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7. Health Insurance

For international students studying abroad, it is required by most countries to have health insurance coverage for the entire period of their stay. For some countries, even if it is not a visa requirement, some institutes may still require it. In such cases, the proof for adequate health insurance is required before the student enrollment. Below are some details about the requirements for health insurance by some of the popular international student destinations.

The United States

If you plan to study abroad in the United States, you will most probably need to purchase student health insurance. Health care is expensive in the U.S.—and without health insurance, even a routine doctor’s visit can set you back $100 USD. Without health insurance you might end up accumulating a lot of debt due to medical emergencies.

Below are the specific health insurance requirements by visa, as determined by the U.S. State Department:

  • J-1 visa: Research scholars, professors, and exchange visitors on this non-immigrant visa must have medical insurance for the full length of their program.
  • J-2 visa: The spouses and dependents of J-1 exchange visitors must also be covered by medical insurance for the full length of their program.
  • F-1 visa: International students who hold an F-1 visa are not required by the U.S. government to have health insurance.
  • M-1 visa: International students enrolled in technical and vocational programs on an M-1 visa are not required by the U.S. government to have health insurance.

Even though health insurance is not mandatory for F-1 students, it is highly recommended that you still purchase health insurance for the total period of your stay; especially since health care in the U.S. can be very expensive. At times, the institutes make it mandatory for international students to purchase a health insurance plan, the requirements for which may vary.

Australia

For Australia, it is a student visa requirement to maintain adequate health insurance for the duration of your stay. This means you need to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and keep your policy up to date as long as you hold a student visa.

OSHC assists international students to meet the costs of medical and hospital care they may need while in Australia. OSHC also includes ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals.

International students undertaking formal studies in Australia, and their dependents (for example, spouses and children under 18 years old), must obtain OSHC. It includes cover for visits to the doctor, some hospital treatment, ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals (medicines).

Canada

If you are planning to study in Canada, you are required to obtain health insurance for the duration of your stay in Canada. Certain provinces offer provincial health coverage to certain international students. However, in cases where provincial health care coverage is not provided to international students, you will need to apply for private health insurance.

Although the provincial health care coverage in Canada includes basic medical services and emergency care, it does not include many medical services such as dental care, vision care, prescription medications, and some diagnostic testing services. Other health services such as hospitalization are only partially covered by the provincial health care system. It is therefore strongly advised to purchase additional medical insurance for such medical services which may otherwise cost you thousands of dollars.

United Kingdom

As an international student having a Tier 4 student visa and studying for six months or longer, you can have access to National Health Service (NHS). Otherwise, you will need to purchase private health insurance. Additionally, you will have to pay a health surcharge of £300 per year when applying for your student visa.

The NHS offers many basic medical services such as emergency treatment, and diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases at no cost. You may, however, need to pay for prescriptions, vaccinations, dental, and optical treatments.

Germany

Germany requires all international students to have health insurance during their studies. The proof of a suitable health insurance plan is required for student visa and the enrolment process.

There are two types of health insurance in Germany:

  1. The compulsory health insurance (public)
  2. Private health insurance.

Since the public health insurance plan provides basic medical coverage, it is suggested that you also purchase additional private health insurance plans that cover further medical services.

Malaysia

In order to be granted a student visa, it is a mandatory requirement for international students in Malaysia to be medically insured based on the following requirements:

i) The health insurance plan must be purchased locally
ii) The health insurance plan must be valid throughout the period of study

Health insurance can either be public or private. You can opt to purchase health insurance offered by: 

(1) EMGS:

EMGS offers 3 health insurance providers:

  • AIA
  • AXA
  • HONG LEONG MSIG TAKAFUL (HLMT)

(2) Educational Institutions

Education institutions in Malaysia are allowed to organize directly/indirectly with insurance companies to offer health insurance to international students. In this case, your institution will provide all the details regarding the health insurance packages available.

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