The Importance of Health Insurance for International Students

International Students Studying in the U.S.

Hundreds of thousands of students come to the U.S. every year to experience life in the U.S. and to attend some of the most prestigious schools in the world. To be accepted into the U.S. to study, international students must apply for a J-1 or F-1 visa from the U.S. Department of State. The next step should include plans to purchase international health insurance that will provide medical benefits while studying in the U.S. If you have a J-1 visa, the Department of State requires health coverage during your stay in America

The Importance of Health Insurance for International Students

Health insurance is not only a smart idea for international students to have but it can protect you from financial burden if an unexpected illness/injury should happen. Most students are young and healthy and will rarely have medical issues. However, it’s a smart idea to have a comprehensive medical plan in place to protect you.

The Student Secure plan is a very comprehensive and affordable student health plan for international students both, inside and outside the US. Student Secure comes in two levels, budget and select. The plan provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient medical coverage up to $250,000 (budget) or $300,000 (select).

The plan also includes maternity, mental health, prescription drugs, sports coverage, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, doctor office visits, etc. You have the option to pay for it all at once or on a monthly basis.

After you purchase this plan, you will immediately receive a confirmation e-mail. In this e-mail, it will contain your insurance card, letter of coverage, receipt and policy details.

How to Find Health Insurance for International Student

Step 1
Call your parents’ insurance company. As a student, you might qualify for your parents’ insurance plan. Some plans pay only for treatment rendered at a specific network of providers, while others will pay for a doctor anywhere. Low-cost HMOs usually cover emergency treatment outside of the network, but might not cover international travel. Provide detailed information on your itinerary, including any extreme sports you plan to do and the length of your trip.

Step 2
Meet with your adviser at school. If your trip is school-sponsored or you are in an exchange program, the school might have made arrangements to provide low-cost insurance to participants. Even if you will travel independently, some schools offer discounts for specific travel insurance companies. Your adviser also can help you work through exclusions and limitations and compare different plans.

Step 3
Check major insurance websites such as Some companies specialize in student travel, while others offer coverage for travelers of all ages. You can customize a plan that is right for you, combining theft insurance, trip cancellation insurance and other products with your health insurance for a single fee. Make sure you read the fine print, as each policy has its own requirements and exclusions.

Step 4
Roll insurance into your package. Most tour operators allow you to add health insurance to your package for a low rate. If you are going on a guided tour or a cruise, this is often the cheapest option. If you are combining several trips with different companies, add up the total price of insuring each segment individually and compare it to the cost of independently insuring your entire trip.

Step 5
Look at global health insurance plans at websites such as and If you travel extensively or are planning to study abroad, you might be eligible for a global health insurance plan. The plans are accepted in dozens of countries around the globe, but function like traditional health insurance. You can choose your deductible and level of coverage. United States citizens must reside abroad for six months of the year in order to qualify.