Indians in Houston


Indian Pediatric Dentists

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Most recommended pediatric dentists from our community in area.

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Indian Family Physicians

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Indian doctors who specialize in family medicine. Fluent in at least one Indian language.

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Kassie Modi
Subash Ganesan
Prince Malani
Gagandeep Aujla

Emergency Rooms for Children

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Sanghamitra Choudhury

Indian Pediatricians

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Pediatricians recommended by the community. Fluent in at least one Indian language.

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Pratik Patel
Ronen Goren

Emergency Clinics

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Emergency clinics and ER for the whole family
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Sanghamitra Choudhury
Saba Sayed
Sameer Syed
Surabhi Kishore

Health insurance 101

by homeis

In the United States, if you are not covered by a health insurance plan (medical insurance), you have to pay for health care services yourself. There is no subsidization by the government, and the insurance is bought from either private or public companies. Prior to relocation, it is of utmost importance, as an employee, to know the costs of health insurance. As an employee, you are required to receive various health insurances through your employer without any form of discrimination provided you have a Social Security Number (SSN). At the event of no SSN due to the long wait involved, there are two possible solutions applied, either a policy of David Shield that will provide an appropriate response on the assumption that you do not have an existing situation or a case of pregnancy.

Basically, there are two major categories of health insurance plan:

  • Group health insurance or
  • Personal/individual health insurance

Group health plan is provided by your employee, government agency or workers union, with policies of least financial restrictions and serves to provide a more comprehensive coverage than the personal health insurance plan. The health care services covered include: vision, dental care, preventive care, well-baby services, and maternity care. A group health insurance plan may be self funded or fully funded where in the case of being self funded, the employer decides what kind of health care coverage the employee gets while if fully funded, the employee is provided all essential health benefits as required by Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The advantages that accrue from this category of health insurance plan includes: affordability, effective premium payment, enhanced job market/workplace. Its limitations include restriction in insurance options, poor flexible insurance network and complex tax implications.

Personal Health insurance is purchased by the individual from the open market without the employer being involved. This type of health insurance plan is much more expensive than the group plan and has limited coverage.

After the passage of the PPACA law, new essential benefits offered by all healthcare plans include:

  • Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
  • Emergency services
  • Laboratory services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth)
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Insurance Glossary

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The following glossary terms and definitions are commonly used in health insurance and may be different from the terms and definitions used in your own plan.

Allowed Amount

Maximum payment your plan will pay for covered medical service. It is also known as “eligible expense,” “payment allowance" or "negotiated rate."


A request for your health insurer or plan to review a decision denying you a benefit or payment (either in whole or in part)

Balance Billing

Difference between your actual billed amount and the allowed amount. For example, if the allowed amount is $50 and your provider charges $200, you will be billed the remaining $150.


The amount you pay to share the cost of covered services after your deductible has been paid. The coinsurance rate is usually a percentage. For example, if the insurance company pays 80% of the healthcare charge, you pay 20%.

Complications of Pregnancy

Conditions due to pregnancy, labor and delivery that require medical care to prevent serious harm to the health of the mother or the fetus. Morning sickness and a non-emergency caesarean section aren’t complications of pregnancy.


A fixed amount you pay for a covered health care service after receiving the service.


A fixed amount of money you must pay each year to cover eligible medical expenses before your insurer starts paying.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME)

Equipment and supplies ordered by your health care provider for everyday/extended use and may include: oxygen equipment, wheelchairs, crutches or diabetic blood testing strips.

Emergency Medical Condition

An illness, injury, symptom (including severe pain), or condition that is severe enough to cause serious danger to your health if you didn’t get medical attention right away.

Emergency Medical Transportation

Ambulance services used for an emergency medical condition.

Emergency Room Care/Emergency Services

Services used to evaluate and treat an emergency medical condition to prevent it from getting worse.

Excluded Services

Health care services that are not covered in your health insurance.


Complaints made to your health insurer or plan.

Habilitation Services

Health care services such as physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology etc that will help you learn, improve, or keep skills and functioning for your daily living. Examples include therapy for a child who is behind on developmental milestones.

Health Insurance

An agreement that covers all your health care services after you pay a premium.

Home Health Care

Health care services you receive in your home.

Hospice Services

Services that provide comfort and support in the last stages of a terminal illness for you or your family.


Hospital care that requires admission and an overnight stay as an inpatient.

Hospital Outpatient Care

Hospital care that usually doesn’t require an overnight stay.

In-network Co-insurance

Your share in percent, of the allowed amount for covered healthcare services and is also usually lower than in-network covered services.

In-network Co-payment

A fixed amount (for example, $25) you pay for covered health care services to providers in contract with your health insurance or plan. It is usually less than out-of-network co-payments.

Medically Necessary

Health care services or supplies that meet accepted standards of medicine required to prevent, diagnose or treat an illness, injury, disease or its symptoms.


The facilities, providers and suppliers your health insurer contract with to provide you health care services at discounted rates.

Non-Preferred Provider

A provider that is not part of a health plan's network of preferred providers. You will see in your policy all preferred, non-preferred as well as participating providers who have contracts with your health insurer.

Out-of-network Co-insurance

Your share of the allowed amount for covered health care services delivered by out-of-network providers.

Out-of-network Co-payment

A fixed amount you pay for covered health care services from providers who have no contract with your health insurer.

Out-of-Pocket Maximum

The highest amount you pay during a year for coverage. It includes deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance in addition to your regular premiums. Beyond this amount, the insurer pays all covered expenses.

Physician Services

Health care services you receive from a licensed medical physician (M.D. – Medical Doctor or D.O. – Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)


A benefit your employer, union or other group sponsor provides to you to cover your health care services.


A request where you seek approval from your insurer before receiving certain drugs or services except in an emergency, also called prior authorization, or precertification.

Preferred Provider

A provider who has a contract with your health insurer to provide discounted services to you.


An amount you and/or your employer must pay monthly, quarterly or yearly for your insurance coverage.

Prescription Drug Coverage

Health insurance that helps you to pay for prescription drugs.

Prescription Drugs

Your drugs and medications that require a prescription by law.

Primary Care Physician

A physician who directly provides your different basic medical services.

Primary Care Provider

Your main health care provider with due certification to serve as your health care home base


Any state certified or accredited physician or licensed health care facility that provides medical care

Reconstructive Surgery

Surgery and follow-up treatment needed to correct or improve a part of your body due to birth defects, accidents, or medical conditions.

Rehabilitation Services

Health care services such as physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology etc that help you maintain, get back or improve skills and functioning for daily living which were lost or impaired when you were sick, hurt or disabled.

Skilled Nursing Care

Services performed or supervised by licensed nurses in your home or in a nursing home.


A provider who focuses on a specific area of medicine or a group of patients to diagnose, manage, prevent or treat certain types of symptoms and conditions.

UCR (Usual, Customary and Reasonable)

The standard amount charged for covered medical services and supplies in your specific geographic area

Urgent Care

Care you receive for an illness, injury or condition serious enough for you to seek care right away, but not so severe as to require emergency room care.

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When you are feeling under the weather, turn to your kitchen. Home remedies are great not only because they are natural, but also because it is a part of your regular grocery. Food is medicine indeed, especially in Ayurveda, which uses food to get your body back into balance.

General ailments


  • Turmeric| Before bedtime, drink warm milk with turmeric and honey. You can add pepper to the mixture too. Turmeric’s antiseptic and antibiotic properties will soothe the cough.
  • Ginger & Tulsi (Holy Basil) | Mince fresh ginger and boil it in water. You can even add Tulsi leaves. After it cools, strain, mix with honey and drink. Both these ingredients have antibacterial properties that will kill the cough bacteria

Cold and Flu

  • Lemon| Hot water with lemon and honey will surely cure the sniffles. The vitamin C increases immunity and fights off the bacteria
  • Cinnamon and Cardamom| Powder these spices, boil it in water and make a tea. Add honey to enjoy the mix. All these ingredients are antiviral and anti-inflammatory.

Sore throat

  • Salt| It may seem simple, but gargling with salt water will clean out the throat, loosen phlegm and act as an antiseptic
  • Black Pepper| A decoction of raw honey and pepper will coat the throat and reduce the soreness.


  • Nutmeg & Saffron | Mix a dash of these into warm milk for undisturbed sleep

Stomach ailments


  • Amla (Indian Gooseberry) | This can be consumed diluted as a juice, which will help calm the stomach and heal the inflammation  
  • Jaggery | Ending a meal with jaggery will make the stomach more alkaline, thus reducing acidity. The stomach cools and intestine strengthens due to its high magnesium content.

Constipation & Gas

  • Ghee | Combined with warm milk, this combination will line the stomach and help you go to the toilet easily
  • Methi, Saunf, Jeera & Ajwain Seeds (Fenugreek, Fennel, Cumin and Carrom Seeds) | These seeds strengthen the digestion process since they each have enzymes and oils that stimulate the glands that secrete digestive juices


  • Banana | Its high potassium content binds the stool and relieves the stomach
  • Buttermilk | Live cultures of dahi (yoghurt) mixed with water will place good bacteria in the gut. You can have it with cooked rice and the starch will reduce the symptoms as well


  • Pudina (Peppermint)| Menthol’s strong scent, anti-cramping and cooling effect on the nervous system helps in natural nausea relief. You can consume it raw or boil the leaves.

Skin ailments


  • Neem | Apply neem leaf paste made from crushing and boiling the anti bacterial leaves to cure acne 
  • Papaya | Leave on a mask of squashed papaya for a few minutes on the affected area to get rid of the pimples, unclog pores and cool the affected area.

Bruises, cuts and stings

  • Potato| Raw shredded potatoes will reduce inflammation and their moisture will heal the area quickly 
  • Coconut Oil | Using this will prevent scarring, and its anti-fungal properties can heal wounds too.


  • Aloe Vera | The cooling effect of Aloe Vera will reduce the itchiness. Consider growing the plant at home so you have easy access to a pure source

Hair and tooth ailments

Hair fall

  • Henna | Used for natural cooling and coloring, henna leaves strengthen and condition the hair
  • Curry leaves | These leaves can be used while cooking, but also can be added to oils to stimulate hair growth


  • Cloves | Chew on cloves to reduce toothache, bad odor and kill bacteria
  • Garlic | Garlic can be consumed if you have cavities or tooth decay. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties promote oral health, but make sure you brush after you apply the crushed garlic paste on the affected area.  

Try these natural remedies and you won’t be disappointed to see your kitchen turn into a pharmacy.

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Shaina Lalani

If you have elderly parents visiting you from India, it is highly recommended to get them medical

insurance. This is especially true if they are coming for a long duration, already have pre-existing

medical conditions or are susceptible to health issues due to weather/food change, stress and

fatigue. Even if they are healthy and have planned many outdoor/strenuous activities during their

stay, its best to err on the side of precaution.

Usually you will see the option to purchase insurance when you book your ticket to the US.

Remember that travel insurance is not the same as visitor medical insurance. Travel insurance

protects you in case of damage to baggage, flight cancellations, delays due to weather and other

travel related emergencies. Medical insurance will cover new and unforeseen medical problems,

accidents and injuries.

To find the right medical insurance policy, there are some important criteria you should consider:

Cost of buying the medical insurance

  • How much do you have to pay per month to the insurance provider?

Coverage limit, policy maximum, deductible, co-pay

  • What is the maxim amount the insurance will pay in various situations? Is there an amount that you will have to pay every time you visit the doctor/avail a medical service? At what point will you stop paying out of pocket?

Comprehensive or Fixed coverage

  • Comprehensive policies cover many more instances of medical assistance and hence cost more. Fixed coverage is for very specific instances and have higher deductibles and co-pays, but lower costs per month. What works best for you?

Pre-existing conditions:

  • Are you suffering from health issues that exist prior to buying the policy? Are they covered by the policy?

Cancellable or renewable policies

  • In case your trip is cut short, is there a cancellation fee? Can you get a refund for the remaining duration of the policy? Similarly, if your trip is extended, can you renew the policy for the additional period?

Multi trip coverage and joint coverage for both parents

  • If you are travelling to and fro, multiple times within your visa duration, can the policy cover all trips? Will it be cost effective to purchase the same policy if both parents have different health issues?

PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) or Out of Network coverage

  • If you have a specific doctor in mind, or is most conveniently located, who does not accept this insurance, what will be the repercussion? How do I find doctors within the PPO network?

Customer care support

  • What is the customer care number if you have/don’t have a local US number? Is it toll free/24*7? How do they handle disputes/grievances?

Process of claims, refunds, billing, paperwork

  • What is the step by step process that I should follow from when I need to go to a doctor to when the medical treatment is completed? What forms do I need to fill?

It is better to buy medical insurance from a US provider because of customer care availability at US hours and direct billing by the doctor to the insurance company. However, if you still feel that Indian

companies are easier to communicate with and lighter on the wallet, you have options like Bajaj Allianz, SBI, TATA AIG, HDFC Ergo, Bharti AXA, Future Generali and Apollo. Some of the top plans for parents visiting the U.S. include Patriot America Plus, CoverAmerica - Gold, Atlas America, Liaison Travel Choice and Patriot America, as they all feature excellent PPO networks, reliable comprehensive coverage, and coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions. (US) and (India) are reliable portal to get quotes and compare policies. If the terms used are confusing, ensure you get it clarified and also explain the same to your parents. You do not have to do any medical tests prior to coming to the US, but if you have recent medical reports that may help the doctor assess your case better, carry that along as well.

Ensure that your parents have all the documents and payment options handy in case they have to deal with a medical emergency, and prepare them mentally. The groundwork is worth the peace of mind so both you and your parents can enjoy their time in the US. Health is priceless after all!

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Shaina Lalani