Health Insurance Options for International Students
Over one million international students are estimated to seek higher education in the U.S. in 2023, returning to pre-pandemic enrollment levels. And while health insurance isn't necessarily required to obtain an F-1 student visa, it may be required by a university as a prerequisite for enrollment. This week, the #TRN team takes a look at the options.
Higher Ed Healthcare Basics
First, it's important to check your school's health insurance requirements for F-1 visa students. The individual plan requirements may vary based on the school you attend and the U.S. state in which you'll reside while attending. Any insurance plan you seek will need to comply with your school and state guidelines.
In-House Health Insurance Coverage
You may also be automatically enrolled in your university's health plan if you don't pre-select and submit verification of your health insurance coverage from another provider, so be sure that you can afford your school's plan at a minimum and that it covers your basic needs. If you don't find a more affordable plan elsewhere, you can fall back on the coverage your school provides.
Shopping the Health Insurance Market
If your coverage needs are a little more complex than what your university offers, you can also shop among the numerous private insurance carriers available in the U.S. A critical thing to note is that there is no universal healthcare system available to international students, so even if your school doesn't require health insurance to attend, it's still a good idea to explore coverage from a private carrier.
Understanding Cost Complications in the U.S.
Costs for standard services like x-rays, ambulance transport, or other interventions like prescription medications can quickly add up to thousands of dollars, so if you're on a budget, securing a policy with affordable deductibles or out-of-pocket-maximums could be critical to an un-interrupted educational experience.
Fortunately, many options are available specifically for students on an F-1 visa, and they're designed to comply with typical school and state regulations. The real challenge comes from weighing the many options available on the private market against what you need and can afford.
So, what do you do when you don't know where to begin?
Are You An International Student? Get a (Free) Expert Opinion
If you don't know where to start, your best bet may be to seek a consultation with a licensed, U.S.-based health insurance agent. Whether it's ultimately best to pursue a plan through your university or to shop the outside market, an insurance agent can guide you through the available options based on your situation and needs.
Not sure how to find a licensed agent? We can help with that. At Trusted Referral Network, our mission is to match consumers with responsive, reliable experts to help make the big decisions in life. Subscribe to us today to learn more.