Unlike many countries around the world, the United States does not have a nationalized healthcare system. This means that individuals are responsible to either pay for their own treatment out of pocket or purchase private health insurance to help cover the cost of their medical bills.
In addition, in the current healthcare environment in the United States, medical costs are perhaps the highest in the world. For example, an appendectomy can cost $60,493, a fractured humerus, $47,445, a car accident can cost upwards of $150,000.
Universities in the United States have developed multi-tiered plans to ensure the health of its students so that the overall university community is as healthy as can be and also so that students can maintain their health as they pursue their academic endeavors.
Tulane University has a 3-tiered student health strategy:
- Requiring immunizations from all students
- Providing on-campus health and wellness services
- Requiring students to have appropriate student health insurance
Please take the time to read about this important topic on the following pages. Many decisions should be made before you leave your country. If you have questions, contact the OISS. We are happy to point you in the right direction! For a brief overview we invite you to look at the international section of the campus health website.
Student Health Centers, located on both the Uptown and Downtown Campuses, provide comprehensive medical care through our Primary Care Clinics, including evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic medical illnesses.
Our Preventive Health Clinic includes women's and men's health, nutrition, allergy shots and immunizations. We provide accessible, high quality medical care for students during their time at Tulane University.
Visit campushealth.tulane.edu/patient-portal/appointments to view campus health center locations or schedule an appointment.
You will not be able to begin classes or move into on-campus housing until you login and report your immunizations by following the instructions here.
We recommend that you try to get any immunizations that are needed before you arrive in the U.S., as the cost here can be much higher than in your home country.
However, if you are unable to receive these immunizations in your home country, they are all available at the Tulane Student Health Center and are covered under Tulane’s student health insurance plan.
NOTE: If you receive the required immunizations at the Student Health Center and do not intend on enrolling in Tulane’s student insurance plan, you must provide payment for the immunizations or ask that they be charged to your student account.
If you charge the immunizations to the Tulane insurance, you will be automatically enrolled in the student insurance plan and responsible for paying all costs related to the plan.
It will typically be easier and less expensive if you take care of the following before leaving your home country:
If you are currently taking medications, make sure to carry a supply with you in your carry-on luggage along with a note from your doctor in English.
NOTE: Not all medicines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or allowed into the United States. More information, including a list of approved medicines, can be found in the FDA Orange Book: www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/ob/default.cfm
☐ EYE AND DENTAL CARE
Eye care and dental care are not covered by Tulane’s insurance plan (nor by most plans in the U.S.), so it may be less expensive for you to take care of eye or dental care needs before you leave your home country.
If you are interested in purchasing additional coverage for eye and dental care, check the Student Health website to view supplemental coverage options: http://campushealth.tulane.edu/
☐ CHECK UP & IMMUNIZATIONS
Get a checkup before you leave to make sure you are in good health and that all of your immunizations are up to date.
☐ HEALTH INSURANCE WAIVER
If you are a full-time F-1 student or a J-1 student who is full-time or part-time, you must choose to either enroll in the student health insurance plan or apply to waive enrollment by providing proof of other adequate coverage by the posted deadlines each academic year.
If you take no action, you will be enrolled in the student insurance plan and be responsible for paying all costs related to the plan.
The purpose of the Campus Health Access Fee is to provide Tulane students with comprehensive, medical, mental health, and health promotion services.
The fee is automatically assessed to most full-time undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The fee provides students access to the Uptown and Downtown Health Centers for medical visits, the Counseling Center, and services provided through the Center for Wellness & Health Promotion (theWELL). The fee allows students to see campus providers at any of these locations and to participate in sponsored programs or activities at no additional charge.
NOTE: Tulane University requires all students to have a comprehensive health insurance plan. Please note that the Campus Health Access Fee is in no way related to or a replacement for health insurance. Insurance is an entirely separate cost.
- Nurse Advice Line, available 24/7
- The Line for mental health support, available 24/7
- Access to care from the Health Center Uptown or Downtown
- Access to care from CAPS for Counseling Services
- Tulane Emergency Medical Services
- Care Coordination from CAPS
- Referral Coordination from the Health Center
- Access to health and wellness web resources
- Free safer sex supplies
- Assistance with using and navigating health insurance
- Health promotion workshops and programs
Many international students are caught off-guard by healthcare costs in the U.S. and don’t fully understand the importance of purchasing a good insurance plan for the duration of their studies.
Health insurance is designed to cover the majority of medical costs and often work with a network of doctors who are contracted to charge a discounted rate for medical services, making your overall visit more affordable.
International students are defined as any enrolled student that is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Degree-seeking international students must be enrolled in T-SHIP. Non-degree-seeking J-1 students sponsored by Tulane University must be enrolled in a university-sponsored health insurance plan and will receive more information during their onboarding process.
Are you an international student who is covered by a U.S.-based group health insurance plan (for example, a U.S.-based, employer-sponsored, ACA-compliant group plan)? Learn how to request an exemption to the T-SHIP requirement.
For insurance cost see campushealth.tulane.edu/insurance-billing/t-ship.
How to Enroll in Tulane Insurance
All degree-seeking international students will be enrolled in the T-SHIP and will receive information about how to access that coverage. Non-degree-seeking J-1 students sponsored by Tulane University must be enrolled in a university-sponsored health insurance plan and will receive more information during their onboarding process.
Tulane Health Insurance Policy does not allow for international students to waive university sponsored coverage.
"International students are defined as any enrolled student that is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Degree-seeking international students must be enrolled in T-SHIP. Non-degree-seeking J-1 students sponsored by Tulane University must be enrolled in a university-sponsored health insurance plan and will receive more information during their onboarding process.
Are you an international student who is covered by a U.S.-based group health insurance plan (for example, a U.S.-based, employer-sponsored, ACA-compliant group plan)? Learn how to request an exemption to the T-SHIP requirement."
We hope you find the below information helpful in understanding health insurance in the U.S. and what to look for while shopping for health insurance. When evaluating insurance plans, keep in mind that you must also meet Tulane’s waiver requirements. For example, if Tulane currently has a $250 deductible and you purchase a plan with a $1,000 deductible, you will not qualify to waive out of the Tulane insurance plan.
UNDERSTANDING OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES
While health insurance in the United States can cover most of your medical bills, there will still be a portion that must be paid out of pocket.
The deductible is the amount of money you are responsible for paying for medical expenses before the insurance company begins to pay on your behalf. For example: If you choose a plan with a $1,000 deductible, you are responsible for the first $1,000 of your medical bills. After your deductible has been paid your insurance company will begin to pay.
Most insurance plans have different deductibles for different types of coverage, for example you might have to meet a $1,000 deductible before your insurance will pay for a hospital visit, but only a $250 deductible before your insurance will pay towards prescription medication. Keep in mind that the higher your deductible, the lower your premiums will be each month, but you will also be responsible to pay more when you seek treatment.
Usually, even after you have paid the deductible, an insurance plan pays only a percentage of your medical expenses. The policy might pay 80%, for example, and you would have to pay the remaining 20%. The portion you have to pay is called the co-insurance. For example, if you were injured and your bill came to $3000 in medical expenses, a policy with a $400 deductible and 20% co-insurance would cover $2080 (80% of $2,600).
Not to be confused with co-insurance, copayment is the set amount you pay each time a medical service is accessed. Copay fees vary between policies, but are typically $25 or less. Your insurance policy for example, may require you to pay $25 for a doctor’s appointment and $10 per prescription up to a specified coverage limit.
Prescription drugs can be obtained from a pharmacy only with a doctor's written prescription. You may purchase a name brand drug ,that is an original drug, or a generic drug, a copy of a name brand drug made by another company. Generic drugs are usually considerably cheaper and are equally as effective. Over-the counter medications are available without prescription from the pharmacy or food store. Tulane University has a pharmacy in the uptown Student Health Center.
CHECK THE DEDUCTIBLE AMOUNT CAREFULLY
Under some policies the deductible amount is annual, meaning you pay only once a year if you use the insurance. Other policies require that you pay the deductible each time you have an illness or injury. Before choosing insurance, think about how much you could afford to pay out of your own pocket each time you are sick or injured. Remember, a cheaper premium may cost you more in the end.
A condition that existed prior to the start of insurance coverage, including pregnancy. Make sure that you verify that pre-existing conditions are covered.
Some policies have a specific dollar limit on what they will pay for particular services. Other policies pay “usual” or “reasonable and customary” charges. This means that they pay what is usually charged in the local area. Be very careful in evaluating policies with specific dollar limits; for serious illnesses, the limit might be far too low and you might have large medical bills not covered by the insurance.
It can be difficult to be away from home for so long and many students seek mental health care while in the U.S. Many international insurance plans don’t provide the amount of mental health coverage needed to receive a waiver from the Tulane student health insurance plan.
US Healthcare System Overview from International Student Insurance
DISCLAIMER: This video describes the U.S. Healthcare System and was developed by International Student Insurance. This information provided by Tulane University solely for the benefit of giving an overview and orientation to U.S. Healthcare and was not developed by Tulane University, not is it an endorsement for any type of services or products mentioned within the video.