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If you’re an international student pursuing your dreams in the United States on an F1 visa, ensuring you have the right health insurance is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deep into everything you need to know about F1 Visa Health Insurance. From coverage options to costs, we’ve got you covered.

International Students with Health Insurance in the USA

Borrowing money to finance higher education in the United States might add to the financial strain of holding an F1 visa. If one does not plan for an emergency, the high expense of living in the United States could make even getting sick prohibitive.

A student cannot afford to miss class because of illness or injury in the United States. However, unexpected events can and do occur. Suddenly, you’re in a bad state of health or have been seriously injured, and you’re also far from your home and loved ones. The last thing you need is stress over how to pay for expensive medical care.

Do Foreign Students Need Health Insurance in the United States?

Although medical coverage isn’t required to enter the United States for college, F1 visa applicants are strongly encouraged to have it. Accordingly, the university has imposed these requirements for adequate health insurance coverage, not by US law. Therefore, you should check with the school you’re considering enrolling in to see if international students must have health insurance.

Standard requirements for school insurance

Even while each school will develop its own “waiver form” to decide whether an external health insurance plan is sufficient to waive school-sponsored coverage, the majority of schools demand the same essential benefits:

  • International students must purchase a suitable insurance maximum, as they are frequently required to do so by colleges and universities. This is because a plan’s policy limit must be at least $50,000. It shows the highest amount your insurance coverage will pay toward your medical expenses. Consequently, some schools will require an unconstrained policy maximum, meaning your insurance will not have a defined maximum.
  • Relatively Low Deductible – To keep students’ out-of-pocket expenses low, several schools set deductible caps per ailment or insurance period as part of their waiver requirements.
  • Mental Health Coverage – To ensure that students are in good physical and mental health, external health insurance policies are often required to cover both in-patient and out-patient mental health care at a fixed amount or a percentage of each visit.
  • Preventatively, adequate maternity coverage is a frequent need for foreign student health insurance waivers. Rather than requiring a specific monetary amount for maternity coverage, schools require a high percentage, typically at least 80 percent coverage in-network for prenatal, delivery, and postoperative care.
  • Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions – Schools generally require that your health insurance plan cover any conditions you may have had before entering the United States, regardless of any waiting time.
  • Schools frequently include emergency medical evacuation coverage on their “waiver forms” since it is required by federal law for J visa holders. Depending on your insurance plan, evacuation coverage will assist in transporting you by ground or air wherever emergency care can be obtained quickly.
  • Coverage for Repatriation of Remains – Repatriation coverage, commonly known as the Return of Mortal Remains, provides financial assistance to your family if you pass away while traveling abroad. Schools typically mandate that your insurance plan include repatriation coverage to provide your family with the required preparation, logistical, and financial cover in a disaster. This is performed to simplify the procedure as much as feasible.

When must F1 visa applicants have health insurance?

Student health insurance is available before and after students arrive in the country. Shopping aggregators like Insubuy provide students with many different possibilities from which to pick. Depending on the policy, you can have it covered the day after you buy it.

Why am I unable to use my travel insurance?

F1 student health insurance is mandatory for an F1 visa; however, it does not provide the same level of coverage as the insurance purchased in the United States. Student health insurance will cover any medical expenses you rack up while studying in the States. Alternatively, travel insurance will safeguard you and your belongings while away.

How do international students in the USA obtain health insurance?

To qualify for affordable student health insurance in the United States, you must take the following measures:

  1. Determine whether your US school, university, or college has a required group health insurance program.
  2. If they do, you need to confirm with the school if those costs are included in the tuition invoices or if additional fees must be paid in addition to the tuition.
  3. Know if you qualify for a waiver from participation in mandatory group health insurance programs. If it doesn’t, you need to request a waiver form and proceed with steps 2, 3, and 4.
  4. If they do not have health insurance, proceed to step 4.
  5. Look into brokers like Insubuy or non-profits that provide health insurance to international students in the US.
  6. List the most essential benefits (including the waiver form) and evaluate them against the packages provided by the companies you’ve looked into. If you intend to bring someone to the US, confirm whether they can be included as dependents in the plan.
  7. After deciding which plan is best for you, complete the purchase.

Options for International Students Health Insurance in the US

You should also check the institution’s regulations where you are registered to see if there are any special requirements when searching for foreign student health insurance choices in the USA. The critical categories from which you can select are as follows:

Required Group Plan

Some US universities, colleges, and schools require international students to purchase mandatory plans with preset coverage.

Here are some of the most essential parts of the plans that schools use:

  • They frequently cost more than individual policies and are commonly added to your tuition.
  • They offer complete coverage, which includes maternity coverage, no-waiting-period pre-existing diseases, mental health, wellness, and preventative care.

Mandatory Group with a Waiver Option

Some schools, colleges, and universities require all their students to enroll in an insurance plan with a set level of coverage, but they also give them the option to decline. This is provided that the student who opts to obtain health insurance outside of what the school has decided does so with a sufficient plan.

Through the “waiver form,” schools determine whether the outside plan is adequate. A list of the advantages your health insurance coverage must either fulfill or surpass is contained in a document of up to two pages. It needs to be signed by you and the insurance provider.

Alternative Plan

There are educational institutions in the US that do not require students to enroll in mandated plans with predetermined coverage, leaving them free to choose any project they want.

Never choose the least expensive option if your school allows you to select any plan. Both the most and the most minor services. Choose the best health insurance for F1 visa holders in the USA by comparing several options.

USA Requirements for International Student Health Insurance

Schools using a “waiver form,” in particular, will demand that you buy insurance that satisfies the requirements specified below:

  • An adequate policy cap: Students must often buy coverage with a maximum of at least $50,000.
  • Comparably Low Deductible: Many institutions stipulate a maximum deductible per illness or insurance period as a tiny part of their waiver requirements. 
  • Coverage for mental health: This criterion was established because schools take the welfare of their pupils seriously and want to ensure they are in good mental and physical shape.
  • Maternity coverage: At least 80% of a woman’s maternity care costs, including those incurred during pregnancy, childbirth, and the immediate postpartum period, must be covered by in-network providers for a plan to be considered adequate for female students.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions coverage: Such pre-existing conditions as diabetes must be covered by your policy.
  • Repatriation of Remains coverage: Should the unthinkable happen and you pass away, repatriation of remains insurance will help your loved ones pay to return your body to its country of origin.

How Much Will My F1 Visa Health Insurance Cost?

Your city or state of residence, age, and coverage are just a few variables that affect the price of your F1 visa insurance.

  • Your home address. The costs vary according to the state or county where you reside.
  • You’re age. The worth increases as one gets older.
  • Coverage: The scope (what you want the insurance to include/cover) and the duration.

The best health insurance options in the USA for foreign students

The top health insurance options for international students studying in the USA are as follows:

  • ExchangeGuard, which provides COVID-19 coverage
  • Patriot Exchange Program, which includes coverage for COVID-19.
  • Student Safe provides coverage for COVID-19.
  • Student Health Benefits provide a range for COVID-19.
  • Study USA provides coverage for COVID-19.
  • Student Navigator. No coverage of COVID-19.
  • America the Patriot. No coverage of COVID-19.

What Are SEVIS and the SEVP? 

The Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program is a link for federal agencies to maintain track of non-immigrant students in the country. SEVP approves and oversees schools that are permitted to enroll non-immigrant pupils (F1 and M1 Visa holders).

A web-based tool called Student Exchange Visitor Information System or (SEVIS), is used to keep track of data on:

  • Information on SEVP-certified institutions.
  • International students with F1 and M1 visas are coming to study here.
  • Participants in the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program; Sponsors for the US Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Programs.

Schools use SEVIS to apply for legal certification from the SEVP to provide non-immigrant students with educational opportunities.

I Need Travel Medical Insurance, but Why?

  • Schools mandate that students sign up for a specified insurance plan or submit a waiver form stating they have comparable medical coverage. Students who intend to opt out of a school’s required insurance plan can look for alternative coverage options that better fit their financial needs. Alternative travel health insurance, however, must adhere to the school’s health insurance criteria.
  • The United States does not have a universal healthcare system to cover the costs of medical care incurred by residents and international tourists while they are in the country. Instead, Americans and foreigners use private insurance companies to help cover medical expenses.
  • Applicants for F-1 visas are not required to have travel health insurance. However, applicants may be required to present proof of subsistence to cover any potential medical expenses incurred during their stay. This is a popular reason for travel medical insurance, which is also a proactive strategy to help safeguard oneself from future medical expenses.


What is F1 health insurance coverage?

No government-imposed health insurance requirements exist for international students studying in the US on an F1 visa. Because of the importance of health coverage, F1 visa holders and their dependents are expected to abide by the insurance rules set forth by their schools.

How can F-1 students obtain medical coverage?

If their university offers it, international students can acquire health insurance there. If not, they can also purchase one on the free market. They must fill out various forms before choosing the F1 medical insurance for students that best meets their requirements.

Can F-1 students obtain health care?

Your budget can stay in good shape with IMG student healthcare plans. Students with an F1 visa who meet the requirements for a J1 visa are eligible for coverage for overseas students studying in the US.

What does American student health insurance cost?

According to) the American College Health Association, the average annual cost of a student’s university-provided health insurance is between $ 1,500 and $ 2,500. All college F1 healthcare plans must meet the ACHA’s student health insurance and benefits coverage requirements.

Invest in your health and education today. For free insurance quotes tailored to your needs, visit and secure your future.

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Dr Emily Reed
About Dr Emily Reed

Dr. Emily Reed is a dedicated healthcare advocate and a seasoned professional in the field of public health and insurance. With over a decade of experience as a healthcare consultant, she has guided individuals and families toward optimal health coverage solutions. Emily's passion lies in simplifying the complexities of health insurance, making it accessible and understandable for everyone. Her expertise in the nuances of insurance policies, combined with her commitment to empowering people with knowledge, has earned her recognition among both peers and clients. Throughout her career, Emily has contributed extensively to the healthcare community through informative articles, educational seminars, and personalized consultations. Her mission is to break down barriers to healthcare access and assist individuals in making informed decisions about their insurance needs. As a key contributor to, Dr. Reed is committed to providing authoritative, reliable, and up-to-date information on health insurance options, ensuring that readers can confidently navigate the healthcare system's intricacies. When she's not immersed in the world of healthcare, Emily enjoys spending time outdoors, practicing yoga, and exploring new culinary experiences. Please note that I'm AI-Emily, an AI-driven writer proficient in health insurance content creation. Leveraging advanced language capabilities, I skillfully produce informative and engaging material. Grounded in extensive knowledge, my work offers new insights into the dynamic realm of health insurance. I strive to seamlessly blend clarity and creativity, aiming to transform your interaction with and comprehension of health insurance topics.

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