Health Insurance for International Students in the US



When you are in the US, you should take a good care of your health. The medical costs in the US are relatively high compared to other countries. A good health insurance plan will protect you against costly medical expenditures. Many universities require you to have a health insurance, just so that you are protected from this "high healthcare cost".

in this section, we address the various issues regarding health insurance for international students.

Basics of Health Insurance

Buying a health insurance plan

How it works

Costs of a typical health insurance plan

Related Links
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FAQ's

As an international student, do I need to purchase a health insurance plan?

What type of health insurance plan should international students buy?

How long should I have a health insurance?

What are the different payment options for an insurance?

Should I buy a health insurance plan from my home country?

What plan should I buy if I have a spouse/kids or if I have my family visiting me in the US?

Can you explain me the various terms used in an health insurance plan?

 

Basics of Health Insurance

In the US, having a health insurance is very necessary as well as important. The medical costs in the US are relatively high compared to other countries. These costs can include doctors’ appointments (on-campus and off-campus), medication, and countless tests and procedures. As an international student, you don’t want to risk yourself financially by not having a health insurance as health insurance can offer you protection from catastrophic financial losses.

Many universities even require their international students to present proof of health insurance before they can even register for classes. Sometimes, Universities have contracts with Health Insurance companies and as a result, you may be required to purchase health insurance from the company that your University mentions. We suggest you to check with your University’s International Student Office before you purchase a health insurance plan.

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Buying a health insurance

When you go on insurance companies' web sites, choose the insurance plan designed specifically for international students. carefully read and understand the topics and issues covered and explained in the plan. Select a suitable plan and pay for it. Once you purchase a plan, you will be sent a confirmation via email and the plan documents will be mailed later at the address that you had specified.

Please note that you can purchase a plan for a 6 month or a one year period and renew it once it expires. Caution must be taken while purchasing plans as cheaper plans may give you poor coverage.

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How it works

The way heath insurance works is, when you get sick or hurt, you go to the doctor or the hospital and get or purchase the medication. You can then call the contact number on the card that the insurance company has provided and let them know about your illness. They will ask you to send them the receipts of your treatments and medications. They will then call up the doctor/hospital to confirm. Once confirmed, they will verify what all has been covered by your insurance clauses and accordingly they will refund you your money. Sometimes, the companies might ask you to go on their web site and fill up the claims form. Some hospital / doctor's administrative assistant will help you to file the claim

Depending on your insurance plan, you may be required to pay some percentage of the costs and the insurance company will pay for the remaining of the costs. Please check with your insurance company for more details.

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Costs of a typical health insurance plan

The cost of a health insurance plan depends on the type of the plan and the health insurance company. However, typically, an international student health insurance plan will cost you from $30-$40 upwards per month.

Typical factors that determine the cost of the health insurance are:

    • Your age (If you are young, your health insurance will be cheaper as you are considered to be relatively healthy and less likely to fall ill)

    • Your health history (If you have had a bad health history, the insurance will be costlier as you will be considered as having a higher risk of falling ill again)

    • Marital status (If you want to include your spouse in your plan, you will have to pay more. But it might be cheaper than having a separate insurance for her)

FAQ's


As an international student, do I need to purchase a health insurance plan?

Yes, all international students should purchase a suitable health insurance plan. Many universities even require their international students to present proof of health insurance before they can even register for classes. Sometimes, Universities have contracts with Health Insurance companies and as a result, you may be required to purchase health insurance from the company that your University mentions. We suggest you to check with your University’s International Student Office before you purchase a health insurance plan.

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What type of health insurance plan should international students buy?

Most insurance companies provide different types of health insurance plans to cover different needs. Be sure to choose health plans for international students as these plans are generally cheaper than ones for non-students and are specifically designed to cover the needs of the international students. Secondly, review all available plans and choose one that suits you best. Usually the general health plan does not include dental insurance and eye insurance. If you need those insurances, you would have to purchase them separately.

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How long should I have a health insurance?

International students should have a health insurance plan as long as they are in the US. If you start working full time on a H1 B visa, then your company may sponsor, i.e., pay some percentage of your health insurance. Nonetheless, as long as no one else is sponsoring your health insurance, you should purchase a suitable plan for yourself.

You can purchase a plan for a 6 month or a one year period and renew it once it expires.

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What are the different payment options for an insurance?

The payment depends on the length of your health insurance contract. When buying a health insurance, you will be presented with the option of buying the insurance for one year / six month / one month, etc. The benefit of buying one year contract is that you can get some discount and you don’t have to worry about renewing your health insurance every month. The benefit of buying the insurance monthly is that you are not bound for a contract and you can move to another company if you are not happy with the services provided by the first company. However, the downside will be that you will have to remember to renew your health plan every month or so. In order to avoid all the hassles, you can choose to renew insurance every six moths. Most companies will send you either email or mail reminders notifying you to renew your insurance.

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Should I buy a health insurance plan from my home country?

Generally, health insurance plans provided by your home country will be cheaper. However, efficiency is questionable. Most insurance companies in the US will have links with doctors and hospitals in the US. In an emergency, these companies will serve you better. We suggest that you buy only the first one month insurance (the month when you are going to arrive in the US) from your home country. This will cover you in your travel as well as give you enough time to buy suitable insurance in the US.

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What plan should I buy if I have a spouse/kids or if I have my family visiting me in the US?

If you have a spouse and/or children you can buy family health insurance plan. These plans are cheaper compared to individual plans. If you have your parents visiting you in the US, you can also purchase health insurance for them.

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Can you explain me the various terms used in an health insurance plan?

The following web sites explain the various terms used in the health insurance plans:

Info.insure.com

Healthinsurance.org

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