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General Health Insurance Terms and Questions

What is the difference between short term and long term insurance?

There are many different reasons you may be looking into whether or not to get a short term or long term plan. If you plan on cruising for a while, read our page on frequently asked questions about short term vs long term insurance.

What is the maximum amount of money the insurance company will pay if I get sick or injured?

The maximum amount of money the insurance company will pay varies. Depending on the health insurance plan you chose, the amount covered is between $50,000 up to $300,000.

What is a deductible?
A deductible is the amount ($) of out-of-pocket expenses you must pay to the doctor or to the hospital before your policy will pay ANY benefits. In budget plans the deductible is per event (not per visit) and in the more comprehensive plans the deductible is either per policy period or per year. Check your insurance plan’s schedule of benefits for the correct deductible that you should pay.

What is Co-Insurance?
Co-insurance is the percentage that the insurance company will pay from the total claim, per event. It is the ratio (%) of splitting the bill between you and the insurance company. 80% for the first $5,000 means the insurance company will pay $4,000 and you will pay the remaining $1,000. Budget plans may have co-insurance followed by a cap. If there was a 5,000 cap, you would pay the 1,000, and ALL of the money after the cap. So on a $7000 bill you would pay 4k of the first 5k and then the 2,000 in excess of the cap. Comprehensive plans often not only have no cap, but will have a maximum out of pocket limit. So a plan with a 5,000 out of pocket limit, on the same $7,000 bill would have a very different outcome. You would pay the first 1k, then the PLAN would pay everything in excess of the out of pocket limit, so they would pay 6k of the 7,000 claim.

I just lost my job. How can I afford health insurance for my family?
Losing your job doesn’t have to be the end of your health coverage. By law you are required to be offered COBRA. COBRA covers you at the level that you had before you were laid off, but now you have to pay out of pocket. This can be very expensive. Short term insurance coverage can cost you a lot less and keep you and your family out of financial ruin with out of control health costs until you get your next job.

What is medical evacuation?
Medical evacuation means the transfer of the insured person to the nearest hospital or medical facility in case of an emergency injury or sickness or back to his/her home country. It could be done by ANY necessary mean of transportation.

What is repatriation?
In case of death, Repatriation covers the transportation of your remains back to your family and your home country.

What is a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition is any injury or illness that existed prior to the date your insurance enters into effect. A pre-existing condition includes any injury or illness that you:

  • Suffered from prior to the date your insurance enters into effect.
  • Received treatment for prior to the date your insurance enters into effect
  • Were prescribed medication for prior to the date your insurance enters into effect.


Who is eligible for international travel health insurance?

Eligibility requirements differ for each plan, but in general anyone living outside their home country is eligible for international travel health insurance. Different plans have different allowances for returning to your home country, the short term plans are most strict on this, often expiring when you touch down on american soil, the long term plans include more “follow me home” coverage for trips back to your home country to visit with family and friends or take care of business. Some allow as much as 6 months of every year back in your home country.

How do I enroll for one of your plans?
The easiest and fastest way to enroll is online. Most plans require little or no underwriting, so you won’t need a doctors statement, only a questionnaire. Full medical benefit plans for 1 year or more may require an attending physicians statement.

Do your health insurance plans meet the requirements of the U.S. State Department?
Yes. All of our student and visitor plans meet or exceed U.S. State Department requirements for foreign students with F1 or J1 visas.

What is NOT covered by your health insurance plans?
Every plan has a list of procedures that are not covered. Please be sure to view each plan’s exclusions since they vary from plan to plan.

What is a “Usual, Reasonable & Customary” charge URC?
A “Usual and Customary” charge is the amount normally charged by medical service providers for similar services and supplies in your area of living.

When does my health insurance plan become effective? 
Your health insurance plan becomes effective as soon as your enrollment and payment are received, processed, and approved by ISO. Your insurance may take effect on a later date if requested.

Can I purchase insurance for as long as I wish? 
The minimum initial insurance period that can be purchased is 3 months for any of our plans. The maximum period of insurance is 12 months. After 12 months you may renew your insurance if you are still eligible under the terms and conditions of the policy.

What should I do if I am sick or injured?
If you are a student and become sick or injured visit your school’s Student Health Center. If one is not available or cannot provide the necessary treatment, you should seek treatment with any physician or hospital (in case of emergency).

If you are NOT a student, you should seek treatment with a physician or in case of emergency – proceed to a hospital’s emergency room. Be sure to bring your medical insurance card with you.

Where can I find a qualified doctor or hospital?
You can find in-network doctors and hospitals at this website http://www.stratose.com/. The site will generate a list based on your geographical location.

Otherwise, you can go to any doctor that you choose with any of our insurance plans. However, a higher contribution on your part might apply.

ISOMed insured can locate their service provider at www.beechstreet.com.

Who can I call if I am not clear about the coverage and benefits?
If you are unclear about your coverage and benefits, contact ISO customer service at 1.800.244.1180. Their multi-lingual staff will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you.

Or, contact the insurance company, directly. The contact information of your insurance company is listed on your medical card.

My medical service provider (doctor, clinic or hospital) would like to verify what is covered by my insurance plan. Where can they call to verify coverage? 
Simply give your medical insurance card to the service provider and ask him to call customer service of either AIG at 1.800.551.0824 (for Compass Plans or Compass Voyager Plans) or ACE at 1-888-293-9229 (for ISO Med Plans). The numbers are listed on the card as well.

Do I have to pay the doctor or hospital?
Whether you pay the doctor or hospital depends on the procedure the doctor or hospital follows. When visiting the doctor, you might be asked to pay the bill yourself. In such a case you should claim a refund from the insurance company. In other cases, the medical service provider takes your medical information and contacts the insurance company’s claims department directly.

I received medical treatment and paid the bill out of my pocket. How can I get the money back?
To get your money back you will need to complete a claim form and mail it back to the claims department of your insurance company.

Claim forms are available at our website. Simply find your insurance plan to get your copy of the claim form. You may also request it by calling our office at 1.800.244.1180 and we will be glad to mail it to you.

I received a bill from the doctor / hospital! What should I do?
If you receive a bill from the doctor or hospital, fill in a claim form and mail the form with the original bill to the claims department of your insurance company.

For example, if you are covered by a company you need to mail your claim form and your bills to the claims department. Make sure to keep copies of everything for your own records. Each page covering the policy has links to the different claims forms.

Do I get a medical insurance card? Do I need the card in order to be treated by a medical service provider?
Yes, you will receive a medical insurance card from your provider. It is always advisable to you have your medical insurance card whenever you seek medical treatment.

However, if you don’t have your medical insurance card with you, please ask your service provider to contact either or your insurance company to verify coverage.

Do I get a new medical insurance card when I renew the plan? 
No, you do not need a new card. Simply continue using the same card you already have.

Which doctor, clinic, or hospital accepts my insurance? 
In general, you can seek service from any qualified doctor or other medical facility. Since our plans offer nationwide coverage, not all medical facilities will recognize the name of your plan. Therefore they might ask you to handle the communication with the insurance company. Bring your medical card with you and ask them to verify coverage.

It is possible that the medical service provider will fill in and mail the claim form on your behalf. Some of our plans offer an option to go to a doctor that is affiliated with the insurance company network (Multiplan). International Student Organization advises you to go to these doctors and reduce your contribution.

ISOMed insured students should seek service providers at www.beechstreet.com.

Can I pay for my insurance plan every month? Can I renew my coverage for one or two months? 
The minimum enrollment or renewal term for insurance is 3 months. If you are leaving the country you may renew for less than three months. If you need to renew your plan for less than three months for a different reason, please contact ISO’s Customer Care team and we will assist you.