Health coverage and medical costs can be expensive for both citizens and non-citizens of the United States, and having a sufficient international student health insurance plan is beneficial when studying abroad. International medical insurance programs make it easier and more convenient to obtain quality health care in case of a medical emergency or illness. Not only is it simpler to find the right doctor and quality medical facilities when you have health insurance coverage, but you will be in a much better position to support yourself financially. Medical bills can lead to financial ruin without appropriate insurance coverage.
The UnitedHealthcare (UHC) health insurance policy offered through SUNY is mandatory for all international students and scholars enrolled within the state system. International scholars with J-1 exchange/visitor, researcher, and professor visa status are also required to enroll in the policy, but are exempt if enrolled in the SUNY Graduate Assistant policy. Some students and scholars may be able to waive out of the program if they show proof of insurance coverage that is equal to or better than the UHC policy's coverage. Please contact the ISS Office for more information on obtaining a waiver.
Health insurance is a condition of enrollment for international students. The deadline to enroll in the UHC policy or to successfully waive out of this requirement with alternative (and equivalent) coverage is the first Friday of the first week of classes.
What is International Student Health Insurance?
International student health insurance is for students who are studying away from their home country, and offers them access to health care. This insurance makes it much easier to receive health care and can help save thousands of dollars in case of an emergency or illness. Medical expenses can be very costly, especially for those entering the United States on a temporary basis. In addition, many health care providers at colleges and universities can deny treatment if a student does not provide appropriate records of international student insurance coverage.
Current U.S. Laws Requiring International Student Medical Insurance Coverage
Each state has different laws and regulations regarding medical insurance coverage, but almost every college and university that accepts students on an ‘F’ visa requires proof of financial ability before enrolling in a college program. This means that students may be deemed ineligible for studies in the U.S. if they cannot support themselves financially; having the appropriate medical coverage is essential to this process, and all students need to carry at least the most basic international student medical insurance during their stay. While colleges and universities cannot track if a student is continuing with their health insurance, the risk of getting sick or requiring surgery is still a problem. If a student cannot afford to take care of their health because of increased medical expenses, they may be required to forfeit their status as a student and return to their home country.
Why Is International Student Health Insurance Important While Studying in the U.S.?
International student health insurance is important when studying in the U.S. for a variety of reasons including:
· Receiving adequate and quality health care in an emergency situation
· Having access to doctors and other health care providers to ensure optimal health throughout the year
· Reducing the chances of having to manage the high costs of treatment, doctor visits, and prescription medication
· Receiving adequate health care from legitimate providers
· Reducing the burden of financial hardship in case of emergency treatment
Payment of the Insurance Premium:
Students registering for classes in the fall or spring semesters must purchase the insurance policy through our online storefront.
Dependents (spouses or children up to the age of 18 years old) of all covered persons may purchase the SUNY plan. Please contact the ISS Office for more information on enrolling your dependents in coverage.
UnitedHealthcare (UHC) Insurance Interactive Resources:
Once you are enrolled in the insurance policy, you will receive an automated email from UHC with instructions on how to log into your online health insurance portal. This portal will allow you access to plan information, how to find a doctor, access telehealth services, view claims and so forth.