International Student Health Insurance: What It Is & What It Covers

International Student Health Insurance: What It Is & What It Covers

Studying abroad can be an exciting adventure, furthering your education and immersing yourself in a new environment. While you’re preparing for your journey and ironing out all of the details for your new temporary way of life, it’s important not to overlook the priceless protection of health insurance.

Having a health insurance plan while studying abroad is crucial, especially if you are leaving your home country for school in the U.S. The last thing you want to deal with as a student is medical bills, and an international student health insurance plan can offer the coverage you need while pursuing an education overseas.

What Is International Student Health Insurance?

International student health insurance is a comprehensive medical coverage plan for individuals who are studying abroad, including U.S. citizens studying international and non-U.S. citizens studying within the U.S.

This type of insurance plan is specifically designed for international students and provides essential medical coverage, protecting individuals if they need to seek medical assistance during their international stay.

Learn more about international student health insurance and what it can cover for individuals studying abroad.

Who Is International Student Health Insurance For?

International student health insurance for the U.S. is for those who are studying in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa such as a F1, J1/J2 or M1 student visa.

Additionally, there are alternative international student health insurance plans that are specifically for U.S. citizens that are studying in another country through an approved study-abroad program.

Is International Student Health Insurance Required?

Depending on where you are studying, you may be required to have a health insurance plan during the course of your education abroad. This is typically a requirement set by the university you are going to study at, and often needs to be secured before enrollment.

Do International Students In the USA Need Health Insurance?

If you are studying in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, you may be required to have a health insurance plan before enrolling in your university. Many universities in the U.S. require nonimmigrant visa holders to have health insurance while attending school.

Is Specific Coverage Required for Universities?

Yes, if your university requires you to have a health insurance plan, that plan will likely have to meet certain coverage requirements. Before purchasing any health insurance plan, make sure that it meets your college’s requirements.

You should always check with your study abroad coordinator or university’s admissions office to determine if health insurance is required as a foreign student, and what the specific requirements are for your health insurance plan.

School Sponsored Plans vs. Private Student Health Insurance

For schools that do require health insurance, you may find that they have university-provided plans available, especially in the United States.

While the university-sponsored plans will certainly meet school requirements, private student health insurance plans typically offer more comprehensive coverage and are more cost-effective than those offered by universities.

If you do choose the private route, you may have to show proof of your coverage during enrollment so that your school can deduct the health insurance premium from your tuition fees.

What Does International Student Health Insurance Cover?

International student health insurance coverage can vary depending on the plan that you ultimately choose. Some plans may offer higher coverage and more benefits than others. It’s best to do your research to find an insurance plan that fits your individual needs.

Typically, international student health insurance offers the following benefits:

  • Medical coverage
  • Emergency medical care
  • Prescriptions/medication
  • Maternity care after waiting period
  • Pre-existing conditions (after waiting period)
  • Mental health disorders
  • Sports and activities
Compare Student Health Insurance Plans

Does International Student Health Insurance Cover Pre-existing Conditions?

There are health insurance plans for international students that will offer coverage for pre-existing conditions, but they typically have a waiting period for the benefits to kick in. Additionally, there may also be a lookback period that needs to be met.

For example, a plan may offer pre-existing condition benefits after a certain amount of time of coverage (typically 6 months) for those conditions that were active within a certain time frame before the effective start date of your coverage (typically 12 months).

Does International Student Health Insurance Cover Maternity/Pregnancy?

Most international student health insurance plans do cover pregnancy of the insured student or enrolled spouse if the conception of pregnancy occurs after the effective date of the plan. There may be a waiting period, however, until this coverage is available.

This can be an exceptional benefit, especially for students going to school abroad with their significant other.

Where Am I Covered With International Student Health Insurance?

Most student health insurance offers coverage worldwide, except for a student’s home country as long as the insured still meets the plan’s eligibility requirements.

These eligibility requirements typically include being a full-time student or holding a valid F1 visa, among other criteria. If you are looking to travel during a scheduled school break, check with your plan’s insurance provider for more information on your coverage options.

Avoid Studying Abroad Uninsured

Having health insurance while studying abroad, especially in the United States, is crucial to ensure that you are able to receive the medical care you need to protect your health and your financial situation.

Compare international student health insurance plans to find the policy that best fits your needs or contact our Customer Success Team for further assistance!

International Student Health Insurance Options

The following international student health insurance plans are excellent options for foreign students attending school in the United States.

View Student Health Insurance Plans

Frequently Asked Questions About International Student Health Insurance


Can international students get health insurance in USA?

Yes, international students can get health insurance in the USA either through a private student health insurance plan or through their college or university.


Can F-1 students apply for Obamacare?

Unfortunately, since F1 visa students are not permanent residents in the United States, they are not eligible to apply for Obamacare.


Why should a student buy private health insurance rather than school-sponsored health insurance?

Purchasing international student health insurance from a private provider can give you better flexibility, choice in coverage options, and can be cheaper overall. School-sponsored health insurance plans typically only give you one option to choose from. Buying privately means you can shop around for a plan that has the benefits you want and is a price you can afford.


Which insurance is best for international students in USA?

The best insurance plan for international students in the USA will vary depending on the student and their individual needs. View and compare available student health insurance plans here.


How much is health insurance for international students in the US?

International student health insurance plan prices will vary depending upon a number of factors including where you are studying and for how long. However, you can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $2,000 annually on average. For example, a 19 year old student from India studying in the U.S. for a semester can choose from plans ranging from $320 to $3,500.