F1 student insurance requirements should be carefully reviewed to make sure you buy proper medical coverage.
Some schools offer a school-sponsored group health insurance plan but allow international students to purchase a comparable plan that is an alternative to the insurance they offer. F1 student insurance must meet the minimum requirements, as set in their “waiver form”.
- As there are thousands of schools throughout the country, each school specific waiver form varies in the minimum coverage they require in order for them to consider if an alternate insurance is compliant and provides adequate coverage; therefore, allowing students to waive their school sponsored coverage.
However, many of the schools require some basic and common benefits, which are listed below:
Reasonable Policy Maximum
Policy maximum is the maximum amount that the insurance company will pay in case the student was to fall sick or get injured. This can vary from $50,000 to an unlimited amount. Many schools require the policy maximum to be in the range of $200,000 to $500,000.
Deductible is an amount that you would have to pay before the insurance company pays anything. In order to avoid high out of pocket expenses, many schools require that the deductible be low, ranging from $0 to $500.
After you pay the deductible, the insurance company pays a certain percentage up to some amount, such as 80%, and then typically pays 100% up to the policy maximum. Many schools would like the students buy insurance that covers at least 80%.
Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage
Pre-existing conditions are medical conditions that exist before the effective date of the policy. Many schools require that pre-existing conditions be covered. Some require no waiting period, but most schools are fine with either a six or twelve month waiting period.
Many schools require that international student insurance provide coverage for maternity. Most schools don’t have a specific coverage limit, but the insurance should provide coverage at a high coinsurance (80% or more within the PPO network) for pre-natal, delivery, and post-natal care.
U.S. Based Company
Many schools require that international student insurance be purchased from a U.S. based company that has a U.S. claim payment office, a U.S. phone number, and that the plan documents are available in English.
A.M. Best Rating
Most schools require that international student medical insurance must be with an insurance company that has an A.M. best rating of A- or above.
Mental Health Coverage
Many international students cannot cope with the immense pressure of higher studies in the U.S., along with dealing with an unfamiliar foreign land away from home. It is likely that they get depressed or develop other mental health issues. Therefore, many schools require that international student insurance provide mental health coverage. They may require both in-patient and out-patient coverage or just one of them. Exact limits of the coverage may vary by the school, and it may either be a set dollar amount or percentage per visit.
Many schools require that prescription drugs be covered by international student health insurance, including birth control pills.
Requirements from J Visa insurance
As U.S. Department of State has specified the minimum insurance requirements for J visa holders, many schools include some of those requirements for F visa holders as well:
Emergency Medical Evacuation
The insurance must cover emergency medical evacuation, at least $50,000: emergency medical evacuation is the transportation to the nearest place where adequate care can be given.
Repatriation of Remains
Insurance must cover return of mortal remains, at least $25,000. This benefit covers the cost of sending the body or the remains back to the home country in the case that the student were to pass away while in the U.S.
Some schools have requirements for both F visa students and J visa exchange visitors and scholars, simply to make it easier for them. Some schools base most of their F visa insurance requirements on J visa insurance requirements, but make slight changes, such as increase the policy maximum from $100,000 per incident to $200,000 per incident.
Providers in the local area
Many schools require that the student medical insurance you purchase has participating providers in the local area where the school is located. Most insurance plans we offer have a nationwide PPO network that has adequate providers in most parts of the U.S. In any case, you can look up the provider list on this web site for respective insurance plans to see participating providers in your local area before purchasing.
Of course, the exact requirements will vary from school to school, and many schools frequently change their requirements. Therefore, it is not practical for us to maintain a database of which student insurance plans would meet the requirements of a school as they become outdated very quickly.
The best way would be to contact us and provide your school’s international student insurance requirements in the form of a “waiver form”. Based on that, we will recommend the plans that would meet those requirements and help you select the most suitable plan for your needs. Please do not send us the policy wording of your school sponsored health insurance plan as it is not possible to match all the features and wording of that insurance plan and provide you an identical one. We must go by the information listed on the waiver form, also called compliance form or alternate insurance approval form.
In any case, if the school requires that you must purchase PPACA (Obamacare) compliant health insurance, we are unable to help.