Choosing the Best International Student Insurance Plan for You

Shopping around for the perfect international student insurance plan can be daunting, but we are here to help. We’ve compiled a brief comparison of IMG’s three international student insurance plans: Patriot Exchange Program, Student Health Advantage, and Student Health Advantage Platinum.

By Kate Ruddell | Aug 20, 2019, 16:07 PM

It’s that time of the year again, it’s time to head back to school. The U.S. has welcomed over one million international students since 2016, and for international students coming to the U.S. this year, it’s time to purchase or renew an international student health insurance plan for the 2019-2020 school year.

While the U.S. does not require health insurance for F-1/F-2 or M-1/M-2 visa holders (unlike J-1/J-2 visa holders, which do have requirements), your school or university likely has their own set of requirements that must be met to be enrolled.

To ensure students have access to healthcare that meets their own requirements, many schools offer a sponsored group health plan. Some schools require students to use their sponsored health plan, while many others allow students to waive the coverage and choose their own plan. If the latter is the case, consider waiving out of your school's group plan for an international student insurance plan from IMG, which can be a less expensive alternative that still meets many schools' coverage requirements.

Shopping around for the perfect health insurance plan can be daunting, but we are here to help. We’ve compiled a brief comparison of IMG’s three international student insurance plans: Patriot Exchange Program, Student Health Advantage, and Student Health Advantage Platinum. IMG’s plans were specifically designed for international students and scholars traveling away from their country of residence and they vary mainly by cost and coverage level.

Patriot Exchange Program

Patriot Exchange is designed for the budget conscious, healthy student or scholar that is looking to satisfy the U.S.’s J-1/J-2 visa health insurance requirements or a school’s waiver requirements (for F-1/F-2 and M-1/M-2 visa holders). Patriot Exchange has several benefits that allow coverage up to the maximum limit selected for the plan (maximum limits per injury/illness are available from $50,000 to $500,000), and then the insured is responsible for the remaining cost. This plan is the most budget friendly upfront, but if injured or sick, you may encounter higher out-of-pocket costs if your events go beyond the maximum limit selected.

Beyond the standard coverage requirements, Patriot Exchange covers pre-existing conditions up to $500 after 12 months of coverage and includes coverage for mental and nervous disorders. View the full Patriot Exchange benefits table.

Student Health Advantage

Student Health Advantage is designed for students and scholars from kindergarten to graduate school. This international student insurance plan builds upon the benefits provided by Patriot Exchange Program by offering full pre-existing condition coverage after the first 12 months of the plan. This plan can be renewed for up to five years and spousal/dependent coverage can be accommodated. Student Health Advantage also includes mental and nervous disorder coverage as well as organized sports coverage. View the full Student Health Advantage benefits table.

Student Health Advantage Platinum

Student Health Advantage Platinum provides our maximum amount of coverage for students, and scholars. Building on the coverage provided by Student Health Advantage, there are two main factors that set Student Health Advantage Platinum apart from IMG’s other international student health insurance plans: maternity coverage and a six-month waiting period for pre-existing condition coverage. If either of these situations appeal to you or are required by your school’s student health waiver requirements, then Student Health Advantage Platinum is the plan for you. View the full Student Health Advantage Platinum benefits table.

Real World Examples

Aditya is in his junior year of college and has always been healthy with no major issues in his medical past. During the second semester, his throat starts to feel bad, so he decides to go to an urgent care facility. He is diagnosed with acute pharyngitis, or a sore throat. All three of IMG’s international student insurance plans would provide coverage for this unexpected event.

Li Na is preparing for her freshman semester at Indiana University. She has a history of kidney stones but has not had a flare up in over a year, though her doctor warns that it could happen again in the right circumstances. With a Student Health Advantage plan, an unexpected kidney stone would be covered (even as a pre-existing condition) after the first year of coverage. The Student Health Advantage Platinum plan would provide the same coverage after only six months. Both plans are renewable up to five years, so either option could potentially be a good choice for Li Na.

Have Additional Questions?

If you're ready, go ahead and get a quote today! If you have questions regarding different scenarios and what’s covered between IMG’s different student health insurance plans, please contact our Sales Service Center at +1 (317) 655-4500 and the team will be happy to help you.


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These are illustrations only and are not a promise or prediction of how any claim would actually be administered. Actual claims will be determined after a consideration of all facts and circumstances and a review of the applicable plan language.

This is a summary of a selection of plan benefits offered only as an illustration and does not supersede in any way the Certificate of Insurance and governing policy documents (together the “Insurance Contract”). The Insurance Contract is the only source of the actual benefits provided.

These materials are for informational purposes only and do not contain legal advice. The laws and regulations regarding healthcare and the need or requirement to have health insurance in foreign countries are diverse and their application to your situation depends upon many facts. You should contact your attorney to obtain legal advice on any particular issue.

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