of certain illnesses or injuries. It is better to be prepared for anything that may come up using the fifty thousand dollar benchmark as a minimum amount for coverage.
- Worldwide Coverage
While this may sound ridiculous. You may go on vacation with friends for the summer in a nearby country and something happens. How are you going to pay for the costs of treatment? I f you find yourself in this kind of situation, you will thank your stars that you had a provider who offers worldwide coverage.
- Emergency Medical evacuation
Your provider must be able to provide emergence medical evacuation so that at all times you’re not left at risk.
- Twenty four hour travel assistance
Many providers offer assistance even if you’re on a trip. Insurance in transit is something you should also put into consideration when choosing a provider.
OPTIONS OF INSURANCE COVERAGE
Below, you would find certain options of coverage that you could use for your own benefit:
1. School based insurance services
Some schools offer their own insurance services in-house or outsource. This transfers the insurance needs of their students to private insurers who are able to bring down the cost.
The providers benefit from the fact that they are insuring students in groups rather than singly. This may be included in your school fees and it is good for you to verify.
2. International Student Identity Cards
Certain services such as STA travel insurance offer student identity cards which provide coverage on a basic plan. This includes basic sickness, accidents, emergency evacuation, accidental loss of limbs and repatriation. You could also consider these kinds of services.
3. Independent Private Insurers
There of course are private insurers who would for a fee provide you with extensive coverage. Just run a search through your favorite search engine to find out which of those private insurers exist and offer such services in your destination country.
Health is what we all have to maintain in order to be able to live life to the fullest.
Are there any other ways of getting health insurance while studying abroad as a Nigerian Student?
Would you like to share any issues with health insurance while you were in school?
Please feel free to talk about it in the comment box below!