How to get international student health insurance in the US? 

How to get international student health insurance in the US 

Living in the US can be quite expensive, particularly for international students coming on J, F, and M visas. They often finance their education through loans and scholarships. When it comes to the expensive life in the US, even getting sick can be unaffordable for many. Getting ill or involved in an accident is not something a foreign student can afford. However, things happen. This is where a comprehensive international student health insurance plan comes into the picture. 

International students in the US may need health insurance to enroll at a university, but not necessarily to get an F1 or M1 visa. Things are different for students on J-visas. If you are on a J1 visa, you must follow the insurance guidelines set by the law. So, how to get a student health insurance plan? Here are the simple steps. 

Step 1: Review your visa. 

Depending on your visa, you may need to buy a plan that suits your requirements. J1 visa students are mandated to buy a plan that meets US State Department’s guidelines, or else their visas can be canceled. Students with F or M visas entering the US do not have to meet any insurance requirements set by the US State Department, but they must meet the insurance requirement of their college or university, or else they will not be enrolled in the classes or training programs. Even if there may not be a requirement from your school/university, it is a good idea to have sufficient insurance coverage for your stay in the US.  

Step 2: Check with your school/university/sponsor. 

Check if your school/university/college implements a mandatory group health insurance plan. If they do, you must ask them if they are included in the tuition and other bills you pay in the beginning, or must you pay them additionally and then proceed with completing the payments. If they have a mandatory group health insurance plan with an optional waiver, check if waiving the insurance with another plan provides you enough coverage.  If it does, ask them to send you a waiver form, or you may be able to download the waiver form so that you can buy a plan from outside. However, this insurance plan must meet your school’s insurance requirements. If your school does not have any insurance plan, you can go ahead and buy a plan as per your length of stay. 

Step 3: Check for companies offering insurance plans. 

There are many US-based insurance companies and providers who offer insurance plans. Now, not all plans can suit your needs. You need to go through the plans, compare them and then find the suitable one for you. Also, your chosen plan must meet the school’s or State’s insurance requirements. has several comprehensive and fixed benefit plans for international students on J, F, and M visas. You can check the site, get quotes, and compare the plans.. Or you can also call us to buy a plan. However, you can only buy insurance from a third party if there is a waiver option or if the university does not have a specific benefit requirement. List the benefits you think are necessary for you (including the ones on the waiver form). Do not forget to check if your dependents can be added to the plan if you plan to bring someone to the US with you. 

What are the health insurance options for foreign students? 

When you look up international student health insurance options in the US, you should also consult the regulation of the institution where you are registered. You must check to see if they have any specific requirements. Here are the main types that you can choose from: 

  1. Mandatory group plan 

Some schools/colleges/universities in the US have their own plan with unlimited coverage, which foreign students must buy. Typically, these plans offer comprehensive coverage, including maternity, mental health, wellness, preventive care, and more. 

  1. Group plan with the option to waive. 

Some schools/colleges/universities have an insurance plan for all their students but may allow students to opt-out. Under this condition, the student can choose a health insurance plan outside the one offered by the school. The school decides if the plan bought through a private company is adequate through the waiver form. This is typically a two-page document containing a list of the benefits your health insurance policy needs to meet or exceed. 

  1. Optional plan 

There are educational institutes in the US that do not have mandatory plans with pre-determined coverage. Therefore, students are free to select whatever plan they like. If your school permits you to buy any plan, never opt for a cheap one. Instead, compare and get quotes for several plans and pick the best health insurance for international students in the US. 


When deciding the best insurance plans, you must consider the school’s requirements, your visa, training program, and the length of your stay in the US. If you intend to stay in the US after graduation, you may need to change your insurance plans. can help you determine the right coverage needed for your temporary stay. To know more, call or drop us an email.