The aggressive spread of the Coronavirus across the globe has put tremendous pressure on the US economy. As several businesses shut down or reduce their personnel, many employees not only lose their jobs but their health insurance too. More than 10 million have already applied for unemployment benefits offered by their states. But what happens to employees on a foreign work visa like the H1-B?
There are over 500,000 foreign high-skilled workers on an H1-B visa in the US who are largely dependent upon their employers for health insurance for themselves and their families. As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads and many companies are laying off employees including those on H1-B visas, these workers are in a conundrum about meeting their medical expenses. While COBRA, Medicaid and ACA will be applicable to US citizens, H1-B visa holders may not be eligible. So, what are their options?
Health Insurance for Temporary Visa Workers in the US
It is a known fact that medical costs in the US can be exorbitant. Trying to meet this from your own pocket without having health insurance can cost you a dear penny. This is exacerbated if you have pre-existing medical conditions and need constant care. 60% of all bankruptcies are due to medical costs arising without having medical insurance to cover it.
Approximate Expense For A Medical Emergency Without Health Insurance
How does the temporary foreign worker on an H1-B visa tackle medical insurance without having a job especially since his employer sponsors his medical insurance as well? Since the unique visa situation for many temporary workers does not allow them to access the domestic health insurance offered by the state, we outline some health insurance options for H1-B visa holders
Travel Medical Insurance
When an H1-B visa holder is uninsured through his employer, he is vulnerable to exorbitant medical expenses. Buying a travel medical insurance policy is a great option that can provide coverage for anywhere between 5 to 364 days. Not only is travel medical insurance one of the most inexpensive options available, it covers any new medical condition as well.
Looking for a Medical Insurance Plan as an H1B visa Holder?
Here’s a list of affordable travel medical insurance plans that will fit your needs
Inbound USA Basic, for example is a basic insurance plan that covers for urgent care and acute onset of pre-existing conditions.
Depending on the policy type and duration chosen, plans like these cover hospitals stays, diagnostic tests, therapy and certain medications.
It is advisable to read your policy brochure in detail and talk with your insurance provider to verify all information pertaining to your insurance plan before purchasing.
Short-Term Health Insurance
Another great option is buying a Short-term Health Insurance. It provides coverage between 30 to a maximum of 180 days. Although slightly more expensive than travel medical insurance, short-term health insurance plans have the advantage of catering to different budget options, with deductible and copay options.
Need a Short-Term Insurance Plan?
Here’re a list of your best options
For H1-B visa holders who may have gotten laid off due to the Covid-19 situation, short term health insurance plans can be activated the very next day and have a policy maximum of $2 million.
Safe Travels USA Comprehensive which covers all medical costs 100% after the deductible is met and also provides coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions is an ideal choice for H1B visa holders who might need a health insurance plan right away.
Talk to an insurance agent to clarify the policy details to ensure you have a suitable plan
If you are on an H1-B visa and have lost your job recently or are unsure about the future of your job in this Covid-19 climate, you have enough to worry about. Getting a health insurance plan to protect yourself and your family should be one less thing to worry about.