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Best Health Insurance For International Students in USA

Are you planning to study in the United States but are unsure which student health insurance to purchase? Then check out this article for your seven greatest selections!

As someone who has had the opportunity to study abroad in two different countries, I am a strong proponent of doing so whenever possible. Especially in a country like the United States, which is known around the world for its education!

But, aside from the usual concerns about classwork and language acquisition, there are a few other aspects of your exchange to consider. International insurance plan for students is one of those details.

What category of international students need health insurance?

It makes no difference if you’re doing an exchange, a high school semester, a university degree, or a free course in the United States…

You must still obtain health insurance. Not just to protect yourself from the exorbitant expenditures of medical care in the United States, but also to ensure that you meet the requirements for your American student visa.

As a result, I’ve compiled a list of the 5 best and cheapest foreign health insurance plans for students studying in the United States, along with two extra options.

What does it mean to be a student with foreign health insurance?

A student health insurance policy ensures that you are covered if something goes wrong while you are studying in the United States.

Do you require insurance only if you’re traveling somewhere dangerous?

Certainly not!

We require health insurance coverage when we’re abroad, just as we do for our cars, flights, and our home country’s medical system. Accidents and health difficulties can happen everywhere, after all!

A decent health insurance plan can also help you save a lot of money, in addition to providing you with piece of mind. Especially considering, if you don’t have insurance, paying for any form of medical care (even a simple doctor’s visit) in the United States can be prohibitively expensive.

Is it necessary to have health insurance in order to obtain a student visa in the United States?

The quick answer is that it is dependent on the situation.

If you’re on a J-1 visa for a student exchange (or have dependents on a J-2 visa), you’ll need medical coverage for the duration of your program. There is no obligation for coverage if you are visiting on a F visa.

Is insurance coverage compulsory for international students?

When you enroll, though, the school you’ll be attending will almost certainly need you to show proof of insurance.

However, having insurance because you’re compelled to do so isn’t the sole reason to do so.

As I previously stated, aside from knowing that you’ll be protected in the event of an accident, illness, or other health concern, you also won’t have to worry about being saddled with large medical payments.

Unlike many other countries, the United States lacks a universal healthcare system just like the European Union.

And, given that medical bills account for 66% of all bankruptcies in the United States…

This is a risk I don’t think you want to take!

What are the many types of student visas available in the United States?

Before I discuss the most affordable health insurance plans for international students in the United States, I’d want to go over the many sorts of student visas that you might be applying for.

Categories of Visa for international students in USA

In the United States, there are two basic categories of student visas:

In order to participate in exchange programs in the United States, you will need a visa (J-1).

Student visas for university students in the United States are available (F-1 and M-1)

Below, I’ll go over each of these visas (as well as how health insurance works for them).


In order to study in the United States as an exchange student, you will need a visa (J-1)
Students who have been accepted into American exchange programs are granted the J-1 visa.

(Also, the J-1 visa is valid for anyone planning to serve as an au pair in the United States!)

To apply, you’ll need to make an appointment with the nearest American consulate. You must bring all relevant documentation to this appointment (which will usually be given to you by your exchange agency).


A J-2 visa allows you to bring your dependents with you.

And, as I previously stated, if you have a J visa, you (and your family) are forced to register.


Student visas for university students in the United States are available (F-1 and M-1)

You’ll need to apply for an F-1 visa if you want to take a course at an academic institution, such as a school or a university.

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You’ll need to apply for an M-1 visa if you want to pursue a professional or other non-degree course.

The documentation you’ll need for each one will depend on the course you’re taking. As a result, I recommend speaking with the university where you’ll be studying, as many of them have sections dedicated to assisting students with visa applications.

You can also apply for visas for your family members (spouse or children). In this situation, they’ll be issued an F-2 or M-2 visa and will be able to enter the United States as dependents of the main visa holder.

And, as I previously stated, if you’re going to the United States on a F or M visa, you’re not technically required to have medical coverage. Many colleges, however, will require you to obtain health insurance. And, as we’ve already stated, you don’t want to be stuck paying for healthcare in the United States without insurance.


What is the purpose of this international health insurance?

These health insurances are available to these citizens who are studying in the United States:

People in the United Kingdom
New Zealanders, as well as people of practically every other country who live in another country

They serve students from all over the world, including those who live in:

France (as a whole, the European Union/Schengen area)
United Kingdom of Great Britain
Australia (and Hong Kong) China (and Hong Kong)
Also, students from practically any other country in the world can apply.

Simply put, regardless of where you are from or where you wish to study, the majority of the firms on this list will be able to provide you with adequate coverage and worldwide health plans.


The top five health insurance firms in the United States for international students.

Finally, let’s look at the finest health insurance options for overseas students attending high school, university, or participating in an exchange program in the United States.

Tip: As always, I recommend getting an internet quote from each of the businesses listed below. I understand that this will take some time, but the money you’ll save in the end will make it worthwhile.


1. IMGlobal

IMGlobal offers three different student health plans:

  • The Patriot Exchange Program (PEP)
  • Student Health Benefits
  • Platinum Health Advantage

I’ll go over each of them in more detail below.

1. The Patriot Exchange Program (PEP)

This health insurance plan was created with international students having any of the visas listed above in mind. You can also incorporate coverage for your family with this plan (if they are on an F-2, M-2, or J-2 visa).

You have the option of setting your maximum coverage limit anywhere between $50,000 and $500,000 per accident or illness. COVID-19 and telemedicine for non-emergency cases are covered under this plan.


2. Student Health Benefits

This plan offers two major advantages. The first is that it is an international health insurance plan that also covers students in Europe, and that individual and group policies are available.

 The second advantage is that: Mental diseases, prenatal care, telemedicine, COVID-19 expenditures, and pre-existing conditions are all covered by Health Advantage, although many of the others do not.


3.Platinum Student Health Advantage

As the name implies, Student Health Advantage Platinum is an upgrade to the prior plan. In addition to the previously mentioned benefits, the maximum coverage has been increased to $1,000,000 USD.


IMGlobal’s International student health insurance benefits:

  • They have plans designed exclusively for international students on J-1 or F-1 visas in the United States.


  • They also have options that cover students with Schengen visas in European countries.
    IMG’s global network includes more than 17,000 doctors.


  • As a student of any nationality, you can acquire coverage.


  • Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (in case of emergencies)


  • For groups of five or more persons, group plans are available.


  • COVID-19 expenditures are covered in the same way as other illnesses and injuries.

IMGlobal’s international student health insurance disadvantage

Some of the plans do not cover pre-existing conditions or only cover them after a one-year waiting period (which is inconvenient for students who will only be in the country for a short time).

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2. Cigna Global

International health insurance for expatriates 6
Cigna Global is one of the world’s major health insurance firms. They don’t have any plans expressly for students, but you may still use them as a student to get full medical coverage, whether you’re on a J-1, M-1, or F-1 visa.

Another plus is that you can use this plan to get health insurance anywhere in the world, not only in the United States. In other words, you’ll have medical care through your Cigna plan even if you go to other countries (Canada, Mexico, etc.) during your exchange in the United States.


 Cigna’s international  student health insurance benefits

  • Flexible deductibles allow you to determine how much you pay up front.


  • You have the option of paying monthly, quarterly, or annually.


  • Their plans cover you all over the world, not just in the US.


  • You don’t pay the healthcare provider directly in most circumstances (Cigna pays them immediately for your consultation so you don’t have to request reimbursement).


  • There are three plans to choose from: Silver, gold, or platinum are the three metals that can be used to make jewelry.


  • Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


  • They feature extensive web resources, including a directory of almost 3,000 hospitals.


  • Cigna has worked with more than 1.65 million hospitals, doctors, clinics, and specialists throughout the world to provide care… allowing you to choose from a variety of medical care options

IMGlobal’s International student health insurance disadvantage

  • They don’t have any plans tailored to students (though you can still use them to cover you as a student)


  • Outpatient visits with experts and doctors are not covered.


  • Before they can give you a custom quote, you must provide a lot of personal information.


3. Global Health Foyer

Foyer Global Health is another well-known name in worldwide health insurance.

One thing that stands out about Foyer, in my opinion, is how much you can personalize your plan by setting limits for different types of coverage.

Foyer, like Cigna, does not have particular student plans, yet any of their plans can cover you as a student. Instead, they offer three basic programs that you can tailor to your preferences (essential, special, and exclusive).


Foyer Global Health’s student health insurance benefits

  • They provide customer service via phone and email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with qualified counselors, doctors, and specialists.


  • You can customize your coverage based on a variety of parameters, including: your age, nationality, dental and vision coverage, immunizations, maternity care, and children


  • For each of these criteria, you can select a level of coverage (from none to maximum).
    Getting a quote is simple and quick (you don’t have to enter a lot of personal information, unlike most other insurance websites).


  • Consultations, surgeries, and basic dental procedures are included in all of their plans.
    They’re one of the few insurers that provides evacuation and repatriation services.


  • Before your journey, you can get medical assistance and advice, including all of the vaccines required by your destination country and the development of a first-aid kit.

Foyer Global international student health insurance disadvantage

  • They don’t have any plans tailored to students (though you can still use them to cover you as a student)


  • While the customer service is adequate, it is not as straightforward as the other firms I’ve suggested.


  • The coverage limit on their website is a little hazy.


  • In the United States, they have some restrictions on what they can cover (so be sure to confirm this coverage before you buy a plan)



Another key player in the insurance industry is HCCMIS.

Their “StudentSecure” plan covers all types of exchange students in the United States.

 HCCMIS international student health insurance benefits

  • They have plans that are tailored to the needs of kids.


  • They are one of the few companies that cover emergency dental care (in the event of an accident) and offer an investment plan if you pay for your insurance policy in full up front. They are also one of the most affordable options among the companies listed here.


  • To acquire a quote, you don’t need to provide much personal information.


  • Each plan is distinct from the others, giving you a wide range of coverage possibilities.

HCCMIS international student health insurance disadvantage

  • Pre-existing conditions and maternal/newborn care are not covered by the Smart plan.


  • For pre-existing conditions, the Elite plan has a 6-month waiting period.


  • The Elite plan is the only one that includes vaccine coverage.


5. Underwriters from around the world


Global Underwriters is another excellent option on our list, specializing in international student health insurance. One of the most appealing features of GU is that they provide several programs for different types of travelers.

The Diplomat America plan, which is targeted on foreigners residing in the United States and supports everyone from digital nomads and missionaries to exchange students and international students, is a fantastic option for students in the United States.


Global Underwriters’ international student health insurance benefits

  • The Diplomat America plan has a $1,000,000 coverage limit.


  • Coverage is available for at least 15 days and up to one year.


  • In the market, there is a stable and integrated company.


  • Families and singles can both get coverage.


  • Exchange students and foreign residents in the United States can take advantage of plans made specifically for them.

Global Underwriters’ student health insurance benefits

  • Citizens of the United States are not covered.


  • The plans’ details are not made apparent on the website.


  • Pre-existing conditions should not be covered.


They have a lower emergency dental care limit than the other options indicated.

6. Allianz Care

Another well-known insurance firm is Allianz from Germany. Although they don’t provide particular student plans, they do offer some excellent health insurance choices for J-1 visa holders in the United States (and plans that cover the other types of American visas as well).

You can choose from two more strong choices, Allianz Care Pro and Allianz Care Plus, in addition to their base plan, Allianz Care.

 Allianz Care’s international student health insurance benefits

  • Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


  • The Allianz app is straightforward and easy to use.


  • Other members of your family (spouse or children) can be added to your insurance plan.


  • They also provide specific mental health support for students who are experiencing stress or anxiety.


  • You don’t have to pay the healthcare practitioner directly in most circumstances (Allianz pays them immediately for your consultation so you don’t have to request reimbursement).

Allianz Care’s student health insurance disadvantage

  • If you’re looking for precise information concerning coverage, the website is difficult to explore.


  • Extra payments are required for services such as dental assistance and repatriation.
    They don’t have a lot of plan possibilities.


7. International Health Now

Another excellent alternative is Now Health Foreign, which is one of the world’s leading providers of international insurance, with the objective of providing a satisfactory, accessible, and effective service.

One of the benefits of having a plan with Now Health International is its outstanding customer service, which provides all important information quickly and clearly.

Now Health understands that each foreign student’s daily life is unique, which is why all of the company’s programs are customisable to fit all of its clients’ challenges and needs.




Now Health’s student health insurance benefits

  • Customer service and communication should be prioritized.


  • Coverage is available in more than 194 nations and territories worldwide.


  • Maternity coverage is included in some policies.


  • There are a variety of plan options to choose from, as well as custom options.

 Now Health’s student health insurance disadvantage

  •  Some services covered by Now Health insurance have a reimbursement structure in place.


  • You must have completed the plan’s 12-month waiting period if you wish to access maternity coverage.

Best  health insurance companies for international students

Here are the best and cheapest international health insurance plans for students studying abroad in the United States: 

  1. IMG
  2. Cigna Global
  3. Foyer Global Health
  5. Global Underwriters
  6. Allianz Care
  7. Now Health International

Finally, any opportunity to study abroad is bound to be a fantastic experience. Choosing the best and cheapest insurance for your exchange in the United States will be one thing you don’t want to overlook.

After all, studying in a foreign country isn’t cheap…

As a result, we wish to save money whenever possible (and reduce the danger of unexpected medical expenditures ruining your trip!).

Do you have any further questions concerning the insurance providers I mentioned earlier? Or any additional concerns regarding relocating overseas in general (I’ve studied abroad in two different countries…so I know how difficult it can be!)? Simply let me know in the comments section below, and I’ll respond!




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