Moving abroad and living in the United States of America can prove challenging and expensive, especially for students coming in on a student visa (F1 visa). These international students typically finance their academic studies and degree programs via loans, financial aids, and scholarships.
Sometimes even falling ill can be quite expensive if the necessary measures are not taken on time. If you do end up getting ill or facing an unexpected accident while living in the United States as a student, you can face grave problems. You will find yourself injured and in poor health, away from your family and the comfort of a home.
The last thing international students need to worry about in a foreign place is how to afford the pricey medical bills. This is why a health insurance plan for international students is vital.
What is the International Students Health Insurance Plan?
An international student health insurance plan is a form of medical coverage for individuals who have traveled from other cities for the primary purpose of studying abroad in the United States. This health insurance plan is applicable for international students who are registered in a US-based academic institution.
There are two sources from which foreign students can purchase a medical insurance plan. They can either proceed with their university-sponsored international student medical health plan or buy a private company insurance plan.
Those students who choose the latter will need to submit proof of medical insurance coverage to their university during registration, since they will remove the medical insurance premium from your course fees.
Do International Students in the USA Need Health Insurance?
By all means, if you are an international student in the United States, you need to have suitable medical health insurance coverage. This way, you will be able to deal with unforeseen expenses and quickly pay your medical bills in times of illnesses and accidents.
It is relatively easy and simple for foreign students to get health insurance. However, you must be vigilant because every company has a unique health insurance plan.
As an international student, you need to know which insurance plan is right and choose the one that suits you best. Most importantly, your health insurance plan should be affordable and tend to your medical needs.
Steps to Get International Student Health Insurance in The US
It only takes some simple steps for international students to get themselves the ultimate medical health insurance in the United States:
1. You first need to check whether the school/college/university you have chosen in the United States is employing a “mandatory group” medical health insurance plan.
- If yes, you need to question them on aspects like whether it will be incorporated into your tuition fees, or if you will have to pay an additional amount for it. Whichever case it is, you can complete the necessary payments and proceed ahead.
- If your desired institution facilitates an optional waiver with its mandatory group medical insurance plan, you need to see if it is apt for you. If it does not fit you, request a waiving form from the faculty head. Then, you can complete the second, third, and fourth steps.
- If the institution does not have a good health insurance plan, complete the remaining three steps.
2. You can check other firms that cover the medical health insurance for foreign students studying in the United States, or resort to a reliable broker.
3. Prepare a list of all the perks you deem vital for yourself (including the waiving form). Then you can compare it with the specific international student health insurance plans the firms are offering.
4. After this, you are likely going to find the most preferable and suitable health plan for yourself. You can then select it and proceed forward with the purchase.
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Different Types of Health Insurance for Foreign Students In the US
While looking for international student medical health insurance plans in the United States, you must not forget to refer to the school/college/university regulation where you are enrolled to see if there are any explicit requirements.
Here are the different health insurance plans you are likely to find:
1. Mandatory Group Plan
A few institutions in the United States come with their individual mandatory health plans with a preset medical coverage. In this case, all international students have to buy and abide by the institutions’ mandatory group plan.
A few principal elements of the compulsory plan that institutions implement are as follows:
- It is commonly incorporated in your tuition fee.
- They are usually more costly than individual health plans.
- They give you detailed medical coverage, including maternity, wellness, mental health, preventative care, and pre-existing medical conditions short of a waiting period.
2. Mandatory Group with an Option to Waive
Other institutions offer a compulsory health insurance plan with a preset medical coverage that applies to all enrolled students. Still, the university permits the students to elect themselves out of the mandatory plan.
This is only possible under the circumstances that the individuals who wish to purchase a medical insurance plan outside the institution’s predetermined plans should buy a suitable plan for themselves.
It is entirely up to the colleges and universities to decide if the external health insurance plan is eligible to pass through the waiver form. The waiver form comprises a list of all the medical requirements and benefits a particular health insurance plan should offset or surpass.
3. Optional Plan
A few academic institutions in the United States have no such compulsory plans with preset medical coverage. Hence, international students have the privilege to go forth with whichever medical insurance plan they like and deem best.
If your desired institution allows you to choose whatever health insurance plan you want, it is recommended that you don not go for the most low-priced one. Nor should students go for a plan that offers them the most benefits and services or the least.
International students should check out multiple plans and weigh the options to select the best health insurance plan for themselves in the United States.
The Best International Student Health Insurance Plans in the US
Here are some of the best medical health insurance plans that foreign students who are studying in the United States can take advantage of:
- Patriot Exchange Program.
- Exchange Guard.
- Student Health Advantage.
- Student Secure.
- Patriot America.
- Study USA.