Health insurance for students in the United States


Unlike many countries in the world, the United States does not have a government-run health care system.

This means that each individual must either pay for treatment out of pocket or purchase private health insurance to cover their medical expenses while in the United States.

In fact, many international students find themselves trapped by the cost of healthcare in the United States. And they are not fully aware of the importance of getting the right insurance to cover the duration of their studies.

Basically, health insurance covers most of the medical expenses of international students. These insurances usually work with a network of doctors who have been hired to offer medical services at a discounted rate. This will make your visit more affordable.

Meeting Visa Requirements for Health Insurance in the United States

For visas, health insurance requirements for international students vary depending on their situation. There are two types: J1 visa and F1 visa.

J-1 Visa
For a J visa (for those on exchange or training programs), students and researchers must purchase an insurance plan that meets a list of criteria established by the government.

F-1 Visa
This visa is issued to foreign students who will enroll in a university or English language study program at a U.S. university or college.

There are no government requirements for foreign students on an F-1 visa. Instead, they must purchase insurance that meets their studying requirements.

Some colleges or universities may request for students purchase a group insurance plan.

In other cases, they may be able to choose the insurance plan that is right for them.

School Insurance Plans / Mandatory Plans

As mentioned above, international students on F-1 visas must follow their school’s health insurance guidelines. Depending on the school, students may be required to purchase a school plan or may choose their own insurance.

Here are the three most common insurance situations you may encounter:

Mandatory school insurance plan

All international students will be required to enroll in and pay for the school’s insurance plan. Generally, the only way to avoid this insurance plan is to prove that you already have adequate medical coverage (through your employer, spouse, or government).

Institutionally Funded Insurance Plan

International students can enroll in the school or university’s program. However, they also have the option of choosing another insurance plan, as long as it meets the school’s requirements.

Unlimited Health Insurance Plan

Although not very common, some schools do not have specific health insurance requirements for their international students. Thus, students are completely free to choose any insurance plan they wish.

Evaluating Health Insurance Options in the U.S.

When evaluating different student health insurance plans, it is important to find one that meets your needs. Each case is unique. For this reason, it’s important to consider your health, activities, and financial ability to determine which health insurance plan is best for you.

Reimbursement limits

Some policies set limits on the amount that health insurance will pay in a given case. For example, a policy may include mental health, but only up to $50 per day. Some insurance policies determine this maximum in the list of covered benefits, while others determine these maximum limits in the policy wording.

Read carefully and check for restrictions on health coverage. Contact a licensed insurance agent if you have any questions.