terça-feira, setembro 27, 2016

How can an international student find a health insurance plan online in Canada?

When you arrive in Canada as a student, one of the first actions you must take is to provide a health insurance for your family. I already have mine. It's called University Health Insurance Plan, or UHIP.
You should be able to decide if you want the Health Insurance Plan offered by your college, or if you want to find one yourself.
In this blog post, my mission will be to describe all the steps I'll take, in the next minutes (or hours?), in the UHIP website,  to find all about a health insurance plan for my 3 dependants: my wife and two kids. I still have not decided yet if I'll want a 3 month, 6 month, or a 1 year plan. So I'll need to decide it, based on the prices I'll have to pay, and the options as listed in the Settlement.Org website.

That's the mission of this blog post.

With this information in hand, I'll decide if I want the plan offered by my college, or if I'll find another one by myself which would more financially interesting for me.

I don't have this information yet, so I'll search for it.

STEP 1: go to the UHIP website.

Here we are for the first decision of this user experience: do I want the website in English or French?
Let's choose English. My French is not that fantastic, even though the Duolingo app has helped me a lot to improve my French language skills.

STEP 2: where next?

So, I must decide where to go now. There are 14 options for me to choose. As I want a plan for my dependants, I can tell you that my experience in here was a fine one: there was a "dependants" button to click. Starting to have a feeling that it won't take me long to find what I need.

STEP 3: how much does it cost?

So the next information I need to know is how much does it cost to have a health insurance plan designed for my family's needs. I decide to avoid the first link I read through: even though it's an useful information, I just must believe what the website says: that dependants get the same health insurance coverage as me. Anyway, that's good to know.
Next decision in the page was to search for the cost to have the plan. So, I went straight to the link "How much does UHIP cost". When I clicked on it, there were 2 options ok links to be clicked. I chose "annual premium costs".

STEP 4: choosing the best option for my family

Ok, now we're dealing with this UHIP Premium Table. I want to decide which plan to choose. I know that I'm a UHIP member, and that I have 3 dependants. Ok, I will choose "Two or more dependants", for 12 months, at the price of CA$1224. Just found the first barrier: there are no links in the option I chose, so I can a) move forward and pay for it or b) go to my college's page and pay through them.
So, I decide to roll down the page a little bit more. And,ops...no more information or options for me to go through and pay. But there's one link that takes me to "How do I apply for UHIP". I click on it, and it takes me to some options. I read it and decide that I should click on "For more information about your enrollment as an employee or as a dependant, please contact your UHIP Plan Administrator  at your university. "


Well, the end of this user experience is not a "happy" one. That first Settlement.org wasn't that obvious, and it took me to all this process here, with the hope that colleges also were part of this "UHIP thing". But they're not. So, my last step was to go back to that page, Settlement.org, just to find that "For more information on how to enroll, contact the International Student Services or Registrar's Office at your university or college."

  So, anyway, clicking on "college", it took me to Ontario's colleges page, and there it was my college. And that's it. Mission unsuccessful, as I thought I'd have more options to choose. And what happened in the end is that I should only have gone to the college to ask for their health plan option. To find different options, I must now go search in another place. If there will be a possibility of having other options...if the college option is not the only one I have. And for that, none of those websites explained me about it. I'll have to ask Google for help again! User experience? A bad one!

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