International Student Health Insurance Requirements for US

International Student Health Insurance Requirements for US

As you begin your educational journey overseas in the United States, it’s important to consider possible health insurance requirements. Having health insurance while studying abroad may be mandatory, depending on your visa type and school.

Even if you aren’t required to have student health insurance, it is still crucial to consider as international student health insurance can both protect your health and wallet while in the U.S.

Why Is International Student Health Insurance Necessary for the USA?

There are several reasons why student health insurance is necessary when attending school in the USA.

  • The United States does not have universal health care
  • Lack of insurance can affect your studies if you become ill or injured
  • Healthcare in the United States is extremely expensive

With an international student health insurance plan, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ll be covered if you have a medical emergency during your studies.

Is Health Insurance Mandatory for International Students in USA?

Student health insurance may be required, depending on your visa and school. Most universities and colleges will require student visa holders to have health insurance during their studies. 

Additionally, there are other specific requirements that need to be met for J1 visa holders put forth by the US Department of State.

J1 Student Health Insurance Requirements

If you are traveling to the United States on a J1 visa, you will need to secure a health insurance plan that meets the following requirements:

It is also required that the insurance policy is underwritten by an organization that meets several other standards:

  • A.M. Best rating of A- or above;
  • McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims paying Ability rating of A- or above; Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above;
  • Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of A- or above;
  • Moody’s Investor Services rating of ‘‘A3’’ or above; 
  • Or other rating as specified by the US Department of State
  • Or backed by the fill faith of the government of the student’s home country;
  • Or part of a health benefits program offered for a group of employees/students
  • Or offered through a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization or eligible Competitive Medical Plan as determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It’s important to do your research and check with your university to make sure that your selected student health insurance plan meets the Department of State requirements for J1/J2 students.

F1 Student Health Insurance Requirements

F1 visa holders do not have specific government requirements for health insurance. However, most colleges and universities will still require F1 visa students to have a health insurance plan that meets certain requirements.

For F1 visa student health insurance requirements, check with your school to see what coverage is mandatory to have, if any, to find a plan that fits both your needs and the school’s requirements.

What to Look for in a Student Health Insurance Plan

When looking for a student health insurance plan to cover you in the United States, it is recommended to pay attention to the following benefits.

Adequate Policy Maximum

Choose a policy maximum that will cover you for an unexpected medical emergency. A policy maximum of at least $50,000 is often recommended for visitors to the United States. However, your university may require a specific policy maximum.

Low Deductible

A low deductible will ensure that out-of-pocket costs are kept low, which can be especially important for students who are not working. Most schools want deductibles to be kept under $500 per incident.

Maternity Coverage

Maternity benefits is another benefit that can be valuable for international students studying in the U.S. as a preventative measure. However, it typically is only offered after a specific waiting period after your coverage starts.

Pre-existing Conditions Coverage

Most international student health insurance plans for the U.S. offer coverage for pre-existing conditions after a certain waiting period. This is often a university requirement.

Mental Health Coverage

Mental health coverage is crucial for students getting an education abroad, especially considering how stressful university life can be. This may be a benefit to look for if you are concerned about your mental health.

Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage

Emergency medical evacuation coverage is a benefit that is often required by universities, which offers coverage if you need to be transported to a medical facility for emergency care.

How to Get Insurance as an International Student

You have two options when securing health insurance as an international student in the USA. You can:

  • Opt for your university’s sponsored health insurance plan
  • Waive your university’s sponsored health insurance plan and secure your own insurance privately, and submit proof to your school/government official

If you decide to get your student health insurance coverage outside of your university-sponsored plan, you have more control over the plan you select and can look for benefits and coverage that best suits your needs - just make sure that it meets your school’s and the US government’s requirements (if applicable).

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Secure Student Coverage Today

Ensure you fulfill your school's and the U.S. government's health insurance criteria and obtain coverage before your studies. 

Compare international student health insurance plans or reach out to our Customer Success Team if you have any additional questions.