Canada International Student Insurance
International Student Health Insurance for Canada
Home to the world renowned Niagara Falls and with over 30% of the country covered in forests, the landscape alone is enough make Canada a desirable destination for international students. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education these individuals comprise 8% of the post-secondary student population and have helped create over 80,000 jobs in recent years.
In 2017, there are hundreds of thousands of international students studying in Canada. This is part of a government strategy to reshape Canadian demographics by bringing in more well-educated skilled workers to the Canadian university system.
The United Nations consistently ranks Canada as one of the best places in the world to live. Many international students are drawn to Canada because the quality of education and living standards in Canada are among the best in the world. In addition, the cost of living and tuition fees are generally lower in Canada than in the United States or the United Kingdom, making Canada the preferred destination for international students.
Healthcare in Canada
Canada is known throughout the world for its government-funded national healthcare system. This system is meant to provide healthcare that is universally available to permanent residents, is without income barriers, has comprehensive coverage, it portable within Canada and elsewhere, and is administered publicly.
Whether or not public health services are offered to international students is at the discretion of each province. Provinces and territories that offer health coverage to international students are:
- British Columbia
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
Students in provinces that do not offer health coverage to international students are generally required to purchase private health insurance. To assist international students in Canada, we offer two excellent insurance options. The Student Secure provides full-time students and their families with health insurance coverage that can be kept through the duration of study. On the other hand, Atlas Travel is designed to provide coverage for less than 1 year, making it a great option for short-term study abroad programs, or as a more affordable choice for families, since you don’t have to be a student to qualify.
Choosing an international student insurance plan can be daunting when attempting to find a plan that meets both school and country visa requirements, so it’s important to weigh your options before purchasing. If you have questions about our plans or would like to discuss specific insurance requirements, feel free to contact us.
Please review both plans below and contact our customer service team if you need assistance:
|Liaison Travel||Liaison Student|
|Policy Max.||$5 Million||$1 Million|
|Deductible||$0 up to $5,000||$0 up to $1,000|
|Currency||$ USD priced||$ USD priced|
|Premium||Starting at $0.86 / day||Starting at $0.95 / day|
|Learn more||Learn more|
Canada Student Insurance
- Canada Visa Requirements
- Healthcare in Canada
- Health Insurance in Canada
Best Insurance Plans for Canada
We have a range of insurance plans, however for students studying in Canada the best insurance options are:
Health Insurance in Canada
No one intends to become ill while traveling or studying abroad, but the wise traveler plans ahead. It is best to completely understand the health care system of whatever country you’re in; Canada’s health care system is no exception.
All international students who study in Canada are required to have health insurance. Medical coverage available to international students varies from province to province, In provinces in which international students are not covered under provincial health care plans, you will have to make arrangements for private health insurance coverage.
Provincial Health Care
The provincial health care system in Canada covers basic and preventive medical services, as well as emergency care. As an international student with a valid study visa, you should be eligible for a provincial health care card so that you may access these services.
Applying for and Using Your Insurance Card
- You can get an application form at a doctor’s office, a hospital, pharmacy, or online.
- You will need identification when applying for a card. Acceptable ID includes birth certificate, passport, confirmation of permanent residence (IMM 5292), or permanent resident card.
- For medicare treatment of any kind, you need to show your health insurance card.
- You must present it at a hospital or clinic when you or someone in your family requires treatment.
- Remember: you must not share your health insurance card with anyone else. Your card is for your use only, and you could lose the benefits it provides if you let other people use it. You could also face criminal charges and be removed from Canada.
- If you lose the card, you might have to pay a fee to replace it.
However, there are many medical services that are not covered by the Canadian provincial health care system. These services include dental care, vision care, prescription medications, and some diagnostic testing services.
Additionally, some services such as hospitalization are only partially covered by the provincial health care system. Without additional medical insurance, even a brief hospital stay can cost you thousands of dollars. Some hospitals refuse to admit new patients without proof of private health insurance coverage in Canada.
Private Health Insurance
All in all, 30% of all health expenditure in Canada is private—either from private health insurance or out of pocket. This is slightly above average for OECD member countries.
The medical care offered by your province or territory might not be covered in other provinces and territories. For this reason, you may require private health insurance if you plan to travel.
Private health insurance is also available for services that may not be covered under your province or territory’s health insurance plan. These services generally include prescription drugs, dental costs, private hospital rooms, ambulance services, and prescription glasses. Some provinces’ plans also exclude arguably “marginal” operations such as IVF treatment.
As an international student studying in Canada, it is advisable that you purchase private health insurance before your trip, to make sure you are covered in all cases.
F1 Student Visa Insurance
International Students studying in the USA are most typically entering on an F1 Visa, or F2 for dependents. Here are all the details you need to know about your visa, and how it relates to health insurance.
What is an F1 Visa?
An F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa given to most international students who want to study in the USA. The visa is issued by the US Department of State, after you have been accepted to study at a private elementary school, high school, college, seminary, conservatory, English language school (ESL) or an academic institution.
Once the visa is approved, students can arrive in the US up to 30 days before their classes begin, but must maintain the visa throughout their studies, and then leave the country within 60 days after their program has been completed. Students also have the option to extend their stay in the USA through a change of status, or through programs such as OPT.
F1 Visa Insurance Requirements
International students on an F1 visa do not have any government related health insurance requirements to meet when studying in the USA. With this in mind, and because having adequate health insurance is so important, F1 visa holders and their dependents should follow the insurance guidelines set by their school.
Some institutions will require all of their international students to buy school-sponsored insurance coverage, while others will allow these students to purchase a plan of their own choosing. Regardless of the health insurance requirements that your school may have, be sure to remember that purchasing appropriate insurance is the only way to protect against unforeseen medical bills.
School Insurance Requirements
Since there are no federal insurance requirements for F1 visa holders, their institutions may handle health insurance for these students in a variety of ways:Since we understand how difficult it can be to navigate the US healthcare system, our Insurance Explained section is packed with great articles specifically designed to help international students understand how healthcare in the US actually works, and answers many of the questions that both F1 visa holders and their dependents have about health insurance.
Mandatory Group Health Insurance Plan: Some schools choose to implement a mandatory group health insurance plan for all of their international students, meaning you will automatically be enrolled without the option to choose your own coverage. Unfortunately these options are more expensive (with the costs automatically factored into your tuition), but tend to provide very comprehensive coverage.
Group Health Insurance Plan with the Option to Waive: Institutions that offer group health insurance plans often allow their students to waive out, assuming the student proves they have purchased comparable, alternative coverage. To help ensure you choose a plan that meets the requirements of your school, be sure to utilize our School Requirements Database.
Optional Health Insurance Plan: While never an ideal situation, some schools don’t require their international students to purchase health insurance, meaning these students can choose any plan they would like. To get you started in the right direction, take a look at the Student Secure plan. It was designed specifically for international students, offering coverage for mental health, maternity, pre-existing conditions, medical evacuation and much more. Best of all, F1 visa holders automatically qualify for coverage!
Regardless of how your school may manage insurance coverage for their international students, we are here to help you through the process and ensure you are properly covered. Be sure to contact us if you need help choosing the best plan for your situation, or if you need a waiver form completed for your college or university. To learn more, be sure to read “What is an F1 Visa”
7 Tips on Getting Medical Insurance for International Students in the USA
by MEGAN LEE
You’re going to the United States to spend some time studying—too cool! It’s fun to get caught up in your dreams of living the suite life like Zach and Cody or finding an incredible apartment in downtown New York City just like Monica, Ross, Rachael, Joey, Chandler, and Phoebe. You’re already picturing your first blue jeans purchase and your first drive through experience. You’re getting excited about diverse student populations, beautiful quads to toss a football or get some studying done in the sunlight, Starbucks frappuccinos on the reg, a professor whose mind you adore…
And while yes, most of these happenings will certainly be a part of your experience studying in the United States, many foreign students don’t consider more serious matters well enough in advance—like medical insurance for international students in the USA.
We absolutely love that you’re stocking up on new clothes from TaoBao (your first day of school outfit is important!), but, simultaneously, you also need to shop around for your global health insurance. Read on to learn our best advice for securing your international student health insurance in the USA.
Things to know about medical insurance for international students in the USA
1. Know why you need international student health insurance.
Regardless of how old you are, how well traveled you are, or your relative health (future Olympian vs. hours-spent-watching-Sarabhai-vs-Sarabhai-on-couch-record-holder), there are very real risks that need to be prepared for before studying in the United States.
Yes, remembering to pack your favorite hair products or must-have tennis shoes is important, but your international student health insurance carries even more weight. Not having health insurance coverage in the United States—a country particularly notorious for expensive health care costs—can have lifelong consequences for both your health AND your bank account.
You will be treated in an emergency situation regardless of your health insurance coverage in the United States; however, in the instance where you are uninsured, you will have to pay out of pocket for all medical costs incurred.
And trust us when we say… you better hope your pockets are DEEP. Even something as little as a two mile ambulance ride can rack up $2700 in bills. Eek.
2. Memorize the terminology.
We know you might still be getting a handle on the English language, but as you shop around for health insurance for international students, it’s helpful to know the definitions of a few important terms, like:
- Claim: A claim is sent if an accident occurs. You can do this by hand or online. You usually need to submit receipts, reports, and photos with this.
- Premium: This is what you pay every month—or every six months—to have insurance. It’s like a Netflix subscription. But WAY less fun.
- Deductible: This is a predetermined amount that YOU must pay BEFORE insurance begins paying IF you have a problem. This can range significantly and will impact your premiums; the higher your deductible, the lower your monthly costs generally are. The deductible is the maximum amount you will have to pay in a year before insurance kicks in.
- Co-Insurance: Beyond your deductible, your plan might include co-insurance payments, which is a percentage of what you’ll be charged after your deductible is reached/exceeded. This is typically a percentage, like 10%.
- Co-payment or co-pay: This is a fixed amount that you’ll have to pay the doctor when services are rendered.
- In and out of network: When you have health insurance in the United States, it will likely fall in one of two categories—HMO (Health Maintenance Organizations) or PPO (Preferred Provider Organization). This means different rates for services depending on if procedures are performed by certain individuals who are in or out of network.
3. Fulfill the health insurances requirements necessary for your visa.
Your international student health insurance requirements will vary based on your full time student statuses—aka your J1 vs. F1 visa. For more information on these different visa pathways, check out this resource from the University of Chicago.
International students entering the USA on a J1 visa must have adequate health insurance that fulfills requirements set forth by the US Department of State AKA the visa authorities. As of now, the J1 visa insurance requirements include:
- Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
- Repatriation of remains coverage amounting to $25,000
- Expenses associated with the emergency medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
- A deductible of no more than $500 per accident or illness
The international student health provider must be legitimate in the eyes of the US State Department too. This means the policy must be underwritten by an organization that checks off boxes such as an A.M. best rating of “A-” or above; an Insurance Solvency International rating of “A-1” or above; a Standard and Poors Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-” or above; or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above.
Note that these requirements are also extended to your dependents, so if you are coming to the United States as a graduate student or researcher with your family, children, or spouse, they too will need adequate health coverage.
F1 visa holders do not have to meet government mandated standards. They have less stringent health insurance requirements than those holding a J1 visa, as these international students don’t have any oversight or requirements from the US government. These policies are typically determined by the educational institution the student is enrolled at.
When you gamble with safety, you bet your life.
4. Understand what health insurance for an international student typically covers.
There are many different organizations out there keen to provide you the type of coverage that you are looking for. Typically speaking, medical insurance for international students in the USA covers new illness or injuries, so wellness or preventative care is usually not covered. Emergency doctor visits and lab orders, emergency surgeries? Yes. Routine check ups? No.
Keep in mind that additional coverage, such as dental or eye insurance, can often be purchased separately or in addition to basic inclusions. Further, you might also have to pay a little extra if you would like protection for an emergency evacuation (i.e. natural disasters, political upheavals, etc.) or the repatriation of your remains if you happen to pass away while studying in the United States 😭 (note that this coverage is required for J1 visa holders).
Certain providers, like Medjet, offer the benefit of a medical transport membership, which helps make sure you can be transported to a hospital at home in case of emergency. These programs can also have security benefits, providing a 24/7 crisis response line for any security threats. But, like we said—you may have to pay a little extra for perks like this.
On the flip side, you can also find policies that cover “Trip Interruptions,” such as a need to return to your home country due to an emergency.
If you are coming to study in the United States with a pre-existing condition or chronic illness, be cognizant of purchasing an insurance plan that covers your potential medical needs, like prescription drugs. No one wants a stack of receipts from out-of-pocket expenses as a souvenir from their adventures in America!
Note: Travel insurance is NOT health insurance—But you can find policies for both
If you want coverage for lost luggage or delayed flights, etc., be sure to look into travel insurance policies on top of your health insurance policy research! Or, if you’re wise, find a policy that combines all of your needs—worldwide travel medical & accident insurance (including medical evacuation) such as SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. You can browse travel insurance providers that GoAbroad loves here.
5. Budget properly to cover the cost of health insurance for international students.
What is the average cost of health insurance for international students in the USA? Generally speaking, international student health coverage plans are very affordable (your young age and good health might have something to do with that!). You need to plan ahead to pay for your monthly premium, but to also budget additional savings to cover any unexpected out of pocket expenses, such as deductibles, co-insurance, or co-pays.
We recommend having a nest egg of $1500 in your bank account to cover any unplanned for medical expenses per year of study in the United States. It is very unlikely that you will need to tap into these funds—or that you will need to use all of them—but having them there will make an already stressful situation slightly less-so if finances are taken out of the equation.
6. Select a trustworthy, high quality insurance provider.
Every other link on Google is telling you that they are the most reliable, trusted, and easy-to-work-with provider on the market. But let’s be serious—not EVERYONE can be the best. Right? So, who does provide the best health insurance for international students in USA? Here are our most recommended options:
- Compass Student Insurance. Compass Student Insurance offers multiple packages depending on your needs for studying in the USA—you’ll love their comprehensive benefits packages and affordable prices! You can opt for their basic Care Plan, which costs ~$35 per month with a $100,000 maximum benefit per injury plan (as well as $250 in network deductible), or sign up for their most popular plan, the Care Plus. This costs about $20 more monthly but more than doubles your maximum benefits and slashes your deductible to just $100 per injury. Other options include the Benchmark Plan and their Sports plan for serious student athletes.
- AETNA. AETNA international student health insurance works with many US universities—200+—to underwrite their student insurance policies. If you are attending a university that collaborates with this provider, you will be satisfied with the policy options and overall coverage.
- ISO. International student insurance by ISO can also meet your needs. This organization has four plans: Compass PPO, Essential (Basic), J1 Exchange, & OPT Students. ISO provides multi-lingual support, including Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Hindi and more.
7. Other tips to keep in mind:
Don’t delay. Coordinate your health insurance in advance of setting foot in the United States as an international student. While you might not need insurance coverage from day one of your arrival, you will need it during your actual studies or once the semester begins. Consider buying short-term health insurance for international students on OPT to right any gaps in your coverage as an F1 student.
Double check your school’s requirements. The institution you’re studying at in the USA might have additional health insurance requirements, like waivers. Double check with your campus advisor or guidance counselor to ensure no document is left un-submitted!
Make sure you remain eligible. Some insurance providers will have unique eligibility qualifications, like a requirement that you attend classes for a set number of hours each week. If you’re not able to follow through with these, don’t pay for that insurance. It won’t work!
Review the cancellation policy with someone more knowledgeable than you. We get that you’re a bright student, but legal jargon can be tough to understand—even for native English speakers. Walk through the cancellation policy with your advisor or education consultant so you’re aware of any red flags.
You’re ready to find the right international student insurance for YOU
Now that you know the ins and outs of securing international student insurance in the USA, you are well equipped to find a policy and coverage that fits your goals, needs, and desires as a safety net during your time abroad. And once your medical insurance for international students in the USA is squared away, you can happily return to the more exciting parts of planning your trip—like putting together a rockin’ rock n’ roll playlist on Spotify or buying your first pair of Uggs. You know, the important things.
This article was contributed in part with Compass Student Insurance. Compass Student Insurance provides worldwide insurance plans and online insurance services, all while generously sharing their deep market knowledge and network with educational travelers like you.
With one of the best healthcare systems in in the world and low crime rates, studying in the UK is safe and secure.
The UK’s NHS (National Health Service) is one of the world’s best healthcare systems, offering safe and modern treatment.
International students do not need private medical insurance when studying in the UK.
If you need a visa to study in the UK, it costs £470 per year to gain access to the NHS. You pay this fee during your visa application and it covers free medical treatment (including emergency or hospital care, should you need it) and reduced price dental care at an NHS dentist.
It is a good idea to register with a GP (general practitioner) , a doctor who deals with most general health problems, shortly after you arrive in the UK. Most GP surgeries offer patients a choice of whether they see a male or female doctor.
UK universities and colleges take student welfare seriously. If you feel stressed or have any problems, the best thing to do is to share it. You can talk to:
- your tutor, especially if you have concerns about your course or exams
- the student welfare officer or, if there is one, international student officer
- someone at your students’ union, which can provide general welfare support and often has officers who can help with women’s, disability or LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) issues. Find out more about Students’ Unions .
The UK is one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a trustworthy police force. The are strict laws on gun ownership and gun crime is rare.
Many institutions have their own security services who patrol campuses. Your institution will usually provide you with information on staying safe on campus.
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