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FAQs: nib USA health cover

Why should I buy from an IDP counsellor?

Unlike the default plans provided by the institutions which only cover you from the time of enrolment (and during the working semesters) at the institution in the US, purchasing medical insurance through an IDP counsellor will ensure you are appropriately covered from the moment you arrive in the United States – providing peace of mind for the you and your parents.

Why can’t I purchase my health cover myself?

At this time, the preferred method of application for USA Health insurance is to discuss and purchase directly with an IDP counsellor. 

Why can’t I get a quote on the website?

Due to the specific factors that need to be taken into account when providing a quote for USA health insurance, you are best to request a quote from your IDP counsellor. 

Product/Policy Specific Information

Who is nib’s USA Health Insurance Partner?

nib’s US health insurer partner is United Health Care Student Resources. However, the health insurance product will be provided by PGH Insurance. 

What is health insurance?

Health insurance provides you with peace of mind. It also assists in protecting you and your family against the risk of financial loss should you suffer from sickness, accidental injury or disability while studying abroad.  

Do I need the cover in order to get into the US?

No, however it is a US federal regulation that requires exchange visitors, scholars and their dependants that hold a J1 and J2 visa type to buy adequate health insurance to cover them whilst they are in the United States.

F1 international students and their dependants are not eligible for federal aid, and must attest to their financial ability to support themselves while studying in the US. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that F1 applicants purchase health insurance to help support them should they fall ill. 

For both Visa types, it is a requirement for health cover to be in place in order to enrol at the institution of study, it is not required for the visa application, approval or entry to the US.

Why is health insurance important to have while in the US?

The US offers a high level of health care however, it can be expensive. Should an accident or illness occur, you could find yourself facing financial burden due to the costs involved. Inadequate cover may also prevent you from receiving the care and medical attention you require as some providers may refuse to provide services to international Students without upfront payment. By holding health insurance, you may reduce these costs. 

Who is eligible to purchase this product?

There are 2 visa types that are approved to purchase this USA product. They are:

  • J1
  • F1 (this may include those applying for ELP)

Key notes: 

  • You must be 16 years or older to purchase this cover
  • If you are applying for an OPT visa type you are also eligible to purchase this product as this visa type falls under the F1 or J1 visa type.  
  • If you are applying for an M1 visa, you are not eligible to take out this product, as this is a non-academic visa type. You will need to follow current processes. 

What scale of cover can be purchased?

At the current time nib will only accept the purchasing of cover for Single policies

As this develops, we will introduce the ability to purchase cover for couples and families and will advise you once this is available. 

Product Structure

There are two levels of cover available for when travelling to USA. The level of cover required to purchase is dependent on your institutions health insurance requirements. Your IDP Counsellor will be able to advice of the level of cover available by providing you quote from the nib portal. 

nib Elite Cover 

This is the preferred level of cover to purchase, as it is one of the highest level of comprehensive cover available and accepted at a majority of institutions. Coverage includes: 

  • No overall maximum dollar limit (per insured person, per policy year)
  • $3,000 (USD) maximum out-of-pocket per insured person, per policy year within the preferred provider network
  • $100 deductible (per insured person, per policy year) within preferred provider network ($500 per insured person, per policy year outside of network)
  • No waiting periods for pre-existing conditions
  • Access to 24/7 telehealth and counselling services
  • Access to UHG Global Emergency Services worldwide (except in your home country)

nib Basic Cover

This is the basic level of cover, which some institutions are willing to accept as health coverage requirements for their students. Coverage includes: 

  • $500,000.00 (USD) maximum benefit payable per injury or illness
  • $100 deductible (per insured person, per policy year) within preferred provider network ($500 per insured person, per policy year outside of network)
  • $1,000 (USD) limit for services relating to pre-existing conditions in first 6 months of cover 
  • Access to 24/7 telehealth and counselling services
  • Access to UHG Global Emergency Services worldwide (except in your home country)

For a more detailed explanation on the inclusions within each of the products, please ask your IDP counsellor for a product factsheet.

Does the product cover me only in the USA?

The US partner insurer’s product fact sheet will detail the specifics of the product. However, on this product there is a section on UHC Global Emergency Services, which covers you the same as in the US in any other country other than your originating (home) country.

Guidelines on Tenure and purchase periods

  • There are strict rules around the tenure of a policy with 12 months being the maximum a policy can run for.  If you are planning to continue to study, you will need to renew your policy every 12 months (or when your policy expires, whichever comes first).
  • The minimum time a policy can be held for is 3 month, no cover for periods less than this is available. Should you require health insurance for less than 3 months you will need to pay for the full 3 months of coverage. 
  • Policies cannot be backdated. 
  • You should purchase the health cover for a period of up to 1 month prior to the course commencement date (as shown on your I20 confirmation of enrolment).  If you wish to travel to the US earlier then this time, then you will need to purchase a travel insurance product until your student visa and health insurance comes into effect. 

Can I buy cover upfront for my whole time of study? 

Potentially, for courses that run for less than 12 months the entire time of study could be covered.  For any course which runs for longer than a year then you will need to renew your policy every 12 months (or when your policy expires, whichever comes first). As mentioned under the “Do I need the cover in order to get into the US?” topic you are obligated as part of your enrolment and visa to hold health insurance for the entire time that you are in the United States studying. So ensuring that you renew your health cover prior to the current policy expiring is key. 

How does the US Partner insurer product stack up against the default plans?

The US partner insurer product that is being offered through nib has been designed to be better than what is commonly understood to be the minimum standard required for this type of cover but is still very price competitive.

How do I receive my welcome pack?

You will be sent an electronic welcome pack from the US Health Insurer on enrolment prior to leaving your home country. In this welcome pack will be all the details regarding your cover including product fact sheet, plan brochure, policy number and links for you to register your details with the Insurer. 

How do I receive my card?

Once you have registered with the insurer using the links sent to you in your welcome pack you will receive a digital card that you will be able to access any time through your online services account or smart phone app. For this reason, there is no need for you to ever lose your card or require to re-order a card as it will always be digital. 

How do I use my policy?

Customer support including claiming, benefit payments, queries and general policy maintenance can be completed by you directly through your online services or smart phone App access, which allows you to view and update your policy details at any time.  

Our US partner insurer work on a digital basis and no physical card will be issued; you will be provided a digital card as part of your welcome pack.

For specific information regarding preferred providers, medical centres and the process to claim, you should refer to your plan brochure which can be obtained from our US partner insurer’s website and is part of the welcome email that you will receive prior to departing your home country. The website has information regarding services such as National Telehealth Service, Global Emergency Services and much more. 

Will nib and IDP have product fact sheets available?

Yes, the United Product fact sheet is available from nib and from your IDP counsellor. 

You will also receive a welcome pack from our US partner, which will detail the product and benefits. 

How do I opt out of the default plan?

Your IDP counsellor can assist you to opt-out of the institution’s default plan – Some institutions have enabled this to be completed online via the university or college website, if not then this can be completed during the enrolment process at the institute.

You will need to provide proof of cover (certificate of cover) and may be required to show the product fact sheet as well, this information will be provided to you before you leave your home country. 

What happens if the institution refuses to recognise the united product? 

Some institutions have specific requirements of cover and as such, the US Insurer Product may not be accepted by all institutions; however, we believe the product exceeds the minimum standards required for most institutions.

In the rare case where a university or college refuses to accept the US Partner insurer’s policy, you should contact your IDP counsellor or our US partner insurer and request a refund of the outstanding amount. Please note that there may be a fee charged. 

How do I apply for a refund if eligible?

If you are requiring a refund of a policy, please note the following rules and processes:

  • Policies purchased for the US, where the policy start date has passed, can only be cancelled by you making a request directly to our US insurer. However, please note that it is at the US Insurers discretion on whether a refund of premium will be paid.
  • Refunds for policies for the US, that have not yet commenced, can only be cancelled and premium refunded up to 10 days prior to the policy commencing.  To request the refund we ask that you contact your IDP counsellor to request this to be actioned.  
  • For any refund requested, please note that there may be fees involved during this process. In addition, please note that due to the foreign exchange rates, the amount refunded may vary from time of application. 

Updating your policy dates once your policy has been created.

If you require a change, in policy dates be it either the start and or end date of a current policy, please note the following rules and processes:

  • Policies purchased for the USA that have commenced, we are unable to change the dates of the policy. 
  • To request a change in dates for policies purchased for the USA that have not yet commenced and the premium has been paid, please contact your IDP counsellor and they will arrange this with nib. 

Updating your personal information once your policy has been created

If you are requiring a change to your personal details previously supplied EG: date of birth, email address etc. the following rules and processes will need to be followed:

  • Policies purchased for the USA that have commenced, we are unable to change the personal details on the policy. You will need to contact our US insurer directly to update your policy.

  • To request a change in details for your policy that has not commenced and the premium has been paid, we would suggest that for anything that requires to be updated that is not the email address, please wait until the policy has commenced and have the details updated through our US insurer directly. 

Payment Information

What is the advantage of Flywire?

There are a number of advantages to using Flywire over the current payment processes nib have in place for the Australia market.

Payments can be made in local currency and any conversion rates are already factored into the price so the payer knows exactly how much it will cost.

Flywire can offer better foreign exchange rates than the banks and using the system will save the payer money on the international transfer fees

All fees are handled within the system itself so what you pay exactly what is required (this means no more discrepancies due to banking or international transfer fees)

How do I register an account with Flywire?

Registration for a flywire account is free and easy. You the student or your IDP counsellor will be prompted to login or register on the first application. Once you have your account, set up you will not be prompted to sign in again. 

How can I pay for your policy?

Our payment provider Flywire handles all payments.  This requires a valid Flywire account to be created and is a requirement for facilitating the medical insurance purchase through our designated payment tool used by your IDP counsellor. 

Flywire offers a number of immediate payment methods to allow the student or counsellor to pay for the policy once registered.

This includes:

  • Credit Card payments
  • WeChat Pay
  • Union Pay
  • Alipay

 

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