Not All International Student Plans Are Created Equal…

Protect Your Child with Proper Coverage

GeoBlue XplorerYour child(ren) has finally reached the age where they are college bound.  In addition your child has decided with your consent to further their education in a country outside the United States or home country.  So many things need to be done before you send them abroad on this new and exciting adventure.  One of which is securing proper International Medical Coverage.  In most cases the country and or the school will have requirements for proper International Coverage and some schools will require you to provide proof of this coverage in order for them to waive the school’s insurance program which in many cases is minimal.

There are a lot of “STUDENT” health plans being marketed Online and the cost variance from one to another can be surprisingly quite large.  There are reasons to be sure.  Not all International student health plans are created equal.  It is a weekly event where I have a conversation either by phone or email with parents or students looking for a International Health Insurance plan for their overseas education and the primary topic is always cost.  Some plans out there are very inexpensive while others such as our GeoBlue Navigator for Students seems to be a bit on the expensive side when compared.

There are many reason why this is the case some of which is clearly the benefit schedules.  Others are where the insurer operates from such as within the United States or Offshore.  Government regulations certainly take their toll on premiums but one of the largest areas of difference is in what is covered at the time of the claim.  All contracts out there have what we call a Pre-Existing Condition clause that basically is used as a road map to paying future claims.  Now I know this all sounds a bit boring but this is really one of the places where the rubber meets the road…so to speak.

Most quality Student plans that are annually renewable and truly provide global coverage including here in the United States initially go through an application process at the time of enrollment.  Most insurance companies use a process call Medical Underwriting to look at the health history of the applicant to see if they meet their risk criteria.  If approved – which most are, then the safety net in these policies is their “Pre-Existing Condition” statements.  These should be listed in every brochure you look at and generally they are found towards the end of the product brochure.  READ THEM!

Some of the statements a so broad in their scope that effectively the insurer can use them as a way to deny claims or certainly delay proper payment.  IT DOES HAPPEN.  GeoBlue has the very same Pre-Existing statement in their Certificates of Coverage but they are very specific, much shorter and they have clear time limits as to how far they can or will go back in time to see if the applicant left something out of their application regarding one’s health history.  It is important to note here that the Medical Underwriting process is designed to catch potential health risks at the time of application… as long a the applicant is truthful.

Example of competitive Student product with a disturbing Pre-Existing Condition Clause:

“Pre-existing Conditions: If an existing medical condition is disclosed on your application and not excluded or restricted by a rider, it is covered for a lifetime maximum of $50,000 ($5,000 per Policy Period), after you have been continuously insured for two consecutive and continuous policy periods. Otherwise, pre-existing conditions are not covered.  Pre-existing conditions are defined as any medical condition, sickness, injury, illness, disease, mental illness or mental nervous disorder, regardless of the cause, including any congenital, chronic, subsequent, or recurring complications or consequences related thereto or resulting therefrom that with reasonable medical certainty existed at the time of application or any time prior to your effective date of coverage under this certificate, whether or not previously manifested, symptomatic, known, diagnosed, treated or disclosed.  This specifically includes but is not limited to any medical condition, sickness, injury, illness, disease, mental illness or mental nervous disorder for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received, or for which a reasonably prudent person would have sought treatment prior to the effective date of coverage.  Exclusions*: The following conditions, treatments, supplies, services, and/or expenses are not covered.  

  • Treatment of the following which manifest themselves or are
    recommended, or in which symptoms occur during the first 180
    days of coverage: any breast condition, any prostate condition,
    reproductive system disorders, gall stones, kidney stones, any
    acne diagnosis or acne-related condition, any surgery that is not
    emergency in nature.
  • Pre-existing conditions as defined above.
  • Expenses for pregnancy within the first 364 days of coverage.
  • Claims not presented to us within 90 days of treatment.”

Here is the GeoBlue Navigator for Students Pre-Existing Statement:

“The GeoBlue Navigator plan does not cover services for treatment of a medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was
recommended or received during 365 days immediately  preceding the member’s eligibility date.”

“Creditable coverage
The 365-day pre-existing conditions period can be reduced or eliminated if you have been covered by a creditable group or individual health insurance plan.”

So what does that mean?

Will my pre-existing condition be covered under a GeoBlue Navigator plan?  If you were previously covered by a primary health plan that issues you a Certificate of Creditable Coverage, GeoBlue will credit you for this prior coverage. The number of months of coverage shown on the Certificate will reduce or eliminate the 12-month pre-existing condition waiting period. If you have 12 or more months of creditable coverage, your waiting period will be eliminated.  If you have less than 12 months creditable coverage, your waiting period will be reduced by the number of months you had creditable coverage. For example, if you have 2 months of creditable coverage, your waiting period will be reduced from 12 months to 10 months.  Please note: Surplus lines insurance does not constitute creditable coverage

Big Difference

As you can see by the example above there is a significant difference between these two Pre-Existing statements.  GeoBlue Navigator for Students is a U.S. based International Health Insurance plan that covers your child (student) not only abroad but here in the United States when they are home on vacation and in between semesters.  In the United States GeoBlue uses the National Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO Network of providers for elective healthcare and abroad you can go to any provider but you also have access to their International Providers when appropriate.  GeoBlue is a Licensed & Admitted Insurer.  This policy is a U.S. Admitted plan and affords members unique protections not available on most offshore plans.

If you are looking for the highest quality International Student plan available today then you at least need to consider the Navigator in your mix of plan considerations.  The Navigator is also available for students who are inbound to the United States and are legitimately enrolled in a U.S. school for further education.  Don’t get caught with potential claims issue after the fact.  GeoBlue Navigator is simply the safest place to insure your child or yourself while attending school.

Call me at (307) 690-0427 or send me an email to “sales@individualhealth.com” if you have questions.  I will do my best to provide you with accurate and timely answers to your questions.  Travel Safe and with peace of mind…

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