If you’re considering studying or settling in the United States, it’s a good idea to know more about the country’s health care system. In an ideal world, you probably wouldn’t need to know, but it’s better to arm yourself with the right knowledge because one day you may find yourself in an emergency and be unable to deal with it without the proper knowledge.
Healthcare in the US is not only one of the most comprehensive but also the most expensive in the world. It is indeed one of the most complicated systems that many Americans find difficult to navigate and manage, and very few understand the problems involved. So, here is a few basic pieces of information about the U.S. healthcare system that you should know about.
Healthcare Coverage is Not Universal
Unlike many countries, the United States does not boast of universal health coverage. President Obama and his administration have however tried to change this, and Obamacare is more all-encompassing than all the previous U.S. health care systems. Still, if the state doesn’t offer you coverage; you may be forced to buy your private insurance, or obtain the same through the place you work or the university you study in. In some cases, medical expenses are so expensive that they may literally break your bank.
Every University Has a Comprehensive Healthcare Plan in Place
It’s unlikely that you’ll be allowed to study in the U.S. without first coming up with proof of health insurance, or choosing the university’s health plan. Apart from catering to the university’s own requirements, it is also a federal law that you have health insurance as a student if you come with a J-1visa to complete your studies in the States. An F-1 visa is not legally required. Still, it is highly recommended.
Most Universities Come With Their Own Health Plans
Most of the universities in the U.S. have on-campus health clinics and plans that cover the student body. Studies show that larger universities can come with better healthcare plans for their students, but even small institutions can offer wide-ranging coverage. In the long run, opting for university health insurance plans may turn out to be cheaper than getting insurance with the help of private companies. University plans may also turn out to be extensive, such as covering the first-aid or flu shots to X-rays, laboratory work, or in some cases surgeries.
While it may be dependant on the individual to select the university health coverage or choose third-party insurance, some universities may not allow you to get out of the plan if your private provider may be located nearby outside the realms of the campus.
Healthcare, Your Personal Preference
Where you choose your medical care mostly depends on certain personal preferences. The U.S. healthcare system is divided into several sectors. The divisions include private care doctors, urgent care centers, walk-in clinics, small and large-scale hospitals, university health centers, pharmacies, and specialized medical centers such as dermatology, or optometry.
The plan you purchase may depend on how you can use this insurance. Some smaller doctors may only accept certain types of insurance, larger hospitals may turn out to be more accommodating. A walk-in clinic on the other hand, may treat you without the requirement of any insurance.
Costs of Insurance
With the Affordable Care Act, nearly half of the 40 million who were previously uninsured can be called fortunate to get affordable access to healthcare, which may cater to greater demands for healthcare providers. The cost of U.S. healthcare is now increasing by leaps and bounds. Americans are now projected to spend $3 trillion on healthcare this year. The United States as a nation can spend more than any other developed country in the world on healthcare.
Dynamics of Changing Relationships
A whopping 86% of consumers believe that if they are more proactive, they will get high-quality healthcare and outcomes. Patients are playing an active role in their care experience and are evermore empowered to choose what kind of healthcare they want to choose. Patients can now order refills, schedule appointments, consult with their primary care physicians, and more, through their online patient portals.
The growing association with technology may increase the need for medical assistants, medical secretaries, and IT staff, thus making healthcare easy and accessible.