If you’re moving back to the States following an overseas teaching gig, or just planning a short visit, think health insurance! Without it, a freak accident or sudden illness could leave you burdened with a debt that makes a student loan from Yale University look like a bargain. On the other hand, the sky-high premiums insurance companies charge those of us returning from extended periods overseas could tempt you to risk going uninsured. It’s a gamble.
With no recent State-side medical records to help insurers assess current health status, International Educators are a statistical risk. A teacher who not long ago returned to the States on a permanent basis tells ISR she pays a stiff monthly premium, with all health conditions exempted from coverage for 2 years, except accidental injury which carries a deductible of $4000 along with a 30/70 split until her 30% of any bills reaches 5k out-of-pocket. Do the math…
Exasperating the situation is the practice of charging those individuals seeking coverage a higher premium than someone who is part of a collective of individuals applying as a group. Interestingly, when insurance companies raise your premium each year they base the increase on total claims in your area, not your personal claims. You’re part of a group only when it’s convenient for them.
Consider the following: The CEO of Humana makes $16M a year. Anthem’s CEO takes home a cool $15M. I make $45K. The best policy I could find upon my return to the States was $950 a month (just over 20% of my income) with a $5200 deductible. I’m not willing to go uninsured, putting my house and financial future in jeopardy. This feels like extortion, not a safety net in case of illness or accident.
To cut to the chase: An International Educator returning to the USA pays high health insurance premiums simply due to circumstances and insurance company greed, not health status.
ISR asks: What’s the solution? Forego health insurance, putting your financial future at risk? Head to a country with reasonably priced health care if it’s just for a couple of months while you’re between schools? What about a family of 4 returning home who are living on savings while job hunting? Any advice or experiences to Share?
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