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Healthcare in the USA

Learn about the healthcare system in the USA

The United States boasts an excellent health care system that is both technologically advanced and is focused on a high quality of care. However, international students may find that the system is rather complex and different than the health care system in their home country. It is important to understand the US health care system before arrival to avoid excess expenses, time, and stress.

Overview of the US Health Care System

Unlike most countries, the United States does not have a universal access or national health care. Because of this, international students will need to have a health insurance plan in place to cover their expenses, or be ready to pay the bill out of pocket.

The US has a health care system that can be very expensive if you need emergency care. It is not uncommon to have thousands of dollars in medical bills if you seek treatment at the hospital. To defray costs, most schools require that you purchase an insurance plan to help you cover the costs.

International student insurance plans will cover most of the medical expenses, but international students should still expect to pay some of the bill. It’s important for students to read through the insurance plans and make sure they are covered for items such as doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medication, medical evacuation and repatriation. These are essential to any insurance plan, as students will want to make sure they are covered in case the unexpected happens.

Types of Care

International students can also save money on health care by choosing the proper place for treatment. The US has many options for students who become ill or injured during their stay. Here are four popular facilities in the US that international can seek care at:

On-Campus Clinic Large college and universities typically have an on-campus health center, which is a great, convenient place for students to start. Cost of service is either free or offered at a reduced cost.
Doctor’s Office Doctors known as “general practitioners” or “family doctors” will be able to treat a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. They are more affordable and require an appointment before being seen.
Urgent Care Centers/Walk In Clinics These facilities often have long opening hours, no appointment and no prior relationship required. Because of this, it’s both convenient and works well for situations that need immediate attention. Costs are typically much more affordable here than at the hospital.
Emergency Room These facilities are designed for life-threatening or very severe illnesses and injuries. Care here is for urgent cases, and the costs are expensive. If possible, international students should avoid the emergency room for all non-emergency situations.


If the doctor writes a prescription for medication, it must be taken to a local pharmacy to get the prescription filled. Some insurance companies will have the students pay for the medications completely and ask for their receipt so they can reimburse. Bring any medicine to the US that you will not want to purchase there, as medicine in the US is also expensive.

With a variety of treatment options and quality care, the health care system in the US is dedicated to finding the best ways to treat its patients.

Best Insurance Plans for the USA

We have a range of insurance plans, however for students studying in the USA the best insurance options are: