When you purchase health insurance, the money you pay (your “premium”) is combined with the premiums of others to form a pool of money. That money is then used to pay the medical bills of participants who need health care. Your coverage remains valid only as long as you continue to pay your premiums.
Once you purchase insurance, the insurance company will give you an insurance identification card for you to use when you seek care from a hospital or doctor.
The insurance company will also provide written instructions for reporting and documenting medical expenses (“filing a claim”). The insurance company will evaluate any claim you file and make the appropriate payment under your policy. In some cases the insurance company pays the hospital or doctor directly; in others the company will reimburse you after you have paid the bills.
Factors while purchasing insurance
When purchasing your own insurance coverage, you should consider many factors.
The reliability of the insurance company. Does it treat people fairly? Does it pay claims promptly? Does it have staff to answer your questions and resolve problems?
Most insurance policies exclude coverage for certain conditions. The J regulations require that if a particular activity is a part of your exchange visitor program, your insurance must cover injuries resulting from your participation in that activity. Read the list of exclusions carefully so that you understand exactly what is not covered by the policy.
Many insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. If you arrive with a condition that will need medical attention, verify the pre-existing aspect of the policy that you are reviewing.