Discover more from The Onboard Bulletin
How to Save Thousands of Dollars with Alternative Health Insurance Plans
Did you know that international students can opt for alternative health insurance plans and save up to $10,000 throughout their US student journey?
Most US colleges and universities make it mandatory for international students on the F-1 Visa to enroll with their health insurance plan - these universities will not allow you to enroll in any other insurance plans, and will include the insurance amount with your overall tuition bill.
However, some universities allow their international students to waive the university provided health insurance, as long as the alternative health insurance plan meets the university’s outlined criteria.
Note: Enrolling in a travel insurance plan will generally not meet their criteria, since the travel insurance’s policy coverage is usually meant for shorter stays, opposed to a well-defined health insurance plan that will cover students for their entire student journey in the US.
Learn more about the basics you need to know as an international student in the US! Subscribe for free to The Onboard Bulletin.
If your university allows you to opt out of their health insurance plan, here are some steps you can follow to enroll in qualifying alternative health insurance plans and save thousands of dollars throughout your student journey:
1. Check Deadlines
Browse through your university’s website, specifically the health insurance webpage, to confirm if your university allows international students to waive the university provided plan. If they allow you to opt out, review their deadline to ensure that you still qualify to waive the university provided plan. Universities are strict about these deadlines and will not allow you to opt out of their plan if you are even one day late beyond their deadline.
2. Read the Waiver Form Requirements
Download the waiver form if available and/or thoroughly read through the university’s website to identify all criteria that must be met via your alternative plan. Generally, US universities are picky about the following elements of a health insurance plan for international students:
Repatriation of Remains
3. Find Alternative Plans
Once you’ve reviewed your university’s health insurance waiver requirements, you can shop around cheaper plans that satisfy the waiver requirements. Most universities will ask you the exact details of your alternative policy plan (policy number, etc.), which means that you must buy the alternative plan before you can submit a waiver to opt out of your university provided health insurance plan.
Pro Tip: Find an alternative plan that will allow a full refund in case your university refuses to accept your waiver request submission.
We’ve compiled a list of some companies that offer great alternative US-based health insurance plans. Confirm that your university will let you waive their health insurance plan, and click on the button below to download this list of companies that offer health insurance plans specifically for international students in the US. Learn how you can save up to $3000 every year throughout your US student journey.
4. Submit Waiver Form
Once you’ve identified and purchased an alternative health insurance plan, you must submit your university’s waiver declaration form before the deadline listed on their website. Sometimes, waiver forms can be complicated and you must ensure that you fully understand every detail on this form. It helps to reach out to the alternative health insurance plan provider and ask them to fill out your university waiver form for you.
5. Await Decision (and hopefully save thousands of dollars)
Your university will take a few days to make a decision on your health insurance waiver request. If your university denies your request, feel free to reach out to your university to seek clarity and additional insight into what went wrong. If they approve your request, ensure that your university removes the health insurance amount from your total tuition bill. If you’ve already paid your college bill which included the university provided health insurance amount, ensure to ask your university to refund the plan amount.
If all goes well, you could be saving up to a few thousand dollars every single year. It’s understandable that you may want to blindly trust your university’s health insurance plan, but you should be aware that if the option exists, you can opt out of their plan and find alternative cost-effective plans.