Every year, thousands of international students in foreign countries require emergency medical treatment, however, the cost of obtaining the needed health care does not come cheap. You have to factor in the different costs to be incurred. This will inform certain decisions that you need to make. This is because international students are most often not protected under any government health scheme. So, to mitigate this, it is important to purchase a student health insurance plan, either from your institution or from the open market.
Obtaining an international education is not a cheap process, Unfortunately, many international students often ignore the need to obtain student insurance plans. So they wait till it’s too late to make carefully informed decisions.
Types of Insurance Available to International Students
To take an insurance plan, you will need to consider variables such as your length of stay, country rules, and activities you may need coverage for. There are three important insurance types that you should consider. They include health insurance, travel insurance, and vehicle insurance. Our focus here is on health insurance for international students.
Health Insurance for International Students
For those who wish to study or are currently studying in the US, it is important to subscribe to a health insurance plan. Without this, you cannot register for, and attend classes. However, before signing up for a health insurance plan, it is important to inform your insurance provider of any pre-existing health condition(s) you may have to avoid your insurance from being voided. Some schools also require foreign students to have dental coverage, which is most often not included in their health insurance package. Hence, you can also take out dental insurance separately.
Sources of Health Insurance for International Students
- Your school: many universities offer international students health insurance plans they can subscribe to. While some make it compulsory, some schools give you the leverage to choose your plan elsewhere.
- Private insurance companies: if you decide not to subscribe to your school’s health insurance policy, you can opt-in for this option. The downside to this is that you get coverage only in the country you’re studying in.
- International student health insurance: you can get this online. You get coverage for more than one country. This is good especially when you intend to visit home.
Best International Student Health Insurance Plan
When searching for a good health insurance plan, you should look out for those that provide medical treatment, medication, and emergency evacuation. It is important to also keep the following 5 points in mind before your final selection:
- The policy maximum
This is the highest amount of money that an insurance provider will pay for covered illnesses or injuries. This amount differs for every plan, and it may be an annual limit, per term period, per incident, or it could be a lifetime maximum. Choose a plan with a maximum you’re comfortable with.
2. Policy deductible
This is the amount of money you pay for covered health care services before the insurance provider starts to cover the costs. A low deductible means your insurance provider will bear more of the cost; hence, you will have to pay more in your monthly premiums to balance out the increased coverage, and vice versa.
3. Your school’s requirement
Many foreign institutions have laid down instructions on the type of health insurance plan their international students must get. It is therefore important to check if the plan you want to purchase meets your school’s requirements.
4. The coverage you need
Go for a plan that gives you the coverage you need. It can be a pre-existing health condition, dental – which is often required by schools, maternity, emergency evacuation, medication, etc.
5. International coverage
If you want coverage not just in the country you’re studying in but worldwide, especially when you travel for holidays back home, then you should go for an international health insurance plan.
For more information on country-specific health insurance for international students, click the links below
Find more resources for international students here