Do You Actually Know How Student Insurance Works in the USA?

5 minutes reading time (929 words)

Budgeting and managing expenses is a common concern for most international students who aspire to study abroad. Expenses related to tuition fees, monthly accommodation, your transportation charges, food expenses and other extra expenses maybe a little more than expected, and if not planned wisely, it may result in stress and confusion. In addition to these, as an international student, it is a good idea to take into account the cost you will spend on your student insurance plan. 
International students who move to the US for education usually require an F1 visa. For a student on an F1 visa , there are not a lot of government-mandated requirements to acquire health insurance. However, as an F1 visa holder, you might have to acquire a health insurance policy that will meet your school’s requirements. 
However, if you are a J1 visa holder, then your health insurance should meet the requirements listed by the US visa authorities. Your insurance must cover at least $100,000 per accident or illness and include a deductible of no more than $500 per accident or illness. 

Why should you purchase a US student insurance policy?

Healthcare in the US is a little more expensive than other countries, and without an insurance policy, your medical expenses are only going to be a burden on you. A one-time visit to the doctor can approximately cost between $100 - $200. On average, it will cost you around $800 only for general visits. If you were to meet with an accident or fall sick, the medical expenses might cost you a fortune. This is why it is extremely important for you to buy a health insurance plan as an international student. 

What are the different types of student insurance plans in the USA?

Listed below are a few commonly available international student health insurance plans: 

  • Mandatory Group Health Insurance Plan: These are mandatory health insurance packages that are registered for you by your university. The only disadvantage is that you will not have an option to choose your budget.
  • Waivable Group Health Insurance Plan: Unlike the mandatory insurance plan, this plan grants the student the freedom to choose. If the student manages to register for an alternative plan that covers the expenses, then the university offers the students to waive the plan. 
  • Optional Health Insurance Plan: In select universities, there is no mandate for students to register for a health insurance plan. In such cases, the student is free to register for whichever plan that fits within their budget and needs. 

How to apply for your USA student insurance plan?

1. Prepare ahead of time

As an international student in the US, you can either apply for your student insurance before leaving for your study destination or after you reach there. However, it is always best to get your insurance registered before you leave your home country so that you can avail the benefits from the moment you reach your destination. That is why you should get started with your insurance application procedure way before your departure.

2. Be familiar with the terms

As a student, you might not be aware of the process or the terms that are used during the registration. Familiarizing yourself with a few common terms like “claim, premium, deductible, co-insurance”, will make the process easier for you.

3. Mention in detail all your existing medical conditions if any

When you apply for your health insurance, it is imperative that you clearly mention all and any existing medical conditions if any. Only if you mention it will you be able to use your insurance to cover the expenses of your medical needs and medication. If you fail to do so, you might not be able to avail all the benefits of your plan.

Important things to keep in mind before applying for your USA student insurance

Listed below is a list of things that you should keep in mind while applying for student insurance to study in the U.S. 

  • Find an insurance policy that covers your budget

The cost of an international student health insurance package differs depending on the age of the student and even the city and state they live in. However, most international student health insurance plans in the US are quite affordable. In general, an average student health insurance plan costs between USD 1000 and USD 3000 per year. You can always choose a plan that will fit your needs and expenses. 

  • Cross-check to verify if the policy fulfils the requirements of your university and visa

While some universities specify a particular insurance policy, others allow you to pick your own plan. There are also possibilities for certain universities to offer you a waiver on your insurance. Before you choose your plan, make sure to check the requirements listed by your university. 

  • Read the policy carefully to understand what it does and does not cover

This is one of the most important steps while applying for a student insurance policy in the US. It usually covers the medical expenses for any injuries or new illnesses. However, routine checkups are not included as part of your package. Some policies also include dental care as part of the package. Therefore, make sure to carefully study what your policy offers you.

Purchasing a health insurance policy is mandatory. However, it is equally important for you to lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of yourselves while away from home. If you are confused about which international student insurance policy will fit your needs, seek expert advice from our consultant to help you choose the right plan. 

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