A guide to international health insurance for students

A Guide To International Health Insurance For Students

Squeeze the very best out of your learning experience with international health insurance for students.

Global health insurance can cover you for a range of medical services and emergencies. That way, you can be sure you’re financially protected while you’re studying away from your home country.
Whether you’re visiting France, Canada or the UK, find out how international health insurance is essential for students abroad.

What is international health insurance for students?

International health insurance for students gives you access to healthcare services while living and studying abroad. Being covered can help reduce the cost of expensive healthcare - costs you may otherwise be expected to cover on your own.

Student health insurance covers a variety of medical issues, such as emergency care and pre-existing illness assistance. Some insurance plans can even offer mental health support.

four young students sitting together holding books laughing and talking

International student health insurance is more than simply an economic decision. It can also be a legal requirement in some countries. More often than not, a university might require that you have proof of insurance coverage before they’ll submit your student visa .
Whether you require an international health plan can vary depending on where you’re studying and for how long. Comprehensive cover can enable you to access the local healthcare system.
Other international health plans give you access to wider benefits and broader facilities than public healthcare alone can offer, including virtual healthcare.
As a foreign national, free healthcare may not always be available to you when studying abroad. It’s important to understand exactly when and where you’ll have access. Health insurance for international students can ensure you’re covered, so you can focus on learning.

How can student health insurance help you abroad?

Student health insurance is often a necessity for studying internationally. There are many ways in which it can help support your lifestyle abroad.

Financial protection

Receiving international healthcare without insurance can be incredibly expensive. It’s not the kind of thing you want to risk, especially if you’re spending several months at a time studying in another country. International student health insurance can help take care of your needs and protect you from large medical bills in the event of an emergency.

You’ll usually opt into a voluntary deductible (also known as an excess), which will contribute to any medical services that aren’t free. Once you meet this sum , your insurance will kick in and cover the rest.

International health insurance for students can also offer discounted rates for services within your insurer’s network of medical providers.

Help your health

Rest assured, you’ll have access to services and treatments that can help maintain your health while studying in another country.

Health plans may include optional access to :

  • Vaccinations

  • Prescriptions

  • Dental accidents

At Cigna Healthcare, our international health insurance plans for students include unlimited telehealth consultations. Plus, the virtual Cigna Wellbeing App can connect you to a doctor easily and conveniently whenever you need help with minor health issues.

Medical assistance abroad

Focus on living your best life abroad knowing you’re protected should you need emergency medical care. Many international student health insurance plans include essential hospital charges and local ambulance fees at no extra charge.


International insurance can be built around your budget and needs, creating a thorough and cost-effective health plan. You’ll often receive a core set of inpatient and daypatient services, with the option to add extra services such as dental and outpatient care if you wish.

Worldwide and local coverage

There are various ways to secure international healthcare as a student, with different plans to choose from. How much value you get out of your plan can vary depending on how you wish to use it.

You can opt for worldwide medical care, which can help cover you across various countries if you plan to travel during your studies.

You can also choose more local healthcare packages, which can cover you both at home and the country you’re studying in. That way, you’re only paying for what you need – which can go a long way as a student.

At Cigna Healthcare, we do our best to keep our standard of care high and our options varied, leaving you to decide just how much cover you need.

Save time with faster access to care

Free time is precious when you’re a student. Save your energy for academic work and leisure time with easy, convenient access to healthcare services. International health insurance can offer you a range of digital tools and around the clock support, keeping you in touch with licensed medical professionals at the touch of a button.

Our customer care team can help you liaise with medical providers and arrange healthcare services anytime, anywhere.

What should international health insurance for students include?

The ideal student health insurance cover for you can vary depending on your personal needs and the country you’re studying in. In most cases, you can adjust your cover to include additional benefits. Here are some health services to look out for:


Hospital stays

Most student health plans provide cover for essential hospital stays and medical care. This may include:

  • Specialist consultation fees

  • Hospital accommodation (semi-private rooms)

  • Medication

Mental well-being

Healthcare is more than simply looking after your physical well-being. Get well-rounded support if things become challenging with mental health coverage. Some plans offer access to:

  • Wellness coaches

  • Counselling

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Year abroad cover

Applying for a year abroad to study somewhere new is exciting. Depending on where you’re heading and for how long, you may need to take out private health insurance to study somewhere else for a year.

In some cases, your university may include health insurance as part of a year abroad package. It can vary entirely on the legislation of the country you’ll be studying in.


Some student health insurance policies may not include dental as part of their core policy, but you can usually add dental care to your plan. In which case, you may be able to receive comprehensive cover in the country you’re studying in, including both routine and major dental treatments. This is a good idea if you’re spending an extended period abroad.

Emergency medical evacuations

Depending on the level of cover you select, you may be able to include medical evacuation and medical repatriation in your health plan. Most plans are easy to amend and select the cover to suit your needs.


Most core international insurance plans include the necessary prescription medicines and dressings after inpatient hospital visits. In some locations, you could even receive regular medication with home delivery.

Out of area emergency care

Medical emergencies are often unexpected. If you need emergency medical attention while taking a short trip outside your area of coverage, some insurance plans also include out of area care. That way, you can get help when you need it most.


When you move to another country, even as a student, you might not always have access to the national healthcare system. Some universities and legislations require you to take out specific health insurance plans to study abroad in their country, covering you for illness, medical treatment and emergencies.

The best international health insurance for students can vary depending on your needs. You can usually tailor student health insurance to your budget and requirements. At the very least, you’ll need cover for medical emergencies, such as hospital treatment, to avoid expensive medical bills.

It’s a good idea to get health insurance ahead of your departure date to ensure you’re protected right away. Some universities may require that you secure a minimum level of cover before you arrive. What’s more, some global health insurance plans may need time to approve your health plan. So, make sure to plan a few months ahead.

Whether or not you can include dependents on your student health insurance can vary depending on your plan. For example, you may not be allowed to add dependents if you receive insurance through your university. If you can, it may cost you more. Alternatively, you may be able to secure family health insurance, or insure your loved ones independently.

Excited to dive into your studies abroad? Learn more about health insurance and becoming an expat on the Cigna Healthcare blog.