If you will join a family member who is going to study in the United States on an F1 visa, you are going to need your own F2 visa health insurance. Getting health insurance for F2 dependents is not mandatory and it will not harm your chances of getting a visa – however, it is strongly advised, considering how high the price of healthcare in the US is.
In most cases, the US school will automatically enroll all international F1 students in a group health insurance policy, but they might not always extend the same coverage to their F2 visa dependents.
If you are not eligible for group insurance, here is how you can get F2 visa healthcare coverage in the US and what to look for when scouting the market.
F2 Visa Insurance Options
F2 Visa holders have two health insurance options:
- The F1 student adds the dependent (F2 visa holder) to the group insurance plan the school offers.
- The dependent gets a private F2 visa health insurance plan.
Group Health Insurance Plan
Many US universities offer F1 international students a health insurance package when they enroll. Some only offer coverage to the student but not the F2 visa dependent while others allow the students to extend coverage to their dependents as well, for an additional charge.
Health insurance policies offered by the university have very comprehensive coverage but they are usually more expensive and can drastically increase in price if the student includes a dependent. The monthly premiums for F2 dependents can be 2-3 times more expensive than for international students.
This is why many F2 visa dependents decide to opt-out of school-offered insurance and get their own personal health insurance plan.
Sometimes, these types of insurance plans have the option to waive, meaning the student may opt out of the insurance policy provided by the university if they find another one that meets the same coverage requirements. Naturally, the F2 visa holder is free to do the same.
Private Health Insurance for F2 Visa
F2 dependents can buy personal health insurance if they cannot join the insurance plan offered by the school to the international student or if they decide to opt out. There are countless insurance policies designed for F2 visa holders, international students, and expats in the US.
If the F1 visa holder cannot waive the school’s insurance requirement, the F2 dependent can get a personal insurance plan here.
What Is the Best Health Insurance for F2 Dependents?
There are many great health insurance plans and companies for F2 visa holders, including:
- Cigna International.
- International Medical Group (IMG).
- Allianz Worldwide.
- Foyer Group.
- Expacare Global Healthcare.
What to Look for When Buying F2 Visa Health Insurance?
When researching, make sure you look for the following factors:
- Are you comfortable with the policy maximum? The policy maximum is the maximum amount that the insurance company will pay for your medical expenses for the duration that the policy is valid. E.g You can purchase an insurance policy for one year, with a policy maximum of $100,000, $500,000, or more.
- How much is the deductible? Also known as, how much will you have to pay until the insurance company covers the rest. Some policies have a set deductible (such as $100) whereas others work with a percentage (such as you pay 20% and the insurer covers the other 80%).
- Does the insurance policy cover everything you need? Most health insurance policies cover the usual doctor’s visit, hospitalization, medication, tests, etc. Additionally, considering most F2 dependents tend to be the spouses of international students, this means there is a good chance that one of you might need maternity coverage, which is not always offered for F2 insurance.
- Do they offer direct billing? Most insurance companies offer the option for the hospital to bill the insurers directly, as long as it is on their PPO network.
How to Buy F2 Visa Health Insurance?
- You select the amount of time you will be in the US for.
- You will be presented with one or several plans which offer that coverage.
- You read through the policies to look at the policy maximum, coverage, monthly premiums, etc., to decide which plan suits you best.
- Select a plan and purchase it.
- Receive the insurance confirmation.
Naturally, each insurance company will have their own rules regarding Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) networks and claims, so make sure you learn that before you choose a health insurance policy.
PPOs are a network of hospitals, doctors, clinics, etc which the insurance company works for. If you seek treatment at a facility within the PPO network, it will be less expensive and they can just bill the insurance company directly rather than you paying first and then making a claim for reimbursement.
What Does F2 Visa Health Insurance Cover?
Health insurance for F2 visa holders in the US usually covers the following:
- Physicians visit.
- Urgent care.
- Emergency room.
- Prescription medication.
- Lab tests and X-rays.
- Surgery and anesthesia.
- Complications of pregnancy, if you are already pregnant.
Pre-existing conditions are usually covered up to a degree and only after a “waiting period” of about six months or so.
Health Insurance for F2 Dependents Covering Maternity
If you are already pregnant when you receive your F2 visa, then health insurance will only cover you for complications related to your pregnancy, not for the delivery, checkups, or any other maternity-related costs. Usually, there is no maternity coverage for F2 dependents by default, because a F2 health insurance plan is considered short-term.
This means you may have to purchase an additional insurance plan only for pregnancy and maternity.
However, keep in mind that even if you are not currently pregnant at the time you purchase a maternity health insurance plan, there is usually a wait time of about 10-12 months. This means that if you get pregnant as soon as you get to the US, or as soon as you buy the policy, you may still not receive coverage.
Yet another thing to consider is that if your partner’s school offers them a comprehensive health insurance policy and extends the same coverage to you, then you might have maternity coverage. That’s because plans offered to international students by the university are more expensive, but they cover a lot.
Is F2 Visa Health Insurance Expensive?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to upwards of $1,500 per year per person for F2 visa insurance, depending on how much coverage you want. The price of health insurance in the US will depend on:
- The deductible. The lower the deductible, the higher the price of the policy.
- Policy maximum. The price of the policy increases if there is a high policy maximum. For example, a policy covering $50,000 will cost less than one covering $100,000 or $1 million.
- If there is no coinsurance, the price of the policy is higher than if there is, say, a 20-80 coinsurance.
- The coverage duration. The longer you will stay in the US, the higher the price of the policy.
Does F2 Health Insurance Cover Dental?
Yes, there are F2 visa health insurance policies that do cover dental treatment, but they vary. Some will only cover acute pain or emergencies, not preventative treatment or checkups. In this case, you might have to purchase an additional dental plan if you feel like you may need it.
Does F2 Health Insurance Cover Vision?
Vision treatment, such as eye exams or glasses, are not always included in F2 visa insurance. This means you may have to purchase an additional vision insurance plan, if you believe this is necessary.