This is going to be a long article and will be accompanied by a video. Please take the time to read this properly and watch the video rather than ask me questions I have already answered in this article.
This article (and all of my articles) can be translated into many languages – look for and click the “Translate” button – usually in the bottom left corner of the page. So if you do’t fully understand this article in English, switch to your language to make sure you understand it well. Once you understand what I am suggesting, the video will make more sense even if you don’t understand my words on the video.
I am writing this in late October 2019. In about 1 week from now the new Healthcare requirement will come in to force. I described the introduction of the new requirement in a video here, but since the introduction very little information has been published about how to handle the new requirement in interviews. Anyone interviewing in November or December will be dealing with a new requirement with no solid information on how Consular Officers (COs) will assess this requirement. Frankly, I would not be at all surprised if COs themselves have no idea what to do. So I am writing this article to give a suggested way to prepare for and handle the questions when they arise. You don’t have to take my suggestion, and I cannot at this point guarantee it will be accepted, but once we have had feedback about the interviews, I will update this article to let people know what worked, or what did not work.
The new requirement is now described by the Department of State here. Please go and read that. As I read it, there are no specifics about showing a healthcare insurance policy. Here is the critical wording which describes how the new requirement will be handled in the interview.
Requirement at visa interview
During the visa interview, applicants should be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the consular officer that they have the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs or will have approved health insurance from the list above within 30 days of entry into the United States. Officers will review the medical and financial documentation that is already part of the applicant’s case file and may request additional information or documentation as needed. Prior to the visa interview, applicants may wish to review costs and eligibility requirements for approved health insurance plans or consider how they would pay for the reasonably foreseeable medical costs of any current medical condition they may have.
So – if you are interviewing in November or December 2019 – here are your options:
Option A: Ignore the new requirement and hope the COs have not been told to permanently refuse a case with no healthcare insurance plan. That would meaning “hoping” that the CO will either ignore the new requirement or at least put you on AP and tell you to follow up with proof of a plan for insurance. The policy states the CO will review medical and financial information that is already part of the file. So it is ESSENTIAL that you show adequate cash savings OR an I-134. You should already have prepared those, so I won’t go into great detail other than to provide this link about meeting financial requirements.
Option B: Prepare thoroughly so you can demonstrate you understand the new requirement and have a solid plan to get healthcare insurance within 30 days of entering the USA. In addition, just as in option A, your financials will be important to show you have the money to pay for your plan. So again – go and read this link about meeting financial requirements . The rest of the article is going to describe how to prepare yourself to prove that you have the ability to meet the new requirement. The accompanying video will show you step by step how to get quotes for healthcare options so you can print this quotes and take them to the interview. The CO will, hopefully, take note that you understand the process and the costs to get health insurance, and therefore will meet the commitment to get healthcare coverage within 30 days of arriving in the USA.
Preparation for Option B
In the published proclamation and also on the Department of State webpage about the new requirement. There is a list of the type of plans that would meet the requirement – but it basically boils down to two types of plan. One is to show that you will enroll in an ACA approved Healthcare policy, and the other is that you take a “Visitors” Healthcare insurance policy for a period of at least 1 year. Either of those options will cost a lot of money, so it is important that you investigate and understand the amount of money you will need to show. Remember, my suggestion, unless you have a lot of cash savings to show, is that you provide an I-134 from someone you know in the USA. That should (I hope) cover the financial aspect of the new requirement, if you also show a sensible plan that you can afford.
So what to do next. My video below will guide you through the steps you need to take for the following two quotes.
- Get a quote from the Healthcare.gov website for an ACA plan (this is the most expensive option).
- Get a quote and information for a Visitors healthcare plan. You can use my affiliate link for that type of plan here.
Remember I am ONLY suggesting you get quotes at this point. At the time of writing, I DO NOT think you have to purchase an insurance plan prior to the interview. You are getting these quote purely so that you can demonstrate that you have taken serious steps to make sure you can initiate insurance coverage once you arrive in the USA. I am hoping that COs will simply evaluate your need, understanding and ability to get the insurance within the 30 day window.
In reality you absolutely should have some form of healthcare insurance, as travel insurance plans may not provide adequate coverage or a system in place to handle the incredibly expensive costs associated with healthcare in the USA. A relatively minor healthcare event can certainly cost thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars. So – travel insurance policy providers will look to write exclusions so that they don’t have to pay for the huge costs involved.
Lastly, Healthcare insurance is a big topic. Whilst this article is about meeting the new requirement and passing the interview, you WILL need to get healthcar insurance in the USA. The ideal method is to get the plan through your employer, but in the interim period between arriving and getting a job with healthcare insurance, you should consider taking one of the visitors plans or, better yet, an ACA plan. Read more about that at this earlier article.
Please note that I am an affiliate of the visitors plan provider. If you choose a plan through my affiliate link I get a very small commission which goes towards the expenses of running this site.