Good preparation for studying abroad is half the battle. An important part of the organizational preparation for your stay in the USA is health insurance for studying in the USA.
Those who study in the United States, is in case of illness or accidents usually not insured. If students have not made private provisions for this case, they can face high costs. In the USA in particular, the treatment costs are sometimes significantly higher than in Germany. This can make a simple visit to the doctor costly.
US health system
Since 2014, the majority of US citizens have been required to have health insurance in the USA. This is due to the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare. The goal of health reform is to provide every US citizen with access to good medical care. If you do not take out insurance in the USA, you will have to pay a fine.
Compulsory insurance for the USA
International students with an M, J or F visa are exempt from compulsory health insurance in the USA for five years. This does not mean that there cannot be another compulsory insurance. Holders of a J-1 visa undertake to take out health insurance for studying in the USA for the period of the exchange program. Otherwise, participation in the program will not be approved by the program sponsor or the J-1 visa will not be issued.
In addition, many US universities require that international students obtain insurance through the university. This means that students with an F-1 visa are often required to take out health insurance to study in the USA, a country located in North America according to elaineqho.
Forms of health insurance for studying in the US
Every university and exchange organization in the USA decides whether and, if so, how students need to be insured during their stay in the USA. There is no general rule. Nevertheless, different types of insurance can be distinguished:
- Compulsory group insurance: Many universities in the USA require international students to take out insurance with a specific health insurance company on certain terms when they enroll.
- Mandatory group insurance with an option for liberation (Waive): Some US colleges offer international students the option to bring their own health insurance for the study in the US, for example, a self-Germany insurance policy.
- Private overseas health insurance: In rare cases, universities in the United States do not offer insurance, so that students are free to choose where to get insurance.
Important: Even if you take out health insurance for studying in the USA through the US university, you should check how comprehensive the insurance cover is. Often only basic medical treatments are covered, but not dental treatments or the return transport to Germany. In such cases, it makes sense to have additional health insurance abroad.
Special cases: Fulbright and DAAD
The Fulbright Commission takes out basic health insurance for the USA for its scholarship holders, which is included in the scope of the scholarship. Nevertheless, it makes sense to check whether this meets the requirements of the US university or whether additional health insurance is necessary for studying in the USA.
Those who receive funding from a DAAD program have the option of taking out DAAD insurance under certain conditions. DAAD scholarship holders are usually not affected, as insurance is already part of the scholarship.
Exemption from compulsory foreign insurance
In the event that you can bring your own insurance for studying in the USA, there are several things to consider. It is necessary to compare the replacement insurance exactly with the insurance benefits of the university’s own insurance. The catalog of benefits provided by the university’s own insurance partly includes items such as drug abuse or abortion. Therefore, it is recommended that you request a list of all insurance benefits from the US university.
You should then have your insurance company issue you an English certificate of benefits and confirm that the insurance benefits comply with US standards. Only then will you receive a waiver from the university in the USA, which exempts you from compulsory insurance.
Good to know: A foreign health insurance taken out in Germany is often significantly cheaper than insurance packages from US universities.
Things to know about getting health insurance to study in the United States
Students looking for private health insurance to study in the United States should pay attention to several points:
- Duration of insurance: Take out insurance for the entire period of your stay abroad. Insurance packages from universities in the USA usually only take into account the actual study time. Travel after your studies and your return home are therefore not insured.
- Check insurance coverage: does it include dental, doctor and hospital treatments? Are medication costs covered? Are transport to the hospital and return home covered? Is accident insurance included?
- Possibility of insurance confirmation in English
What to do in the event of illness in the USA
Unfortunately, it happens that students get sick while studying in the USA. International students have various options to choose from in the event of illness.
University health center
The service offerings of many US universities include their own health center on campus – your first point of contact if you have health problems. At some universities, basic medical treatment is free, or at least cheaper than at the doctor off-campus.
After starting your studies in the United States, it is advisable to submit vaccination status information to the Health Center. Some universities in the USA require that a doctor in Germany certifies the vaccinations on a form. The respective university offers more detailed information.
Visit to the doctor off-campus
Insurance companies sometimes work with certain doctors and hospitals in the United States. In the event that you want to visit a doctor off-campus, there are the health center often have a list of doctors. If you bring health insurance with you from Germany to study in the USA, you often have the option of calling the nearest doctor.
Confirmation of insurance is required to visit a doctor in the USA. Some doctors also require a referral from the health center before treating you.