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Student Insurance for an F1 Visa holder in the United States

May 24th, 2019 by Ross

We are starting a new series of blog posts titled “Study in the USA” and we will be looking at the options and situations international students will face when they are studying in the USA, and what challenges they may come up against with regards to insurance. In this first blog post we will be looking at the largest student visa category, the F1 Visa, and what students need to know about the insurance requirements for this visa.

As an F1 Visa holder, you need to remember that you won’t automatically get health insurance, which means you have to buy insurance yourself. The medical care in the United States is expensive, and can consume most of your budget if anything unexpected happens during your stay in the United States.

Today we will discuss what the F1 Visa is, and give you information about insurance for an F1 Visa holder.

What is the F1 Visa?

The F1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa held by foreign students who study in United States. If you are attending one of the following intuitions, you will most likely be on an F1 Visa:

  • University or college
  • High school
  • Private elementary school
  • Seminary
  • Conservatory
  • Language training program
  • Other academic institution

There are other visa types that you could be studying under, such as the J1 or M1 Visa, which we will discuss in other blog posts.

How is F1 Visa insurance handled?

There are actually no insurance requirements for the F1 Visa, unlike other visa categories where you have to purchase a certain level of coverage. Therefore, students are just left to themselves to make sure they have coverage in place. In most cases, your school will provide some assistance with this, and how this is handled varies from school-to-school!

How do schools in the United States handle the insurance?

Schools in the United States handle insurance in many different ways. The three most common ways in which schools handle insurance are:

Mandatory school group health insurance plan

Some schools will require all foreign students to purchase their school health insurance plan, with no option to waive or purchase another plan. The coverage provided by your school is often very comprehensive, but on the flip side it can also be very expensive!

If your school does mandate their own coverage, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your insurance is valid during your school breaks, and if you travel home. Some plans will not cover this, so you may need to purchase additional insurance
  • Ensure there is additional coverage for evacuation, repatriation, and emergency reunion coverage. Some school plans may not cover this.

School group health insurance plan with the option to waive

Some schools will require all foreign students to purchase their school health insurance plan, however they will give students the option to waive or purchase another plan. To do this, students will typically need to purchase a comparable plan that will meet certain levels of coverage, then they will need to complete a waiver form and submit this to their school so they can waive out of the school insurance plan.

We will talk more about insurance waivers in a future blog post, and will link that up here when that is live!

School without group health insurance plan

There are some schools that don’t provide an insurance plan for their students, but either suggest some sources where students can purchase a plan, or allow students to purchase a plan of their choice. Some of them may also have insurance requirements that you have to meet, and as long as you meet those minimum coverage levels the school is happy.

Looking for F1 Visa Insurance Options

As outlined above, there are most likely going to be many students who will be looking for insurance coverage for their F1 Visa. If your school mandates their insurance plan, unfortunately you have to purchase their plan, however if they are one of the options outlined in points 2) and 3) above, you now have the ability to look for coverage that suits your needs and budget. +

The good news is that eStudent Insurance is uniquely placed to allow you to search and filter the options you (and/or your school requires) to find the plan to suit your needs. For example, if your school requires that you have maternity coverage, you just need to run a quote and select “Maternity” in the filter options to see the plans that will meet that requirement! Search, compare and purchase insurance today!

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