Is Medical Insurance Necessary For US International Students?
The US has many top notch schools, colleges, and universities. Students worldwide come to the US to seek education, receive training, sharpen their skills, get practical experience in their specific academic fields, and much more. However, there can be some challenges and barriers during their period of study, such as unforeseen medical emergencies.
Foreign students can temporarily live in the US based on their chosen study programs. They can go to the US on J1 and F1 visas. Students on J1 visas are exchange students who have come to partake in the cultural exchange programs, while students on F1 visas come to the US for the purpose of pursuing a degree or certificate through the course.
International Students on J1 Visas
Foreign students or scholars on J1 visas have to register at accredited post-secondary academic institutions or partake in student internship programs that can help them achieve their educational goals in their home country. Students can register in full-time non-degree programs, do part-time jobs under some conditions, or participate in academic training with or without salaries.
Health Insurance For J1 Visa
J1 students have to carry their health insurance. The US Department of State has a few minimum insurance conditions for J1 and J2 visa bearers.
- Medical benefits of $100,000 per illness or accident
- $25,000 for repatriation of remains
- $50,000 for the purpose of medical evacuation of the visitor to their native country
- $500 deductible per illness or injury
- Plan to be underwritten by an insurance company with an A.M. Best rating of A-, or higher, or an Insurance Solvency International Ltd. (ISI) rating of A-I or higher, or a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of A- or higher, or a Weiss Research Inc. rating of B+ or higher.
According to regulations, J1 visa bearers should maintain proper health insurance for the duration of their programs. Not having insurance is regarded as a legal status violation and can result in the program getting terminated.
Students can choose a school, college, or university-sponsored insurance program. Furthermore, they can opt for individual or group programs for the duration of their stay. The J1 visa students/scholars can also choose to purchase a J1 visa insurance plan from a private US insurance company if it is permitted by the organization sponsoring them.
International Students On F1 Visa
Foreign students on F1 visas come to the US to obtain degrees from schools, colleges, or universities authorized by SEVP Immigration & Customs Enforcement. F1 students must register in a full-time course and can stay in the US till the completion of the program. However, they have to return to their home country after the course is finished. If students work under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program after completing their studies, they are allowed to extend their visas.
F1 Visa Health Insurance
Health insurance is not obligatory to keep F1 visa status, but international F1 visa students may not be able to register for academic classes in the US without medical insurance. Once the students get approved by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program institution, they get an I-20 form. This form records everything, which includes funding sources, health insurance, the start and end of the program, personal information, etc.
The US State Department has no clear insurance conditions for F1 students. Mainly, institutions determine what level of coverage students will need to register for the classes. Since it will differ, students can get insurance in numerous ways. For instance, they can get insurance from the obligatory school-sponsored group program with no choice to renounce coverage or from a school-sponsored program with the opportunity to renounce or choose coverage from outside school as there is no school-sponsored program.
Insurance plans protect foreign students from unforeseen medical bills in the US while they concentrate on achieving their academic dreams. A health insurance policy includes eligible medical expenses, hospitalization fees, surgeries, doctor appointments, urgent care, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, maternity, mental health, sports coverage, and so on. Each plan has different coverage as per a student’s requirements.
As the US has one of the world’s most costly healthcare systems, it is not easy for many to pay thousands of dollars for medical treatment. Hence, it can be difficult for international students to pay for medical expenses from their own pockets.
While J1 students have to purchase an insurance plan that fulfills the insurance conditions of the US Department of State, F1 students are required to buy a plan that fulfills their school’s requirements. Foreign students also get the option to waive off having to buy insurance from outside. Therefore, regardless of which visa takes you to the US, having health insurance will always be helpful during your stay.
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