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Global Education: Health & Wellness

Health and Wellness Videos

US Health Insurance Explained

Learning about how you can understand your insurance plan and the process and systems can help de-mystify a lot of the questions you may have. In this series, we delve into the specifics of the US Healthcare system and how you can make the most of your insurance coverage.

Sexual Assault Awareness & Safety

In this section students can learn more about sexual assault and consent including what consent looks like, the age of consent by state, a video highlighting cultural views on sexual assault, tips for staying safe and how to be an active bystander.

Emotional & Mental Health Awareness

This section provides students with information on what mental health is, how to achieve emotional wellness, when and where to seek help, and common myths around this topic. Also included are two videos: one mental health overview and one on common stressors international students face.

International Student Insurance Links

International students at WCTC are required to purchase health insurance. 

Mental Health Video

Healthcare in the US

Emergency Information
In the event of a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 for help. Please note, you should only call for an ambulance if there is an emergency. Ambulances are very expensive and you may be liable for some or all of the cost.

Doctor Visits
     When arriving to the United States, you should find a regular doctor who you can visit when necessary (this may also be called “Primary Care”). You will need to schedule an appointment with the doctor and same-day or walk-in visits are discouraged or hard to get. Doctors are normally open from  9am-5pm but hours vary greatly, especially if you need to see a specialist. specialist.
     In the event that you need to see a doctor on short notice, try calling your doctor or visit the local Urgent Care. Urgent Care is a part of the hospital with walk-in services or a separate clinic. Depending on the date and time, there may be a long wait (up to 3 hours or more) to see a doctor. If you are sick on the weekend and can’t wait to meet with you regular doctor on Monday, Urgent Care is your best option. Make sure to check your insurance to see if a co-pay is required for urgent care and what you may be responsible for financially.
     Any time you visit the doctor, you should bring your insurance card and ID. Your insurance card will indicate if you need to pay a co-pay, or the amount you are immediately responsible for. Make sure to check with your doctor’s office to see if you must bring cash for the co-pay.

Preventative Care
Avoid paying costly doctors bills by taking care of yourself! Most insurance plans offer “free preventative” care at least once a year. This can be a visit for a yearly physical or women’s health visit. Also, make sure to get plenty of sleep, eat healthy meals, and dress appropriately. Be conscience of others’ health around you and wash your hands often.

Prescriptions
If possible, bring enough prescription medicine for your time in the United States. You should carry copies of your prescriptions when travelling to prove the prescription is yours. Depending on your insurance, you may be required to pay for some of all of your prescription costs. If your prescription is for a name brand medication, check with your doctor and pharmacy to see if you need the name brand or if you can use the generic version of the medicine. Generic versions are normally significantly cheaper. You should also note that most medicines in the US require a doctor’s prescription so you may want to look into bringing certain medicines with you, like antibiotics, for example.

Dental Insurance
Dental insurance is different for everyone. You should look at your past history with the dentist to determine if dental insurance is necessary. For example, if you have very healthy teeth and only go to the dentist once per year, it may not make financial sense to have dental insurance at this point in your life. If you have a past history with many dentist visits, you may want to purchase this insurance.

Eye Care
Eye Care costs can add up quickly. Try and bring supplies from home, especially if you wear contacts. If you need to get more contacts or glasses you must have an eye exam; once per year if you wear contacts. Shop around when looking for an eye doctor and look for “clubs” or specials that include free exams with purchase of glasses, etc. Remember: Costco and Walmart have eye centers! Many times health insurance comes with vision benefits. Determine if your insurance does and how to claim these benefits.