Healthcare Facilities for International Students in USA
The University of Arizona in the US offers a wide variety of health services to its students on campus, Image courtesy: health.arizona.edu
The quality & cost of the American healthcare system is one of the highest in the world. Unfortunately, unlike many other developed nations, it does not provide free healthcare. Therefore as an international student studying in the US, it is usually mandatory for you to ensure that you are covered by a health insurance plan.
For an international student, it is very important to know about the facilities available to them, what procedures to follow, and where to go, for specific care. Since the students are new to the place, prior knowledge of basic facilities can save time, energy and money.
Most universities offer on-campus health care services
Almost all campuses in the US offer some general medical facilities. The facilities vary from university to university. Some campuses offer first-aid facilities, while others have resident doctors. Usually, the cost of on-campus medical services is not that high. Make sure to take a copy of your medical certificate, all records of immunization, vaccination and prescriptions.
Health insurance plans by US universities
Many colleges and universities have their own health insurance plans for the students which are generally more affordable than the insurance cover provided by private insurers . Generally, bigger schools & universities have better student insurance programs than smaller schools. Most schools make it mandatory for non-US students to take these policies. For example, the University of Arizona requires all international students on non-immigration visa to sign up for its "Student Health Insurance Plan".
If health insurance is not provided at a university, then the International Student Office of that university can help you find an insurance plan that fits your needs. There are also offers specifically designed for international students. The best way to take an insurance plan from a private company is after talking to the seniors and on-campus International Student Office.
Healthcare Facilities Outside the Campus
In case you wish to go off campus for a treatment, you can:
- Visit a private doctor. In case of a non-emergency, private practitioners treat the patients by appointment, during normal office hours.
- Visit a minor emergency clinic. These clinics do not require appointments, and are usually open on weekends and on holidays.
- In case of serious emergency, visit the nearest hospital emergency room. The hospitals have ambulances; you may use that facility, if needed. Hospital emergency rooms are designed to treat life-threatening ailments; this is typically the most expensive place to receive care.
Make sure to communicate the details of your ailment, properly. In case you feel you will not be able to communicate properly with the doctor, ask a friend to accompany you.