Health insurance for international students • Benzinga


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According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), approximately 1.1 million international students were enrolled in US colleges and universities for the 2019-2020 school year. If you are one of those international students traveling to the United States, you might be shocked when you realize that you don’t have the same universal healthcare programs provided by your home country. Expensive health care and medical procedures can leave you financially devastated without health insurance coverage. Most colleges in the United States require international students to purchase health insurance.

Here is how it works.

The mandate

Many colleges and universities in the United States require health insurance for students. This requirement includes health insurance for international students. Some higher education institutions offer health plans for students, but regardless, if the university needs a health plan, you need to find coverage to meet the mandate, which is passed on by the department of US state, a branch of government regulating the foreign policy of the United States. . According to the IRS, you must be considered a “resident alien” for federal income tax purposes to fall under any federal health insurance mandate.

The visa changes everything

Your health insurance requirements for international students will depend on your visa type. For example, if you are on a J-1 or J-2 visa, you must have insurance. However, F-1 visa holders do not need State Department-mandated insurance, and some schools bring in students with these visas. You will need to check first.

Some states revoke visa exceptions and require all students to have insurance, regardless of what the State Department says. This is not a general rule for everyone.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can count on free healthcare such as community health clinics. Access to these health facilities is extremely limited and you may not meet the eligibility requirements. You have no guarantee that you will not need emergency services or even routine health care while you are living as an international student in the United States.

The United States has one of the most expensive health care systems in the world. Even if your school state does not have a mandate, it may be beneficial to purchase health insurance to cover expensive health care in the United States.

Does the school have an insurance plan?

Before making the final decision to purchase health insurance, check with your school to see what is available to you. A college can be a massive institution with billion dollar endowments and lots of employees. It can have its own insurance plan and enroll foreign students in these plans. However, some schools are better organized than others and it may take some wrangling for this process to work. Some American universities have health insurance specialists who consult and advise you on your health insurance options.

Other health care options

Whether or not your school has a health insurance mandate, you may still need health care in a country where it is expensive and universal health care is lacking. Finding health insurance as an international student can be difficult, but other health care options might be enough.

While access to free clinics in your area may be limited, if you have an immediate need for health care, it doesn’t hurt to check. If you have an emergency, you may be able to get emergency health care on your campus that can treat you for immediate health needs.

These school clinics are sometimes run by students and supervised by health professionals. Services are generally limited to basic health care such as first aid. However, some campus health centers are quite sophisticated and comparable to primary health centers. Although on-campus health center services are not free, they are generally available to students for a small fee.

You can also consider getting private insurance, but it must be national – in other words, you must have a US health insurance policy. You can’t buy a plan from another country hoping it will work here. Most schools and the State Department disagree with this. To be eligible for international student health insurance, you must be a full-time student enrolled in a US college or university.

A practical solution for health insurance for international students is temporary health insurance or a short-term policy. If you are only staying in the United States for a short time and are already covered by your parents’ health insurance at home, this simple and convenient solution can save costs.

Short-term health insurance policies are also more affordable for students on a budget. Some insurance companies selling international student health insurance do not provide policies to students enrolled in optional practical training (OPT) or students with an F-1 visa. For these students, a term health insurance policy may be the only option.

Registering for courses can be difficult

If you are an international student without health insurance, you might not be allowed to register for classes even if you go through customs and settle in. Your best bet is to contact your school and find out about enrollment procedures and health insurance requirements. The school can advise you, and once you know the rules, you can purchase the right health insurance plan to meet the school’s requirements.

Best Benzinga Health Insurance Companies

When you’re young and healthy, health coverage is the last thing you think about. The problem is, you never know when an unexpected illness or medical emergency might arise. Why not find an affordable health care plan to avoid the burden of unforeseen medical expenses and financial debt? Several private insurance companies sell health insurance coverage designed specifically for international students. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best health insurance plans available to help you get started.

Stay healthy while studying abroad

You want to stay focused on your studies and not be distracted by things like purchasing health insurance. However, now that you understand how important the insurance term is and how much you need, it is worth taking the time to research and compare your options to find your best health insurance option as a professional. international student. The key is to find an affordable plan that still offers full medical coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can foreign students benefit from health insurance?

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Can foreign students benefit from health insurance?

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Janet Hunt, Insurance Agent

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Yes. Most colleges require it and many schools offer plans. However, this is not always the case and the prices vary widely. The policy must be national and cannot be a foreign health insurance policy. Private insurance plans are available for international students, including short-term health insurance plans.

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What are the most important considerations?

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What are the most important considerations?

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Janet Hunt, Insurance Agent

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Once you have decided to purchase health insurance as an international student, there are a few things to consider. Check if the plan covers both accidents and illnesses. You will also want to check out out-of-pocket expenses such as co-payments and deductibles. Can you use any doctor you want? One of the most important things to look at are policy exclusions (things that are not covered by the plan).

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Can International Students Use Medicaid?

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Can International Students Use Medicaid?

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Janet Hunt, Insurance Agent

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Yes, if you are considered a “qualified non-citizen,” you may be eligible for coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid, but you will need to meet state requirements. in matters of income and residence. However, as a foreign student, it can be difficult to obtain Medicaid or CHIP coverage due to the long waiting periods (up to 5 years with a few exceptions).

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