Unlike other countries, the United States does not have public health care: all citizens of this country are required to have insurance from a private company, including tourists and foreign students. Lack of insurance can lead to high costs when contacting the clinic (up to $ 20,000, depending on the medical services provided). For foreign students who have an F-1 type visa, there are certain conditions when applying for medical insurance. 


The F-1 visa is one of the most popular visas available for foreigners who wish to continue their studies in the United States. Let’s look at the basic requirements as well as the types of insurance that are offered to students. By type of insurance, we mean the level of financial coverage of medical services by a private insurance company.Medical insurance requirements for F-1 visa holders 

No special insurance requirements for F visa holders are established by the US Department of State. In most cases, your school will determine which type of insurance you need, or you will have to determine the type of insurance yourself if your university does not have specific requirements in this matter.

Since the requirements for medical insurance may vary depending on the institution, financial coverage in this case may be of the following type:

  • collective insurance of students by the university where you study: in this case, the form of insurance is obligatory for all students and is often not subject to change
  • insurance supported by the university with the right to change the type of financial coverage or change the company itself
  • the lack of any insurance managed by the school: in this case, you will have to take care of the choice of health insurance, as well as the type of financial coverage

Collective Compulsory Insurance

If your school has compulsory medical insurance for its students, then you have no choice but to agree and buy exactly the type of insurance with a certain financial coverage that you are offered. Insurance cost will automatically be included in the total amount when paying for tuition. Usually, collective compulsory insurance from a university is much more expensive than buying an individual plan, however, the financial coverage of medical services is quite wide: preventive examination, psychological and physical health, pregnancy and childbirth, etc.

If your university adheres to the rules of collective insurance, then you need to take into account some important things related to having full coverage of financial coverage. First, make sure that the proposed fare will cover the period of school holidays, as well as the period of optional practical training. Second, some compulsory school-sponsored insurance schemes do not provide coverage for emergency evacuation, repatriation, and other similar medical services that may be needed. If this is the case, then you can consider purchasing a tariff with more extensive financing of services, such as evacuation or repatriation.

 Insurance with the support of the university with the right to change the tariff

Some schools or universities offer a compulsory insurance system with the right to waive the tariff provided, in case a student can show his individual insurance plan from another private company that meets the requirements of the educational institution.

In order to somehow facilitate this task, the university usually offers a special document or “form of refusal”, which states all the minimum requirements for individual insurance of a foreign student. As soon as you sign your tariff with another private company and provide confirmation, the university will remove you from the list of the general plan and will monitor the availability of individual insurance from year to year.

US Medical Insurance

Lack of insurance under the direction of the university

If the school does not oblige you to have a certain health insurance plan, then you are very lucky, because you yourself can choose the tariff and the level of financial coverage. However, in this case it is necessary to keep in mind the following important points:

  • choose a private insurance company with caution: read the reputation of Internet companies in this field on the Internet, or consult other foreign students
  • make sure that your chosen tariff has a wide coverage of medical services (!), otherwise it may happen that you have to pay a large amount upon arrival at the clinic
  • when applying for an F-1 visa, you are obliged to have a medical insurance, so you can find out the basic requirements already at the US embassy itself

General requirements for medical insurance for foreign students

Despite the fact that your university has compulsory insurance or not, there are general requirements that need to be borne in mind, especially when applying for the F-1 visa itself:

  • Minimum financial coverage: almost all educational institutions require to have a tariff that will cover possible medical costs ranging from $ 50,000.
  • Man’s mental health insurance: for guaranteed physical, mental and mental health of students, it is often necessary to have financial coverage of inpatient outpatient services or a visit to the psychologist itself
  • Coverage of medical services during pregnancy: schools, as a rule, do not require coverage for maternity and maternity in a certain amount of dollars, however, it is advised to have a percentage of financial coverage of at least 80% for prenatal care, gender and the postpartum period
  • Coverage of emergency medical evacuation: in case a person has an accident, urgent evacuation is necessary to transport the victim to the nearest medical facility that can provide proper care.
  • Financial coverage of repatriation services: in the event of a sudden and tragic student death, the family’s expenses for returning the body to their homeland are covered.

Choosing the right medical insurance is a difficult topic, especially for foreigners who have a goal to study in the United States of America. In any case, at the time of admission, be sure to ask university staff a question about the availability of compulsory health insurance: tariff, cost, and the level of financial coverage for medical services. If there is no compulsory form of insurance, then most likely it is the US Embassy in Russia that will show you the basic requirements.

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