International Medical Insurance for Students Studying at American Universities

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Traveling to the United States to study at an American university can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that gives you more of a global outlook and helps you identify what you’re passionate about in life. From visiting Mt. Rushmore to standing in the middle of Times Square, international students studying in the U.S. have an endless amount of experiences at their fingertips. However, study in the USA presents some logistical challenges for international students, one of which involves health insurance coverage.  

American universities have differing requirements when it comes to international student health coverage. Many American colleges offer their own health plans to students, either working with an insurance company that pays any claims or self-insuring and making any payments directly, according to ABC News.

This post will help you explore your options in finding international coverage by examining the policies of a few of the most popular U.S. universities for international students.

Insurance requirements at American universities

The following universities were among the top 10 U.S. institutions in hosting international students in 2012-13, according to the 2013 Open Doors Report by the Institute of International Education, a nonprofit that’s been involved in international student exchange for nearly a century.

New York University (NYU), New York, NY: 9,362 total international students


New York University requires international students to carry health insurance, describing it as a “necessity in the United States because of the very high cost of healthcare.” New international students are automatically enrolled in the NYU-sponsored Comprehensive Plan unless they complete a waiver process before the semester deadline.


To waive the NYU plan in favor of a private insurance policy, an international student must prove they have coverage from an insurance company that’s headquartered and operating in the United States. The policy must meet specified criteria involving the benefits and deductible. Travel policies with limited benefits and insurance plans that require students to pay for treatment out-of-pocket won’t be accepted, the NYU site says.

University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California 8,424 total international students


Health insurance is required for all UCLA students and is considered a condition of enrollment. Similar to NYU, UCLA offers a medical insurance program called the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP). All registered students are automatically enrolled in the UCLA plan, but you can submit a waiver by a specified deadline if you have comparable insurance through another company, according to the UCLA website.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan: 6,827 total international students


Michigan requires all F-1 or J-1 visa international students to have health insurance coverage for themselves and any dependents. The university coordinates health coverage for international students through the U-M International Center.

International students can use the U-M International Student/Scholar Health Insurance (IHI) Plan or get comparable coverage that meets all of the university’s health insurance standards. To get comparable coverage through a private insurance company, UM international students must apply for a waiver.

Private insurance

As you can see, some of the top American universities give international students a choice in getting health insurance coverage as long as that coverage meets specified standards. To find the coverage that’s right for your personal situation, you’ll want to research your different options, including private insurance that American insurance companies offer online.

Here are some benefits to look for when comparing private insurance policies:

  • If you’re visiting the USA on a J-1 student visa, does the coverage meet the requirements for the J-1 program?
  • Does the policy include emergency medical evacuation coverage?
  • If you’re an athlete, are college sports activities covered by the policy?
  • If you’re pregnant or nursing an infant, is maternity and newborn care covered?
  • Does the policy cover pre-existing conditions?

StudentSecure Insurance provides comprehensive medical coverage for full-time international students who are studying in the U.S. StudentSecure comes with emergency evacuation coverage and travel assistance services that are available 24/7. You can also get coverage for the acute onset of a pre-existing condition, sports coverage (StudentSecure Elite, Select, and Budget), and maternity/newborn coverage (StudentSecure Elite, Select, and Budget).

Pavel*, an international student studying management in the U.S., heard about StudentSecure from a friend.

“He said it helps everyone who needs insurance while studying abroad; it’s good to use with no hiccups or problems,” Pavel said.

“I just wanted to be secure and have health insurance. Security, above all else, was important to me as I pursue my education. With StudentSecure, I didn’t have to worry about anything at all.”

Get a free quote today for StudentSecure Insurance.

*Testimony was collected from the results of a general survey on all HCCMIS products. Participants were chosen from a random sampling of current and past customers, and phone surveys were conducted in April 2014. Participants were presented with a $10 Amazon e-gift card as compensation for their time in taking the survey.


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