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Hospital and Emergency Room

All of the medical television shows in the world won't make it any easier if you have to go to the hospital. However, if you're prepared, you can save time and money.

Hospital and ER | Dental & Vision | Campus Health Services | Safety

It's crucial to understand the differences between the health care systems in your own country and in the United States. It may surprise you to learn that the government here is not a major provider of medical care. Arranging and paying for health care is your responsibility. The best way to meet this responsibility is to obtain comprehensive health insurance coverage to protect you (and your family) against exorbitant costs.

Individuals without health insurance who are referred to a hospital for care or surgery may find that they are either refused admission to the hospital or asked to deposit $1,500 to $15,000 in order to be admitted. The daily cost for a bed in a semi-private room can be $750 to $1,500. Additional charges are assessed for surgery, x-rays, lab tests, consultations with specialists, medication, MRIs and CAT scans. It is not at all surprising for an uninsured foreign student to discover that treatment for what he or she thought was a relatively minor illness costs thousands of dollars.

Most universities have health insurance packages that they offer to students before registration, but sometimes those packages are more expensive than other options (iStudentCity's policy, for instance). Some universities may require you to enroll in the university affiliate health insurance program; however, in most cases you can apply for a waiver if your health insurance policy provides equal or better coverage.

Emergency Care

If a medical emergency requires an ambulance, don't panic. Dial "9-1-1" on the telephone, and give the operator your telephone number, the exact location of the emergency, and a brief description of the emergency. In the United States, the emergency room of the hospital is only for emergencies. If your case is not that severe, you may have to wait several hours for treatment.

Urgent Care Clinic

In the case of an illness or injury that is not an emergency, you should try to go to an urgent care clinic. These clinics are usually open longer hours than regular clinics, possibly also on Saturdays. They are meant for general sickness, and you do not need an appointment.

For more information about staying healthy in America, read this four-part series about health.

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