Without insurance, both health and car, entering the US short- or long-term could spell financial suicide.
Count yourself lucky if your school provides health insurance that includes the United States. For those of us WITHOUT such broad coverage, even a short visit home could spell financial disaster if medical attention becomes necessary.
On the bright side, short-term policies are available at what could be argued ‘reasonable prices.’ Don’t be surprised, however, if you don’t qualify for the lowest premiums. Insurance companies set prices based on the odds of whether or not they’ll have to pay claims. Because you’ve been out of the country, there’s no paper trail to attest to your current state of health. Nothing personal. it’s just that you’re a bigger gamble so you’ll pay more.
Short-term policies do have a big disadvantage: They expire every six months. Should a health issue occur during any 6-month period, that issue is eligible to be classified as ‘pre-existing’ and not covered in an ensuing 6-month policy. For educators planning to stay a while, a short-term policy may not be the best choice.
A COBRA policy may be what you need if planning a long-term stay, such as moving back permanently. Named such, no doubt for its stinging high price, a COBRA policy lets you extend an expiring policy for a set period of time. Be aware: Insurance companies know you will no longer be overseas where medical costs are reasonable, but rather in the US where prices are often 10 times that of many other countries. The monthly premium will reflect this. Ouch!! A COBRA policy can be useful until you find a suitable long-term policy.
Not to rub salt into the wound, but you’re also going to need transportation. America is not known for its transit systems. You could risk it and drive without car insurance, but if you end up in an accident of your making and someone is hurt, an ambulance chaser will litigate you into financial ruin. If you’re an American returning from overseas and cancelled an existing policy some years ago, you’ll be placed in the “lapse in coverage” category. For all the insurer knows, you’ve been driving without insurance. You’re high risk now and the price reflects it.
Leaving the United States is easy. Coming back in is a different story. Factor two kids and a spouse into the equation and …. well, you see the problem! ISR asks: What has your experience been with visiting the US or moving home in terms of insurance? What advice would you give newbies?
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