Students like me who came from countries that do not have insurance as one of its societal core values tend to misunderstand the importance of paying for something that doesn’t seem like we are using. It is like buying books that we would never read.
I remember a phone call with my dad during my sophomore year. I was letting him know how much I had to pay for insurance for the new school year and he had so many questions, “Why has the price increased? Why can’t you pay it in installments? Why is it blocking you from class registration?” All these questions that I had no explainable answers for. I believe other international students and their parents also have similar questions running in their minds. This is the reason I decided to talk to a few international students to find out what their thoughts are about the health insurance required for international students.
The first person serves as the voice of international students at MNSU is Avishek Pradhan, the president of International Student Association. He expatiated that the insurance covers most emergency cases, and is useful when needed. He has been paying since he started college in August 2016 and he feels student should be given the freedom to choose what kind of insurance they want. It should still be required to have insurance at the beginning of every school year because it is essential in case of emergencies, but we should still be able to choose from a variety of plans that considers different individual’s pockets.
A graduate student from Sri Lanka, majoring in Computer Information Technology complained that she doesn’t understand why the fee increases by at least $100 each year. There has been no informed reason why it increases. “The price is exorbitant for international student to afford”, she added. She went on to comment on the fact that the insurance plan does not cover dental or eye medical checkup. The insurance covers several medication students can get from the Student Health Services. From this student’s comments, I was able to understand that the insurance plan does have its petals and thorns. However, I believe that no insurance policy covers everything you want.
Dominik Drabent, a student from Germany studying Aviation Management and minoring in Business Administration and Gender & Women Studies, said, “In my opinion, the health insurance is a pretty good deal for an insurance.”
Other countries might have insurance relatively cheaper. Hence, one of the reasons international students might not see the value of paying that amount of money for health insurance. He explained that some of his American friends have to pay much more to receive the same coverage as our insurance offers. He is convinced that the insurance plan fairly offers a lot of different things for a relatively small price. However, why do we need to pay for the insurance during the summer before school starts in August? Most international students travel back home during the summer. Dominik thinks the payment deadline for insurance should be scheduled at a time when most or all the students are back in Mankato. An insurance office on campus could be a useful accessibility tool for the students. Both international and domestic students could go in and ask questions related to their insurance plan.
All these thoughts collected from students from various parts of the world unveils that everyone has different view of the insurance policy. Still, everyone has unanswered questions about what we are paying for.
To get more information about your international student health insurance plan, Kearney Center fir International Student Services has a page on the MNSU website, containing information and resources about the insurance. You should be able to print your insurance card online, and reach out to United healthcare directly using the contact information on their website, www.mnsu.edu/international/health-insurance.html.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.