H-1B 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.
Two Medical Insurance Options for H1-B Visa Holders
If you are travelling 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 approval.
Don’t forget to get insurance.
It is recommended that you get travel insurance when traveling to USA, as medical expense (even for common flu) can run into hundreds of dollars! Here are some of the best insurance for US visitors.
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 travelling 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 that 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 travelling to the US with an H-1B visa can ask their employers regarding 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.