International Student medical insurance options

It's that time of year again when colleges and schools are gearing back up for a new year. Here at American Visitor Insurance, we've helped thousands of international students secure the insurance they need to study in the US and abroad! Here's a little buying guide to help you choose an economical plan that will meet your institution's requirements.

Firstly, if your institution simply wants you to have some health insurance, then you are free to purchase any plan (whether for student or visitor) that we offer. Student plans are specifically for students or exchange scholars only. Your eligibility is tied to the visa you are using for entry into the country. For international students in the US, they can be on F1 visas or J1 visas. Technically, most policies for students require the F1 or J1 person to be the primary insured (the first one on the policy, whether male or female) and F2 and J2 dependents can be added as a spouse or child defendants to that policy. However, a select few policies allow a J2 visa or F2 visa holder to purchase them as the primary insured (specifically Patriot Exchange).

So, for students with no specific requirements (besides possibly maximum and/or deductible) you can choose from any visitor or student plan we offer. I would personally suggest a comprehensive policy with a maximum of at least $100,000 (which is specifically required for the J1/J2 visas).

If, on the other hand, you have a laundry list of requirements from your institution, here are some that meet a more demanding list.

Institution requirements that are difficult to meet:
  1. Unlimited maximum -- Most student policies have fairly generous maximums ($200,000 to $300,000 at least), but that is not enough for some institutions. The only one we offer with an unlimited maximum is GeoBlue Navigator for Students. A couple others that may work have an unlimited lifetime maximum (check the wording on your requirement), and they are called Collegiate Care Standard and Collegiate Care Preferred.
  2. Coverage for maternity/pregnancy -- For this type of coverage you must choose a student plan. The best coverage is from Collegiate Care Preferred (up to $50,000 coverage). The next best plans cover 80% in network (70 or 60% out of network) and they are Student Secure Elite, Student Secure Select, Student Health Advantage Platinum, Study USA Preferred 300 or 500. There are a few others with more limited coverage.
  3. Coverage for mental health: 75% cover with GeoBlue Navigator for Students, $5000 with Liaison Student Economy, Study USA or Collegiate Care Silver, $10,000 with Liaison Student Choice or Collegiate Care Gold, $25,000 with Liaison Student Elite, 80% with Student Secure Elite or Student Secure Select, $50,000 with Collegiate Care Preferred.
  4. Coverage for alcohol/drug abuse: 75% with GeoBlue Navigator for Students, $2500 with Liaison Student Economy, $3000 with Student Secure Budget, $5000 with Liaison Student Choice, Student Secure Elite, Student Secure Select, Student Health Advantage, Student Health Advantage Platinum, Study USA plans (all).
  5. Coverage for athletic teams and sports and athletics: GEOBlue Navigator for Student (no scuba), $2500 with Liaison Student Economy, $5000 with Liaison Student Choice, Student Secure Select or Elite, or Student Health Advantage or Platinum or Study USA (any), $7500 with Liaison Student Elite.
  6. Coverage for High School athletics: URC with Patriot Exchange with Add-on Plan.
  7. Coverage for pre-existing conditions with no waiting period.
  8. Coverage for pre-existing conditions for acute onset: $5000 with Liaison Student Economy, $10,000 with Liaison Student Choice, and $25,000 with Liaison Student Elite.
  9. Coverage for pre-existing conditions with a 6 month waiting period:
  10. Coverage for wellness and preventative medicine: GEOBlue Navigator for Student, $100 for immunizations with Liaison Student Economy, $150 for immunizations with Liaison Student Choice, $200 for immunizations with Liaison Student Elite, one routine physical exam per year with any Study USA plans.
Students and scholars should be aware that several policies charge significantly more for a dependent on the policy or don't allow coverage for dependents. Policies that do allow dependents and only charge the same amount for dependents are: Liaison Student Economy and Patriot Exchange Standard.

Also, if you are told that you have to meet Affordable Care Act (ACA) student insurance requirements, then as far as we can tell, you will be forced to purchase the institution's offered insurance since no short term visitor and student plans are not ACA compliant.

If your institution requires a signed waiver to be submitted on your behalf (signed from the insurance company), you will have to purchase the insurance and then send the form to the correct email address for the insurance company. We can help you get the right email address if you do not know where it should be sent. You will have to fill out your portion (if necessary) and include the certificate number of the policy as well as the email address where it needs to go.

Note also that all the student plans must be purchased for entire months. If you purchase it for one month and one day, you will pay for two months, so you may as well purchase the full month in case your plans change and you stay in the US a little longer than expected.

Please let us help you if you can't understand or are not sure if a policy will meet your requirements, please contact us. It is helpful if you can link the requirements or include the PDF file with them so we can look them over for you. We are happy to help you figure out the best option for you!

American Visitor Insurance wishes you a great new year filled with learning and improvement! Good luck!

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