Congratulations! You’ve arrived in the United States on a scholarship say, a Fulbright scholarship. What’s more, the program also provides international health insurance, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
Not quite. As is often the case, the insurance that comes with an academic grant is usually very basic, and does not cover healthcare for routine physical exams, dental, vision, or any treatment for a previously existing condition. In other words, it’s only for unexpected illnesses. Since you’re planning to live in the United States for a year or so on the J-1 visa, consider purchasing additional J1 visa health insurance.
Check your existing coverage with your institution’s international services department. Specifically ask them what is excluded from coverage, and determine whether you require additional insurance. Also remember that your dependents may not be insured under your research grant. It’s a wise idea to get major vision and dental work done before arriving in the United States.
If your grant does not include insurance, shop around for an insurance plan like the Patriot Exchange Program. While your home country may provide international insurance, reimbursements are easier through U.S.-based companies. If you’re under-insured, make sure you’re adequately insured right away, before you fall ill.