Overseas Care: Do International Students Need Dental Insurance

December 1, 2023

Just imagine: you are a student who goes to study abroad. Long acclimatization, homesickness, a lot of homework, and you start to feel a toothache to make matters worse.

However, everyone knows that dental examinations in the USA, like any visit to a medical institution, can cost a lot of money. According to Lasry Dental Clinic, a dentist visit without insurance can range from $120 to $3000. To avoid being left with a hole in their pockets, international students should consider getting dental insurance.

Today we will tell you how to arrange it, where to find the cheapest option, and unveil all the possible peculiarities.

Visa Category and Dental Insurance

It’s no secret that getting dental insurance for international students can depend on the visa category.

International students can visit the country on two different categories of visas – J or F. Those arriving on J-1 visas must have compulsory health insurance for the duration of their program that meets the requirements set by the US Department of State or visa authorities.

That is not the case for students with an F category.

For example, F-1 visa holders are not required to meet government standards, so some colleges don’t require compulsory health insurance for F-1 students.

But even if the educational institution doesn’t require it, we advise all international students to purchase insurance. Some overseas students mistakenly believe that medical care without health insurance is affordable. As a result, they ignore aches and don’t go to hospitals or end up with a hole in their pockets.

Is International Dental Insurance Included in Regular Health Insurance?

Speaking in one word, no. International students who purchase regular health insurance should remember that additional coverage, such as dental or eye insurance, can often be purchased separately or in addition to basic coverage. Even famous ISO doesn’t provide dental coverage unless the treatment is related to a covered injury.

Typically, companies offer two options: a strictly dental insurance plan or a medical + dental package plan.

While a dental plan works almost the same as common health insurance, where you have to pay a monthly fee so that insurer pays indemnity, purchasing the latter type of insurance means limited dental services.

Depending on the plan, international student dental insurance covers check-ups, fillings, removals, or emergency care. For more complex services such as root canals, coverage is less, usually 50% of the cost. So, it’s better to have dental travel insurance in case you are afraid of unforeseen severe dental emergencies.

Main Types of Dental Insurance

Dental insurance coverage may vary slightly depending on the area. But there are usually two main types: PPO and HMO plans.

  • The dental PPO plan includes a visit to a dentist from the network. As a rule, you will have to pay co-insurance** and deductible* at your appointment, and the insurance will take care of the rest according to its terms. However, there may be restrictions on when and how often you can get treatment.
  • There are no traditional deductibles or co-insurance plans in the HMO plans. Instead, there are fixed prices for each dental treatment; payment is required at the time of the visit.

*Deductible is a predetermined amount you must pay before the insurance disbursements start if something happens to you.

**Co-insurance means equity insurance payments, a percentage of the amount you will be charged after you reach/exceed your deductible. That is usually 10%.

What About the Price?

Let’s face it: a traditional dental insurance plan will cost you at least $50 a month. Of course, this price can vary depending on the company offering the plan and the coverage it includes.

If you want even cheaper dental insurance, go to the International Student Insurance website to find the best suitable student dental insurance plans according to personal conditions.

Moreover, many major colleges and universities offer cheap dental insurance for students tailored to a reasonable budget or have great dental discounts for students. They are often the best and most affordable dental insurance options and be sure to check if your health insurance covers your dental plan. By the way, the dental office for international students is often located on campus.

Is It Possible To Buy Dental Insurance for Students Anytime?

As a rule, you can buy students’ dental insurance plans during the open enrollment period, which is the yearly period when students can enroll in insurance for the following calendar year.

However, purchasing from the private market allows you to buy dental insurance whenever you wish.

By the way, remember that most health insurers apply a two-month waiting period before you can claim for general dental care or address any dental insurer with no waiting period.

Practical Tips for Those Wanting To Make Dental Insurance

  • Don’t put it off for later. Before coming to study, your insurance must be agreed upon. You may not need it on the first day of the move (although this situation can happen), but during your classes, everything should be ready.
  • Double-check your institution’s requirements. Some schools may have additional health insurance requirements, such as tax exemptions.
  • Read everything, even the fine print. Some insurance companies have unique needs, such as requiring you to attend classes for a certain number of hours each week. If you cannot complete them, the insurance will not be paid.
  • Discuss the nuances of insurance with an expert. Legal jargon is not for everyone. Discuss the nuances you don’t understand with a consultant, so you know about all the pitfalls.
  • Look for student dental discounts, just in case. It would be nice to play it safe one more time and find places where, if something happens, you don’t have to pay a fortune.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know almost all the peculiarities of getting dental insurance for international students. And once your health insurance is purchased, formalized, and you have the assurance of dental insurance, you can happily return to more exciting travel planning steps like compiling a study playlist or exploring all the places in the states you must visit. Essential things, you know.

Marian Sahakyan

Marian Sahakyan is a content writer and a journalism graduate from California State University, Long Beach with a background in marketing as well as UI and UX design. Marian’s previous writing and reporting has been featured in several community newspapers throughout Southern California.