US Health Insurance For Expats, Foreigners and Non-Residents. | JOB OPPs, SCHOLARS AND FUN -->

US Health Insurance For Expats, Foreigners and Non-Residents.

Immigrants in the USA: According to US Customs, to obtain an immigration visa, you must show proof that you are covered

Living in the US is a whole different level of adventure. It is a new world for foreigners and immigrants who have to face new challenges that come with living outside their home countries.

US Health Insurance For Expats, Foreigners and Non-Residents.

One of the challenges is securing health insurance in the USA and it should be comprehensive. You must find health insurance for foreigners in the USA that will also be valid in your home country and the majority of countries in the world.


This guide will help you find the best health insurance in the USA for non-US citizens. From basic coverage to comprehensive support, you will have a good idea of ​​which insurance policy will best work for its purpose.

Recommended Health Insurance for Immigrants to the USA

If you are an expat moving to the USA, we are recommending three insurance providers that will best fit your needs:

Cigna Global

Cigna Global is an insurance provider with worldwide coverage. It offers excellent service and benefits to clients, with ground people in major countries to give you immediate response when needed.


Cigna also offers a flexible plan that lets you choose which modules and benefits to include in the policy. Being able to tailor-fit health insurance plans in the USA is an incredible advantage that will help you in budgeting expenses.

GeoBlue Xplorer

GeoBlue Xplorer is a very popular health insurance provider in the USA. It offers somewhat similar benefits to Cigna Global.

GeoBlue Xplorer is a partner of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of America (BCBS). This has given GeoBlue a wider network of doctors and hospitals that it can include in its policies.

International Medical Group (IMG)

IMG offers several affordable health insurance coverages in the United States. It is the favorite provider by foreigners who are on a tight budget but do not want to sacrifice basic coverage.

IMG's Bronze and Silver plans provide basic level coverage for emergency care. Although they have limited benefits, they are good enough for a short-term stay in the USA. The Gold and Platinum plans are the recommended options if you plan to stay for more than a year in the country because these policies provide comprehensive benefits.


Health Insurance Coverage for Expatriates in the USA

If you are moving to the US, you must know that the government does not require expatriates and even US citizens to obtain a health insurance plan in America. However, the cost of medical services in the US is very high that you may end up spending all your savings to pay for the bills. So, while it is generally not required to get medical coverage, it is highly recommended that you get health insurance in the USA to save on hospital bills and gain access to appropriate medical care for your needs.

Also, the requirement for getting medical coverage in the USA varies depending on your country of origin and visa type. Some visa types will require you to obtain at least basic coverage.

As discussed, medical costs in the US are higher than the average of most countries. The US has a relatively higher rate of medical inflation and doctors tend to provide more tests and scans before treating a patient. Additionally, the medical facilities in the US often use the latest equipment and they provide above-average service to clients.


Health Insurance for Non-US Citizens, Foreigners, and Immigrants.

The standard of medical care in the United States is high compared to its neighbors, thus the higher cost associated with it. Aside from this, public healthcare is provided only to a portion of the population. This is why most people, including the locals, have private health insurance coverage in America.

The federal Medicare program is available only to retirees. The Medicaid program, on the other hand, is reserved for the poorest citizens in the country. If you are an expatriate in the US, you will not qualify for either of these programs.

Your employer will usually give insurance that extends coverage to immediate family members. However, this is often not enough to shoulder the cost of the expensive healthcare service in the country. As with most immigrants, it is highly recommended that you purchase international health insurance to make sure you are protected in emergencies.

Immigrants in the USA: According to US Customs, to obtain an immigration visa, you must show proof that you are covered by an approved health insurance provider. Family or employment-based policies are usually the types of plans accepted. The policy should be valid within 30 days of entering the US territory unless you have proven that you have enough money to cover any foreseeable medical cost.

Health Insurance for Foreigners in the USA and the ACA Penalty

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, details the shared responsibility provision. Its goal is to make sure all US citizens and permanent residents have access to quality and affordable health insurance in America.

Non-residents, including international students on the F, J, M, and Q visa categories, are not subject to the individual mandate during the first 5 years of their stay in the country.

For individuals in the J category, including teachers, trainees, au pairs, students, and travelers, the ACA states that they are not subject to the individual mandate for 2 years.

Beginning with the 2019 plan year (for taxes filed in April 2020), the ACA or Shared Responsibility Payment will no longer apply.

Details: Foreign nationals who live in the US for a short period, that they do not become resident aliens for federal income tax purposes, are exempted from the individual shared responsibility payment even though they may have to file for a US income tax return. The IRS discusses in detail when a foreigner becomes a resident alien in the US for federal income tax purposes.

Individuals who are exempt under this rule are:

Non-resident aliens;

Dual-status aliens who are in their first year of residency in the US;

Non-resident aliens or dual-status aliens who chose to file a joint return with a US spouse;

Individuals who file a Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, including a dual-status tax return for their last year of stay in the US as a resident; and

Individuals who are valid for personal exemption on Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ.

All US citizens living in the country are subject to individual shared responsibility provisions. All permanent and foreign nationals, who have been in the United States long enough during a calendar year to qualify as resident aliens for tax purposes, are also covered by the residents provision. The category includes non-resident aliens who meet certain presence requirements and elect to be treated as resident aliens.

For more information see Pub. 519. More: Shared Responsibility from the IRS (See Question 11)


Travel Medical Insurance for Visitors to the US

If you are an expatriate living in the United States, it is highly recommended that you purchase additional medical coverage throughout your stay in the country. You want to ensure you are covered in case of an accident, a medical emergency, or sudden repatriation.

Make time to research if you will need travel insurance before entering the country. You must also research if the insurance needs to come from your home country, the US, or both.

If you plan to stay in the US for less than a year, a travel medical insurance plan may be enough to cover your needs. This is also an excellent option for younger travelers who need basic medical coverage for emergencies.

Most travel medical insurance plans provide coverage for accidents and illnesses, saving you from large medical expenses associated with doctor check-ups and hospital visits in the US. At the same time, this type of insurance will give you access to pharmaceutical care and translation services, should they be required.

If you are an immigrant or an international citizen living in the US, it is recommended to get a global medical plan. We have guides that will help you choose the best international health insurance plan for your needs.


Cost of Short Term Health Insurance in the USA

The cost of an international health insurance plan varies greatly.

Short-term travel medical plans start at about $1.50 per day and can cost more than $10 per day for older clients or more comprehensive coverage.

Global medical plans widely vary in available options. The more affordable catastrophic coverage that only covers worst-case scenarios are good for travelers on a budget. On the other end of the spectrum, comprehensive medical plans may include physician visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs, lab services, and chronic disease management.

The most affordable global medical plan we offer ranges from $400 to $500 a year, while the most expensive but comprehensive ones can reach as high as $30,000 to $40,000 a year.

How Much Coverage Do I Need For Health Insurance in the USA?

Every day, we get asked these questions about insurance products:

What is the typical cost for medical expenses in US healthcare facilities or hospitals?

Is it possible to remove some of the benefits that I do not need to lower the cost of my plan?

How much insurance coverage should I buy?

I am a visitor/expatriate. Which insurance plan is best for my stay in the US?

Your insurance policies are too expensive. Is it not more practical to pay for hospital bills? Besides, the chances that I will get hospitalized are low since I am living a healthy lifestyle.

These questions are very challenging to answer because several factors have to be considered in choosing the appropriate international health insurance plan.

Healthcare costs in the US vary by illness, procedure, and facility. The comparison is easy when you match treating a fever with operating on a kidney stone. However, when you compare removing kidney stones, with the difference being which accept your insurance plan, then that facilities when your choice of policy will play an important role.

You have to consider the distance, availability, and doctors in the medical institute before you choose which policy to go with. Some facilities will charge way more for the same procedure than the hospital down the street.

How to Determine the Amount of International Health Coverage in the United States You Need

There are several factors to consider when choosing health insurance in the USA. Here are some of the most important ones to remember:


How long will you be staying in the country?

Do you have any underlying medical condition?

How comfortable are you in paying above the maximum coverage amount when needed?

How much can you allocate per month for coverage?

What is the nature of your work in the US as an expatriate?

You may also consider how easy it will be for you to return home in case you need additional services This is necessary if you have a serious medical condition wherein you need to be repatriated in case of an emergency.

If you will not be staying for a long time in the US, say only for a few months to a year, and you have free insurance in your home country, you may be able to get a lower maximum coverage amount.

Sometimes, your job will require you to stay for a minimum number of years, depending on what is stated in the contract. In this case, you will probably be required to stay in the US for medical treatment, whenever you seek a healthcare service. This will impact the cost of your health insurance in America as you will possibly pay a higher maximum coverage amount.

Costs for Acute or Emergency Care in the USA

People who call us often ask how much an emergency room visit will cost them. We always quote them the current average and they are often surprised with the numbers.

According to a study by the National Institute for Health, the average cost of an ER visit is $1,900 to $2,100. But this depends on the kind of medical emergency you are in, so you may be paying a lot more or less than this range.

The chart here shows some of the variations in pricing you will see in different hospitals and clinics. The minimum and maximum charge varies widely per illness. This kind of price range can catch you off-guard in case you are diagnosed with any medical problem.

One of the biggest benefits of having international health insurance is that you will often receive the best healthcare service at the lowest prices. You can receive treatment from your doctor at their office or clinic, and in most cases, the cost will be 3 to 4 times less expensive compared to when you get it at a hospital from the same doctor without any health insurance coverage.


How much Insurance Coverage in the United States Should Foreigners Purchase?

Buying health insurance for foreigners in the USA is a personal decision. It is up to you how much you are willing to pay based on your current health condition, nature of work, and length of stay abroad. Consider these and the other factors outlined in this article to identify the type of health insurance in America that you can afford.

Policy maximums typically start at as little as $50,000 per period and can reach as high as $5 million. Maximums are typically per person, with some of them being uncapped or unlimited.

To make it simpler for you to choose the type of health insurance coverage in the United States to get, here is a guideline to consider:

For 5 days to 1-month stay, we recommend getting $50,000 to $100,000 in medical coverage.

For one month to 3 months stay, we suggest getting coverage of $100,000 to $500,000.

For longer than 3 months but less than a year, look for a policy with at least $250,000 worth of coverage.

For a year or a longer stay, we recommend getting at least $1 million coverage per year. Get more if you have a family that will be living with you, especially if you all want to be treated in the USA. If you or any of your family members have a critical illness, or if you will be staying in the USA for several years, get a plan with unlimited coverage.

If you are older or are traveling with more people to the US, the risk of making a claim becomes significantly higher. In this case, you will want to get health insurance for non-US citizens with higher limits and more comprehensive coverage.

Make sure you get the right international health insurance plan. We recommend getting the medical travel for short-term travel spanning a year or two. For long-term stays that will last for multiple years, a global medical plan is a more viable option.

Here are links that will help you generate some quick, no-obligation quotes from us:

Short-term travel medical free quote (covers emergency medical issues plus other travel benefits)

Long-term global medical free quote (comprehensive medical coverage with annual renewal)

Final Thoughts on Getting Health Insurance in the USA

Insurance provides comfort, knowing your expenses will be covered should you become ill or need emergency medical treatment. The peace of mind that health insurance plans in America bring come at a price though. However, the cost of an insurance policy is usually lower compared to out-of-pocket hospital bills you have to pay for without coverage.


To help you make a better decision on which policy to get, view our list of the top international health insurance companies and look at the benefits and exclusions of each provider.

If you need assistance, we have licensed insurance agents who are always available to walk you through the process and explain the differences of each provider. We will make the application process easier and more seamless for you, so you can worry less about getting the right health insurance in the USA.


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