Hi, hi fellows!!! It is time to publish another WAT myth from the Work and Travel chapter of the Half-American book.
Ready to get some medical procedure? Just kidding, of course:)))
Myth № 5:
Health insurance – I am fully covered and I am going crazy!
Limited, very limited and you are not fully covered.
Not surprising, Work and Travel participants are not familiar with US health system. Unfortunately, reading twenty pages of convoluted insurance brochure is unlikely to help barely English-speaking students. So let’s talk about very basic aspects of US health insurance for Work and Travel participants. But before we do so, let just remind you one very simple and veeeery useful thing that will save you from major headache:
Be careful everywhere and all the time and take extra caution not get into any troubles! That is what your mom always told right? So listen to her! Read further why…
Heath insurance is mandatory – as a J-1 participant you have no choice – you must have medical insurance per Work and Travel rules. It should provide you with minimum coverage in case you are you sick or involved in an accident. If you don’t have health insurance during your stay in US your program participation is subject to termination! So no choice here, my friend.
Heath insurance is limited – the insurance that you paid for is limited. It usually covers sudden illnesses and emergencies, but may not cover routine medical procedures or checkups. For example, it may not cover dental or vision problems. So if you are getting blind or have very bad tooth pain that is your problem unless you have deep pockets, of course… There are many, many and again many limitations in the insurance. But the bigger problem is that students never study policy description or don’t understand more than 5% of complicated insurance jargon. Good luck trying to read and comprehend all nuances of the insurance brochure – better, do not rely on it at all!
Medical care in US is very expensive – if you have medical insurance, it does not mean it will cover everything and it is free of charge. Just because you think you have insurance, it does not mean you can jump out of window and be treated in United States for free. Oh yeah, don’t think you can go to hospital and cure that old pain while you are in United States. America is a country with one of highest costs of medical treatment in the world!
In fact, average cost of health care in the US is more than double the average cost of all other industrial countries. So, be extremely careful not to get into any troubles or you will immediately find yourself in a deep medical debt hole! Millions of Americans, even with insurance, have problems paying for healthcare bills. Do you know that medical bills in US is the largest reason of personal bankruptcy? Yep, high medical costs drive some Americans into bankruptcy. No wonder that some people in US prefer not to a access heath care as the associated costs are prohibitively high. Some will not want to visit a doctor for consultation when ill, or go for check-ups, take medical tests or get prescription drugs. Some even skip going to dentist because of its ridiculously high cost. Can you imagine, there is even a black market of unofficial dental providers solely focused on illegal immigrants or just poor Americans that cannot afford licensed dentists. That is crazy…
Now, just to give you an idea of how unaffordable and expensive medical care in US especially for students working for a minimum wage. Think about average dentist bill per one tooth treatment – about $300. That means that you will have to work more than week just to get your tooth pain fixed!
Medical treatment is not free – just because you have insurance does not mean that you will not have to pay for visiting doctor or receiving a medical care. Insurance does not cover everything and the medical services are absolutely not free. It is not free, you got it? Naive students, you should know that there are always deductibles and other fees that you have to pay out of your own pocket. Yes, you paid for the insurance and you have pay again… In addition, every time you go to see a doctor you have to pay a fee called copay – what is it? It is just another way to rip you off. Insurance that you have will not cover doctor visits completely. And yes, you have to pay all of that in US dollars.
Anyway, sounds kind of sad but we did not create it. So thanks for reading, it was another Work and Travel myth of “I am fully covered with medical insurance and do what I want”…
The best of luck and hope you will never have to use medical insurance!!!
Want to earn promised “average” $6000, improve English, enhance resume and refund your taxes? Good luck… but before you pay $3000 to Work and Travel agents check out these myths about the program:
- Money Myth
- English Myth
- Career Myth
- Tax refund Myth
- Cultural Exchange Myth
- Sex. Money. Work and Travel. Part One.
- J-1 visa interview with commonly asked questions (more than 100)
as well as other useful Work and Travel tips in the book
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