Stay Safe and Insured with International Student Insurance
International Student insurance (F, J Visas)
International students (on F1 visas) & their dependents (on F2 visas) can compare plans and buy health insurance that meets their university requirements. Waiver forms can be completed and returned to the university after purchase. AmGrad Care Plus and Preferred plans have ACA comparable benefits.
Auto Insurance for International StudentsInternational students can get a quick quote for a comprehensive auto policy. Various discounts possible.
Medical Limit (Hospitals & Doctors)
Plans with a range of medical maximum options $50,000 onwards; AmGrad Care Plus and Preferred can be considered by US universities that require unlimited policy maximums.
Most plans have a deducible of $50 or $100 per injury and sickness. The deductible is typically waived and a minimum copay of $5 sometimes applied, if first treated at a Student Health Center.
Many plans pay 100% up to the chosen policy maximum per injury/sickness in network (once the deductible has been met). Others cover 80% of the first $10,000/$25,000 and 100% there after.
All international student insurance plans cover medical evacuation, the maximum covered ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 life time maximum.
Repatriation benefits vary with plan, and the maximum covered range from $25,000 to $200,000 for the return of mortal remains or for local cremation/burial.
Many universities require students purchasing insurance from outside their school to complete an insurance waiver form. This can be completed and returned after purchase of a policy here.
Student Secure Smart
$29.45 per month
for a 21 year old with $200,000 plan maximum
- Policy Maximum $100K per injury or sickness
- $50 deductible per injury or illness within the PPO, outside the U.S. or student health center; otherwise $100 per injury or illness
- Plan pays 80% of eligible expenses after the deductible up to the overall maximum limit within the PPO
- $25,000 lifetime maximum for eligible medical expenses for the acute onset of pre-existing condition only
- Pregnancy and sports not covered
- Prescription drugs: 50% of actual charge (not subject to deductible or coinsurance).
Know Before You Go: F1 Student Health Insurance
At most US universities, international students are required (or strongly advised) to have comprehensive medical insurance. Medical expenses in the US can be very high, even for small and unexpected injuries or illnesses. International student health insurance helps prevent a financial crisis in the event of an emergency. Without coverage, medical treatment can be tremendously costly. Plans purchased outside the University offer the same coverage at a much lower cost.
Coverage for international student insurance can begin within a day of purchase. Waiver forms can be completed and returned to the university once payment has been received. As required by many universities, most student plans provide coverage for medical evacuation, repatriation and mental health. If students are in the US with their families, they can also purchase coverage for their dependents.
International Student Auto Insurance
This is the best choice for international student drivers. Comprehensive plans cover bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist bodily injury and property damage, as well as medical payments and income loss benefits. Other benefits include towing and labor, and transportation expenses.
International Student Insurance
Your Complete Guide to International Student Insurance in the USA
The Importance of Health Insurance for International Students
You’re young and in good health. Why bother buying health insurance? Firstly, you’re going to have to buy it – most universities and colleges require you to have health insurance as an international student. And there are many important benefits to insurance for F1 students.
International student health insurance gives you a unique combination of benefits that help you live a full and active life at college without fear that an illness or injury will cause you severe financial strain. International student insurance is tailored to the student and in addition to providing standard healthcare benefits like doctors’ office visits, hospitalization and prescriptions, it covers sports and outdoor activity, mental health, and emergency medical evacuation/ repatriation. If you do any traveling off the beaten path, evacuation coverage will provide peace of mind in event of an emergency. In addition, you may need to be flown home if you suffer a serious medical condition. You may also want to consider a visitors insurance plan that covers maternity expenses and pre-existing conditions.
Some international student health plans also include incidental home country cover – great for when you are visiting your family back home during a break. You can renew your insurance policy should your studies take longer than expected, but you can also purchase a plan that covers your entire college course so you don’t have to worry about renewals.
Since students tend to be young and healthy, health insurance plans for this demographic are usually more affordable and provide more benefits than conventional health insurance. This will definitely help you keep to your student budget.
Need International Student Medical Insurance?
If you are an F1 Visa student or a research scholar, you will need to get student health insurance. Also, if you are a full-time student or scholar studying outside of your home country at a college, school, English as a Second Language (ESL) program or technical school, you will need international student health insurance, even if you are on OPT.
Exchange visitors, such as students and au pairs, are required to have J1 visa medical insurance.
How to Buy International Student Insurance
So, how exactly do you buy your international student insurance? It may seem like a complicated matter but buying international student insurance is actually really easy – especially when you know what to do. Just a few checks, comparisons, and forms to fill out and you’re all set.
First, check the requirements of the school you will be attending. This usually means a quick call or email to your college to ask if you have not already been given information at the time of enrolment. Some schools have mandatory insurance plans while others do not. If there is no mandate, check to see if the school requires a Waiver form to be completed if you sign up for a policy.
If there is no mandatory insurance plan specified by your college you are free to browse plans online. Here you can easily compare different plans from different providers. Look at eligibility, pricing, plan benefits and exclusions, payment options (are monthly payments available?), coverage amount, cancellation policy and insurance ratings.
You can buy direct from a travel insurance or international student insurance company – get a quote from the companies you are interested in before deciding. Or you can buy through a travel or insurance agency, either online or in person. If there is a mandated policy, your college will tell you how to apply and choose your policy.
Meet the Providers of International Student Health Insurance
There are many moving parts to international student insurance. Administrators, Underwriters and PPO Networks are typically the ones that you would look at. The administrators of the policies, such as IMG, Travel Insurance Services, GBG, Seven Corners, etc plan the policy details such as benefits, exclusions, riders and premiums. They would provide the insurance documents and handle the paperwork for Claims. Underwriters, such as Lloyds of London, Sirius International, etc are responsible for making claim reimbursements. The PPO networks are networks of medical providers (doctors, hospitals, clinics, laboratories etc) that have a tie-up with a specific insurance plan to provide direct billing and in-network rates. Some popular PPO networks are Coventry PPO, First Health Network, United Health, United Healthcare Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
SHIP (Student Health Insurance Plan)
Many universities also provide a Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Typically, this is a mandatory plan offered by the University to ensure that students have adequate health care coverage. Where offered, the SHIP usually is through companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna etc. It is a comprehensive health insurance plan that includes medical, mental health, dental, vision and pharmacy benefits. Typically for students enrolled in SHIP, the Student Health Center (SHC) can be the primary care provider however spouses and dependents (if covered under the policy) might have to use the in-network providers.
Reliability of Plans: Can You Trust Them?
With such a wide choice of insurance available for international students, it is important to know that the insurance provider is reliable and trustworthy. How do you do this? Check insurance underwriters’ financial ratings, and look at reviews addressing whether others have had a good experience with claims settlement and whether they trust and rely on the assistance of these plans.
Looking for popular plans? These include Student Secure, Student Express, Visit USA, Collegiate Care Plans, Patriot Exchange, AmgradCare, Liaison Student, StudyUSA and WorldMed.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Under International Student Insurance
If you suffer or have suffered from a medical condition, you need to check if treatment for this condition is included since it is defined as pre-existing. Different policies have different coverage for pre-existing conditions. Some plans insure pre-existing conditions provided they are disclosed when the policy is purchased. Others have a waiting period. This could be a period of six to 12 months of continuous coverage. Typically, if your plan has a waiting period it will have a look-back period of a year or more prior to the starting date of the plan.
You may also find an international student health insurance plan with coverage for the acute onset of a pre-existing condition.
It is important to check exclusions and cover carefully if you have a pre-existing medical condition and you are traveling to or studying in the US.
Exclusions on Your Student Health Plan
Certain conditions and events are excluded from cover under most international student health insurance plans. Typically, you won’t get coverage for vision treatment or for dental work and related check-ups. There may be other exclusions depending on your plan. For example, maternity, prescription drugs and mental health.
Usually, international student insurance also does not offer benefits under certain conditions such as elective surgery, alcohol and drug abuse and injuries arising from these conditions, congenital illnesses, STDs and self-inflicted injury.
Check to see if there are benefits that have a waiting period for maternity– and mental health-related treatment, as well as wellness checks and pre-existing conditions.
Information Required for the Application
Some essential information is required when filling out an application form for a plan. It helps if you have this information at hand to make the process quick and stress-free.
You will be asked to provide:
- Student ID
- Permanent address
- Mailing address
- Family details (Spouse and dependents, if applicable)
- Expected date of graduation
- Whether you are a full-time student/ involved in research activities
How to Pay for your International Student Health Insurance policy
There are various ways to pay for your international student insurance policy. Most online agents and companies accept major credit cards. You can also often pay by check. If you are living in the US, you can open a health savings account which is a tax-advantaged savings account that allows you to save money on your health insurance costs. Not all policies have this option though.
Check to make sure that you are paying for the right amount of cover. There may be refunds available if you go back to your home country for extended periods. Also, look into how to renew or extend your plan.
When to Buy & Time Taken to Receive Your Policy
When are you covered? For some students that leave things to the last minute, this is a pressing question.
You need to purchase your international student insurance policy before your studies begin. Most policies cannot backdate coverage. Keeping this in mind, you should leave a little time between buying the insurance and your coverage start date, leaving adequate time to compare plans and make the best decision.
It is particularly important to buy your plan ahead of time if you are buying from an outside provider. While many universities offer insurance, you can opt for an outside plan and your school may require a waiver form to be filled. Waiver forms can be downloaded from the college website. The coverage can be for one semester or more depending on the college’s requirement.
Once you have decided on your policy, filled out the application form and paid your fee, you can expect your policy documents to be available immediately or within a few days, depending on the company and whether you receive them by email or post.
Some plans may start as early as the next day after you submit your application. For others, it may take longer. If you enroll between the 16th and the 31st of the month, many plans will begin on the 1st day of the month after that. Let’s say you enroll in a health plan on January 1st. Your plan will become effective February 1st. But if you enroll on January 16th, your plan won’t be effective until March 1st.
How to Use Your Insurance Policy
Hopefully, you won’t ever have to use your international student insurance plan. If the unexpected happens, check the PPO network (the network of providers you can visit under the conditions of your health insurance), review your coverage and book an appointment to receive treatment. You will need your ID card for the appointment. You can find out of hours providers as well as regular clinics. You can also visit your campus health center for advice or treatment before filling out a claim form. You will need to provide all medical reports, as well as any necessary medical history.
How Long Does It Take to Get Reimbursement?
If you file a claim, the length of time it takes to receive a reimbursement check depends on your medical condition, the treatment, the PPO network and the international student insurance plan conditions. Check with your plan provider for their typical wait times. Most plans need you or the provider to submit the Claims within 90 days of being seen by the doctor. Claims are denied if documents are not submitted in the stipulated time. Typically, if a claim is submitted on time but takes longer to settle, it is because critical information was not provided up front. You can prevent the issue by submitting a completed claim form, together with copies of all relevant medical records and receipts. Claims can also take longer when the provider fails to send medical records. Be sure to follow up with the provider to avoid further delay.
Making Changes to Your Student Health Insurance Policy
While it depends on the policy, once in effect, additions (spouse or dependents) to the existing policy typically cannot be made, nor can the policy maximum or deductible be changed. Some policies may allow adding dependents to the policy. If in the future you need to add a spouse/child to your existing insurance, the contract may change to dependent coverage with a premium adjustment. In the student fee account, one may see a refund of an annual SINGLE coverage premium and a charge of an annual DEPENDENT coverage premium within 8 business days upon adding the dependent. Some plans might require the spouse or child to buy a separate plan.
If you need to change personal details such as your address or your personal information, you may do this by sending an email to your plan provider. When you buy a plan online you will also be able to view the status of your account online and other information relating to payments and claims. You may need to contact the provider to make changes once your form has been submitted.