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International student & dental insurance


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I'm moving to the US soon to pursue an MS degree, and am currently using braces (as in dental braces). Does the mandatory student insurance usually cover dental treatments for transferring patients at all?

Do dentists usually redo the braces for transferring patients (especially international ones)?


Any suggestions on how I should go about this?

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This varies greatly and will depend on the insurance offered by your university. In most cases I know of, dental isn't covered, but sometimes there will be a policy that students can purchase at some discount price. Again, coverage will vary greatly. You'll have to see what your options are and what the particular dentist or network you'd be associated would want to do, but we can't know what that would be. Honestly, if I had to guess, I bet it'd be easier to stick with your current dentist and continue treatment when you go home to visit (if that's possible), since an MS is a fairly short degree. More than that, though, I don't think we can really tell. 

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  • 1 month later...

I am an international student and I go to the dentist in my home country because a) the US dental system is SO expensive and b ) the US dental system is SO expensive. 

I have never heard student insurance covering dental. In my country, dental and eye is party of "health" so I was shocked that here it is not covered. I paid dental insurance for six months so I could go to the dentist and it was a waste of money. The dentist would tell me one thing in his office and then bill me for stuff he said were covered. I figured that it was easier for me not go to the dentist here. 


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In the US (and also Canada), dental insurance is usually considered separate from health insurance. The exception is when dental work is related to a health insurance thing (for example, you are in a car accidental and they need to do some work to remove broken teeth from your mouth).

My school offers health insurance and dental insurance as separate policies. The health insurance is mandatory (we must get it unless we show proof of equivalent coverage elsewhere) but the dental insurance is optional (we can pay $150 per year to get dental insurance). What each plan covers will vary a lot, but most student dental plans do not cover orthodontics (braces) very well because most grad students are 1) too old to have braces (since most North Americans get them between ages 10-16) or 2) too young to have children old enough to require braces. However, my plan does cover orthodontics at the 50% level. Unfortunately, there is also a maximum lifetime benefit on orthodontics of something like $2000. So it's not going to cover that much.

I also hate how US dentists operate, my experience with my first two dentists were like AP's. But I finally found a good dentist that will do two very important things for me: 1) when suggesting treatment, being actually honest with me about how medically necessary they are, and 2) running the procedure code through the insurance company and getting an actual quote before presenting me with my treatment options. Except for cases where there is immediate danger to my health, the dentist always offer a "do nothing for now" option and I am never pressured into doing any treatment. 

Vision care is not covered at all at my school, but we have been working to get it added. They have started looking at quotes and enrollment costs, with a potentially adding this benefit for students in a few years. 

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Just as another point of data: I have medical, dental, and vision covered through my grad student insurance. The grad students are unionized, which almost certainly contributes to our solid health care plans. 

But when I didn't have dental insurance or a lot of money, I would go to a dental student clinic. That may be an inexpensive option if you don't get insurance. 

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