It is essential to compare international student insurance plans and do an international student insurance review when deciding to study in the United States. There are many international student insurance coverages available for purchase, both in the U.S. and abroad.
International students already have much think about: Paying for tuition, room and board, electronics like computers or calculators, books and other supplies necessary for study, airfare, visa, and still more. Even with all of that, it is extremely important to make time to consider your international medical insurance coverage.
With healthcare expenses being so high in the U.S., it is highly recommended that everyone have medical insurance. In fact, most U.S. schools mandate that their students possess medical insurance that meets a set of minimum requirements.
However, while shopping for international student insurance, you will probably have some questions:
What is the best insurance for international students?
How much is the insurance for international students?
What are F1 visa health insurance requirements?
In truth, the answers to those questions will vary depending upon the school you're attending and your personal needs. Therefore, you should keep the following in mind when comparing international student health insurance plans:
Minimum School Requirements
Some schools extend their own health insurance to their students, while others allow the student to purchase their own international student insurance from a private company, provided their minimum requirements are met (often listed on the waiver form). It is extremely important to review the school requirements very carefully. You should not buy insurance that fails to meet those requirements.
If you need assistance determining which plans meet your school's requirements, please send your school's waiver form (not their school insurance policy) as well as any requirements you might have, and we will be happy to assist you in finding the most suitable plan(s) that match your needs and your school's requirements.
Your Personal Requirements
Apart from the school's minimum requirements, what personal requirements do you have that the international student medical insurance must meet?
While your requirements may vary, the following are the common factors that could greatly affect which plans will provide you the greatest coverage:
- Maternity or birth control
- Mental health or nervous disorders
- A history of alcohol or drug abuse
- Pre-existing conditions
- Specific sports or activities in which you plan to participate
Analyze the plan you select carefully, making sure it meets your own requirements as well as those of your school. That will give you peace of mind and ensure you will be properly covered.
While you can purchase student medical insurance either from your home country or from the U.S., it will generally be to your benefit to purchase insurance from the United States:
- Oftentimes it will be both quicker and easier processing claims within the U.S., rather than from your home country.
- A PPO network of hospitals and doctors in the U.S. can provide direct billing and cashless treatment. Insurance purchased from your home country might require that you pay large sums of money upfront, which may or may not be reimbursed later.
- Even if an insurance company from your home country says they have partnered with claims administrators in the U.S., does that administrator have the finances and authorization to process eligible claims immediately, or must they first receive authorization and payment from the foreign provider?
- Awaiting payments from abroad may cause substantial delays which could lead to missed payments or balances being referred to collection agencies.
While we understand that your primary focus will be registering for classes and other tasks directly related to your education, such upfront research is critical to making the right decisions to ensure that you will be properly covered in the event you become sick or are injured during your studies and stay in the U.S.
- 24-hour, U.S.-based customer service will ensure that you get your questions answered when you need them answered.
- The insurance company should have a toll-free number available to you.
- The insurance company should have a website where you may search for nearby, participating doctors and hospitals
- The insurance company should have representatives that are comfortable communicating in English as well as your home language.
At first, some international student insurance plans may appear very attractive. They may offer high policy maximum limits (such as $500,000) at a very low cost. However, such insurance plans may have severe sub-limits that would provide very limited coverage and leave you paying the majority of the expenses out of your own pocket.
E.g., an insurance plan with a $250,000 per sickness/injury limit and a $600,000 annual maximum limit might have the following coverages:
- Hospital room and board: $1,300/day
- Surgery: $4,000
- Doctor visit: $60/visit
- X-ray/Lab/CT Scan/MRI: $500
Such limits are highly insufficient. Most U.S. hospitals will charge at least a few thousand dollars per day for hospitalization. Most surgeries will cost tens of thousands of dollars. A visit to the doctor will typically range between $150 to $300.
With such insurance policies, you would end up paying the rest yourself! Can you afford to pay $26,000 out of pocket for a $30,000 surgery?
Be sure to read not only the brief brochure, but the actual certificate wording to make sure you know what you are buying.
Note: At Insubuy, we do NOT offer international student insurance plans with such severe sub-limits. They are not in the best interest of international students. Moreover, we don't hide any details from our customers, and make all the material available upfront, so that the students can make their own educated decisions.
Compare International Student Insurance
Instead of shopping for insurance from an agent that only offers plans from a single company, do your homework and be sure to comparison shop!
We make it easy to compare international student insurance from major U.S.-based companies and allow you to make instant, educated, secure online purchases.