You are on an H1B visa and don’t have health insurance. You need to buy temporary health insurance since your employer is not providing it. What do you do? Here are your best options for health insurance for H1B visa holders.
H1B visas have become a hot topic due to President Trump’s policies of limiting the entry of foreign nationals into the US. This non-immigrant visa is designed to allow US employers to employ people from outside the country in specialty occupations for a specified period, under the Immigration and Nationality Act. And, if your job is sponsored by a top company in the US, your chances of getting the H-1B visa approved significantly increases.
In 2016, more than 40,000 companies submitted H-1B visa applications. Of all these companies, the top 20 sponsors managed to get 37% of all visa approved, according to the data released by the Department of Homeland Security. And, of all the top companies, Fortune 500 companies made up more than one-third of the 30 organizations with the most approved H-1B petitions.
Well, if you have managed to get a job in the US, the first thing you should think of is getting travel medical insurance before leaving home.
Medical Insurance Options for H1-B Visa Holders
If you are traveling to America for the first time, for a very short duration, visitors insurance becomes a must-have. Visitors insurance is a short-term, temporary solution against medical emergencies and other mishaps for a minimum period of 5 days to a maximum period of 3 years. Coverage starts immediately after the visitor insurance has been purchased. There is no need to wait for the approval.
Best Short-Term, Limited Coverage Visitors Insurance
- ChoiceAmerica: ChoiceAmerica is one of the leading short-term visitors plans that you are sure to come across while looking to buy travel insurance. The plan offers basic coverage and emergency services at affordable prices.
- Inbound USA (Discontinued – Update on March 04, 2020): Inbound USA is a fixed coverage plan, designed for non-US citizens traveling to America. The plan covers new medical conditions, injuries, and accidents. It does not cover pre-existing medical conditions but does cover for the acute onset of a pre-existing condition up to the policy maximum.
Best Comprehensive Coverage Visitors Insurance
- Patriot America Plus: Patriot America Plus is a comprehensive plan that offers 100% coverage up to the policy maximum. This is a good visitors travel insurance plan while you’re traveling to USA for a short time period.
- Liaison Travel Economy: Liaison Travel Economy is a comprehensive plan that provides medical insurance and emergency services coverage. It is underwritten by Nation Wide and administered by Seven Corners. After the deductible is met, the program pays 80% for the first $5,000 and 100% thereafter.
Insurance companies are usually wary of providing coverage for short-term customers with pre-existing conditions. However, domestic group plans provided by employers usually cover pre-existing conditions.
Domestic Health Insurance Policy
The less costly visitor insurance is for temporary visits and does not meet ObamaCare and PCPIA requirements. Moreover, the benefits, coverage, and variety of plans offered are less than that offered in domestic plans.
Domestic health plans are designed to offer medical coverage only to US citizens or legal workers in the country, and their immediate family members residing in the USA. People just visiting the US are not eligible for domestic plans. However, domestic plans are the best option if you are in the country with an H-1B visa and plan to stay for at least a couple of years. You can enroll in a standard domestic health insurance policy. However, domestic insurance has a longer waiting period and is also subject to approval.
People traveling to the US with an H-1B visa can ask their employers about the kind of health benefits offered by the company. In case the company doesn’t provide adequate health benefits, it is advisable to buy a health insurance policy from a private insurer without further ado.
Is health insurance mandatory for h1b visa holders?
All H1B visa holders must have health insurance while living and working in America. The high expense of healthcare in the US makes life without proper coverage unfeasible.
Can H1b visa holders buy health insurance from marketplace?
You can buy H1B health insurance through marketplaces or private providers. If you need a short-term H1B health insurance plan, you may buy them on websites like Insubuy.