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Health Insurance

Why Do I Need Insurance?

Salve Regina requires that you have insurance while you are enrolled. You will be automatically enrolled. The cost of insurance is $2,162 per year. Insurance helps pay for your medical bills. Without insurance, your medical expenses may be overwhelming. The U.S. government does help non-citizens with medical bills. You must have purchased insurance prior to being sick.

Apply for a Waiver

Students wishing to waive the Salve Regina health insurance plan must complete a waiver form prior to the first day of classes. To waive Salve Regina's plan, follow these steps:

  1. Research your insurance options (listed below)
  2. Purchase a 12-month policy
  3. Complete the online waiver request form

The waiver request form must be received by the time you arrive in the U.S.

Students who do not complete and submit the waiver by the start of classes will be automatically enrolled in the Salve Regina health insurance plan and the fee will remain on their student account.

Other Insurance Plans

If you choose not to purchase the Salve Regina health insurance plan, you must purchase and provide proof of an alternative plan. You are required to carry health insurance as part of your status as an international student. It is important to consider the type of coverage that will be needed and who will be included on the plan. Policy costs vary depending on coverage. For example, some policies exclude coverage of pregnancies, or coverage for care received in your home country. Before choosing a plan, carefully consider your personal and family health needs and weigh them against each insurance option. Some policies are listed for consideration below.

Understanding Health Insurance Language

Before choosing a plan, compare the different coverage levels of each plan. There are many terms and services that insurance companies have. Some of the basic terms include:


This is the amount you are responsible for paying each year before your health insurance plan begins paying for covered medical expenses.


This is the shared cost between you and the health insurance plan. The terms of your insurance will specify what percentage of the cost you are responsible for and what percentage will be covered by your insurance. These percentages are different from each plan and some plans may not offer coinsurance.


This is a fixed amount that you are responsible for each time you visit a doctor or fill a prescription. The copayments typically do not accumulate towards the deductible. Not all insurance plans offer a copayment.

Out-of-pocket maximum

This is the maximum amount that you have to pay for covered medical expenses in a year through deductible/coinsurance/copayment before your insurance plan begins to pay 100 percent of covered medical expenses.

Eye and dental care

Eye and dental care are usually not covered by health insurance. You will have to purchase it separately either with your company, if available, or through a different company.

Pharmacy vs. drugstore

"Pharmacy" is usually referred to as a store where you can purchase medications and medical products. "Drugstore" is usually referred to as a store where you can purchase cosmetics, toiletry items, hygiene products, first-aid supplies or over-the-counter medication. Many drugstores also sell greeting cards, gift cards, magazines and snacks. Most drugstores will also have pharmacies inside the store. The most common stores are CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens.

Prescription vs. nonprescription drugs

A drug is a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, prevention and treatment of diseases. In the U.S. culture, drugs and medications are used interchangeably. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates the sale of drugs in the U.S. They also determine which drugs can be purchased without doctor’s prescription and which require a prescription.

Prescription drugs:

  • Prescribed by a doctor.
  • Bought at a pharmacy.
  • Prescribed for and intended to be used by one person.
  • Check the label on your medicine before leaving the pharmacy. It should have your name on it and the directions given by your doctor.
  • Before taking any medicine, carefully review the directions and ask for clarification if needed.
  • Check for the expiration date and review instructions on how to use them.

Nonprescription or over-the-counter drugs:

  • Drugs that do not require a doctor's prescription.
  • Bought off-the-shelf in stores.
  • Make sure you can read and understand the directions on the container and on the color-coded warning stickers on the bottle.
  • Carefully review the directions before taking any medication.
  • Check for the expiration date and review the instructions on how to store them.

Generic vs. brand-name drugs

Brand-name drugs are medicines that are discovered, developed and produced by a pharmaceutical/biotech company. Once a new drug is discovered and approved by the FDA, the company files for a patent, which, if approved, gives the company the exclusive right to sell the product. During this period, other companies cannot produce the copy and produce the drug. This gives the company an opportunity to recover the costs associated with research and development of the new drug.

Once the patent on the drug expires, other companies will produce the same drug. The name of the drug will still be protected by the patent, but not the "exclusive right to sell." Companies that produce generic drugs can afford to sell them at a much lower price. Generic drugs contain the same active ingredients; they have the same effect as the brand name product.

If you are prescribed drugs, you can always ask your doctor if the generic version exists. Check with your insurance company to see what portion of the cost you are responsible for and make a decision accordingly.