Insurance Blog

Posted: 03/02/20233,714 Views

International students attending a college or university in the USA have to accomplish a lot before their first day of classes. From applying to schools and securing a student visa, finding a place to live and arranging travel, it can be a stressful time. However, it’s important not to let the need for international student health insurance slip through the cracks.

When you come to the USA from another country to study on an F1 or M1 visa, you won’t be able to depend on the health insurance you had when you were in your home country. If you become sick or get injured during your academic program, it’s essential to have insurance coverage for international students to help pay your medical bills.

Because of this, the majority of colleges and universities in the US require all international students to have medical insurance coverage. 

Do Universities Provide Health Insurance, or Do You Have to Buy It?

It depends entirely on the school you’re attending. Many colleges, particularly those that are in large university systems, offer a student health insurance program, or SHIP. 

At some schools, enrollment in the SHIP is compulsory, the cost of which is automatically added to your tuition. Depending upon the institution, you may be able to waive the SHIP for a different insurance plan that better fits your needs, provided it meets all school requirements. In order to waive the SHIP and purchase your own insurance, you will need to submit a waiver form

Smaller schools such as private colleges and community colleges may not offer a SHIP, and may require or request that international students purchase their own health insurance from a private insurance company. But once again, the school may still have specific requirements that the insurance must meet. You can read more about the insurance requirements for your school in the School Directory

In any case, you will need to contact the school’s international student office, which may be referred to by a number of different names, prior to making any insurance purchase. They can give you the exact information you need to ensure that the insurance you enroll in meets all school requirements.

Insurance for International Student Dependents

If you are coming to the US with a child or spouse who will be an accompanying dependent during your academic program, you need to make sure they have proper insurance coverage as well.

Schools that offer a SHIP to international students may also allow accompanying depends to be enrolled in it for an additional fee. However, this is not the case for every college or university.

Even if the SHIP is available for your dependent(s), it is important to examine the coverage and make sure it is the best choice for their needs. There may be a different international student insurance plan that offers benefits that are more valuable to them for the money. In any case, check once again with the school’s international student office prior to purchasing, as there may be specific requirements that the insurance must meet.

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Healthcare costs are very high in the U.S.

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Did you know that your insurance may not cover you abroad or that it may only provide limited coverage?

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Are you an exchange visitor to USA?

The U.S. Department of State requires all J visa holders to purchase compliant insurance.

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Traveling to Europe?

Schengen countries require most non-US citizens to purchase Schengen visa insurance.

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International student in the U.S.?

Most schools require international students to purchase health insurance.

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