Skip links

What is Medicare? Can students get it?

It’s crucial to have health insurance coverage as an international student in the USA to ensure you have access to medical care and financial protection in case of illness or injury.

Table of Contents

What is Medicare?

In the US, Medicare is a government-funded health insurance program mostly for people 65 and older, while some younger people with specific disabilities may also be eligible. It is divided into several sections, such as Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), which cover different facets of medical services and procedures.

A student’s enrollment does not automatically qualify them for Medicare. The main criteria for qualifying for Medicare are age, disability, or certain medical conditions. Medicare offers full coverage, which is not the same as limited healthcare coverage that some foreign students and some visa holders may be eligible for under specific conditions.

Why Medicare for International students?

To ensure that they have access to healthcare while studying in the United States, international students usually need to purchase private health insurance or make arrangements with their educational institution. The institution and visa status can affect the particular requirements and available possibilities.

To make sure they have adequate healthcare coverage while studying in the United States, international students must learn about the health insurance requirements and options that are accessible to them through their educational institution or private insurance providers.

How to avail of Medicare as an international student in the USA?

Medicare is primarily intended for U.S. citizens and eligible permanent residents. International students in the USA are generally not eligible for Medicare. However, international students must have health insurance coverage while studying in the United States.

Here are some steps to ensure you have the appropriate medicare:


1. Check Your School’s Requirements: 

Many U.S. educational institutions require international students to have health insurance. Check with your school to understand their specific health insurance requirements.

2. School-Sponsored Plans:

Some universities offer their health insurance plans for international students. These plans are often designed to meet the specific requirements of the school and may provide adequate coverage.

3. Purchase Private Health Insurance:

If your school does not offer a health insurance plan, or if you prefer an alternative, you can purchase private health insurance.

Numerous insurance companies offer plans tailored to the needs of international students. These plans usually cover medical expenses, emergencies, and sometimes additional services like mental health support.

4. Understand Coverage:

When selecting a health insurance plan, make sure you understand the coverage provided. Check for coverage of doctor’s visits, hospitalization, prescription medications, and any specific needs you might have.

5. Budget Considerations:

Compare the costs of various insurance plans. Ensure you know premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and any out-of-pocket expenses.

6. Compliance:

Once you have health insurance, comply with your school’s requirements regarding insurance documentation. This may involve providing proof of coverage.

7. Emergency Services:

Familiarize yourself with accessing emergency medical services, such as contacting local hospitals, clinics, or emergency numbers (like 911 in the U.S.).

8. Stay Informed:

Keep your health insurance documents and information handy. Understand how to use your insurance when seeking medical care.

Be sure to follow your school’s guidelines and seek advice from their international student office if you have questions about health insurance options and requirements.

Why is Medicare important for international students studying in the USA?

Healthcare Access:

Accidents and illnesses can happen at any time. Health insurance ensures that international students can access necessary medical care without incurring high out-of-pocket costs.

Many U.S. universities and colleges require their international students to have health insurance. Complying with these requirements is crucial to maintain your student status.

Financial Protection:

Health insurance provides financial protection by covering medical expenses. Without insurance, medical bills can be exorbitant and lead to financial difficulties.

Peace of Mind:

Knowing that you have health insurance gives you peace of mind and reduces the stress of unexpected medical issues.

Preventive Care:

Health insurance often includes coverage for preventive care, such as vaccinations and routine check-ups, which can help maintain good health.

Emergency Services:

In a medical emergency, health insurance ensures that international students receive prompt and appropriate care without worrying about the cost.

Prescription Medications:

Health insurance plans typically cover prescription medications, making it more affordable for students to manage chronic conditions or receive necessary medications.

Access to Specialists:

Health insurance can provide access to specialists and medical facilities, ensuring that international students receive the best possible care when needed.

While Medicare is irrelevant to international students, they should explore and secure appropriate health insurance options. Universities often offer their health insurance plans for students or can guide them in finding suitable coverage.


In conclusion, even though Medicare does not directly cover overseas students studying in the USA, it is still very important to have proper health insurance.

It is imperative to have health coverage, whether offered by the educational institution or acquired through private insurance, to meet school requirements, receive medical care, and guard against unforeseen medical expenses. 

To protect their physical health, financial stability, and peace of mind while studying in the United States, international students should make getting and keeping sufficient health insurance a top priority.

If you are an aspirant looking to study at your dream university, book an appointment with AdmitX today and start your applications early to avail yourself of all the benefits.

Your information could not be saved. Please check and try again.
You're on your way to become Borderless with AdmitX! Check your email!

Want this in your inbox?

Join 5,000+ readers for expert guidance on international universities, application strategies and career tips. 

One email every week, free forever!

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.