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International student health insurance

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International student health insurance

When you’re a student learning far from home, health insurance can give you peace of mind and protection against the unexpected. William Russell’s international health insurance helps provide medical access for students across the globe. With a range of great features to choose from, such as medical evacuation (medevac) cover, there’s reassurance for parents too.

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International student health insurance you can count on

Whether you’re an international student in the UK, Europe, Australia or somewhere else, our health insurance lines are open for round-the-clock support. As a family business, we put service first – you’ll usually speak to the same friendly agent each time you call. For a medical check-up or emergency treatment, our international health insurance provides overseas care for students in dozens of countries. It covers you for a wide range of medical needs, including:

  • Mental health benefits. Studying abroad can be enriching, but it’s good to know your student health insurance takes mental health seriously if things get tough. As of 2022, William Russell’s international health insurance plans come with ten mental health consultations, plus provisions for mental health medicines and counselling (depending on the plan).
  • Reassurance in a crisis. When an overseas student needs emergency medical care, reassurance isn’t always easy to come by. With international health insurance from William Russell, you get emergency medical evacuation cover. If you’re far from advanced hospitals, this can be a lifeline.
  • Dental cover. Depending on the plan, our insurance can help students cover the cost of routine doctor visits and other regular appointments, including trips to the dentist.

Knowing your healthcare needs are taken care of can help you enjoy your student time overseas to the full. Here are the main benefits that our plans give you:

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Excellent customer service

For three decades, William Russell has specialised in providing international student health insurance around the globe.

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Plan tailored to your needs

Get the plan to suit your student lifestyle, with a choice of premium and lower-cost options.

Modern benefits to keep you healthy

Our product teams keep an eye on global healthcare, looking out for breakthroughs in medical science and monitoring trends.

Want to learn more?

Learn more about our plans

Do international students need health insurance?

Some international students find they need health insurance to enter their destination country or enrol on their academic courses. In Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and several countries in Europe, embassies have the right to require health insurance for entry.

International students in China, for instance, are required to have a private medical insurance plan by the Ministry of Education of China – and might find they need to take out their institution’s preferred policy.

An international student in Canada might find the requirements vary between provinces and institutions – in some places, the provincial cover is available, but in others, private or interim insurance is necessary. For international students in Australia, a certain type of insurance – Overseas Student Health Cover – is usually required.

In the UK, international students are advised by the UK Council for International Student Affairs to take out medical insurance for illness-related costs, such as having a relative come to stay if you fell ill.

None of us knows what might be around the corner, so having the right insurance in place can help students avoid hefty bills.

What is the best type of health insurance for international students?

There are three main types of health insurance for international students to choose from – public cover, private domestic insurance and global medical insurance. Some students may find a particular kind of cover is mandatory, but if not, the best type depends on your preferences.

Compared to private domestic insurance, the major benefit of international health insurance is you can be covered in almost every country. For those studying abroad, this means there’s support at home during university breaks and for changeable study abroad placements on schemes such as the Erasmus Programme.

For example, if you decide to take a gap year in Cambodia and Vietnam after your studies, our international health insurance can provide cover for this too – it’s flexible enough to move with you.

Our Zone 1 plans are the most generous – these cover healthcare in every country except the USA. Still, if you’re an American student, some benefits are available at home during college breaks. Read more about where healthcare is covered here.

You hear so many complaints about insurance companies dedicating their efforts to refusing claims. We feel William Russell did all they could to accommodate us. Thank you - we will certainly be recommending you to others.
M.B., Indonesia
William Russell Member

What do you cover with your international student health insurance?

Our plans are flexible and personalised, so coverage is bespoke to you and your needs. The range of illnesses covered is extensive and, depending on your level of cover, you could access a variety of treatments for conditions including transplants, kidney dialysis and more:

In general, you can expect to be covered for being admitted to hospital and serious issues such as cancer and mental health. Most plans don’t cover pre-existing health conditions, so check before you decide on a plan.





Annual benefit limit
Hospital accommodation
Semi-private room
Semi-private room
Private room
Private room
Hospital treatment
Cancer treatment
Mental health treatment lifetime sublimit
Vaccinations for kids and adults
Out-patient treatment annual sublimit
No limit*
No limit
No limit
Preventive health & well-being benefits
Routine dental care
Routine maternity care
Emergency medical evacuation

Certain benefits in this table of benefits specify a waiting period. You must be covered by the same plan for the full duration of the specified waiting period before you can claim for that benefit. No benefit is payable for any treatment costs incurred during the waiting period.

*Cover is limited to post-hospital care.

How much is health insurance for international students?

The cost of an international student’s health insurance depends on several factors, including the type of policy you buy, its provisions and the part of the world you’ll be studying in.

The cost of health insurance for international students in Australia, for instance, might be different to places where there are fewer cover rules for international students. The cost of medical treatment can also vary across the world, so this can make a difference too. If you’re an international student from a country such as the UK, health insurance might be new territory – getting a quote early could help you plan for any additional fees.

More on expat health insurance costs

Example premiums

Example monthly premium based on a 22-year-old man from Germany living in the United Kingdom, with a US$250 per annum excess and Zone 1 cover. These examples do not include the current New Member 15% discount.

Bronze plan

SilverLite plan

Silver plan

US$122 per month
US$181 per month
US$258 per month

See our full plan description here – and if you need anything explained, feel free to contact us.

Any time you need us

You can call our 24/7 emergency medical helpline

Choose your hospital

You're free to choose which hospital you visit for treatment

Worldwide network

We have a worldwide network of hospitals and doctors to call upon

What Sharon, our medical expert, says
"Moving abroad to study can be challenging, but with a comprehensive international medical insurance plan to cover you, you can take some of the pressure off."

How to choose the right international student health insurance

Here are some of our top tips:

  1. Make sure the plan covers the country where you live. Insurance companies sometimes limit your cover in certain countries. Make sure you’ll be fully covered where you are studying and also for any other countries you intend to visit.
  2. Pick the right plan. Health insurance gives you access to private healthcare. Your health plan sets the rules and limits of your access. That’s why it’s important to find a health plan with the benefits you need.
  3. Personalise your plan. Most insurance companies allow you to personalise your health plan. You’ll have options to increase your cover for certain benefits, such as dental cover and doctor visits. William Russell also gives you options to save money on your premium.
  4. Pick an excess. After choosing your plan, the excess you select is the most important factor affecting your premium. Most of our members choose a US$250 per annum excess, but larger excesses give a bigger discount on your premium. For new members, we offer excesses up to $10,000 per annum.

FAQs on international student health insurance

It is in some destinations, so make sure you check. Before you travel, it’s also a good idea to research the public healthcare. Look at the quality and availability of medical care, for both illness and accidents, and what the eligibility criteria are for accessing it. For extra coverage and peace of mind, you may decide to arrange expat health insurance for you and your family.

Our plans are divided into 5 zones:

Zone 1

Worldwide cover, with restricted cover in the USA.

Zone 2

Provides cover in most countries. But in countries where the cost of private health insurance is high, this is subject to certain limits. There is no cover in the USA.

Zone 3

Special area of cover for residents in Indonesia, with restricted cover where private healthcare is expensive but no cover in the USA.

Zone 4

Full cover in Africa & Indian Subcontinent, with restricted cover elsewhere but no cover in the USA.

Zone 5

Full cover in Africa (except South Africa) & Indian Subcontinent, with restricted cover elsewhere but no cover in the USA.

The Silver plan is a popular choice amongst our members without partners or families, you have:

  • cover for hospital treatment
  • everyday medical costs such as doctor visits and specialist consultations
  • cover for mental health, wellness and vaccinations
  • holidays
  • trips home to visit family or friends

We have a range of tools and options to keep your premium low, so you can put together the right health plan for you whether you’re purchasing a plan yourself or with your parents help.

For international students to get access to medical care, including a check-up, the first step is to ensure you are adequately insured. Some insurance policies will cover medical check-ups, while others won’t. You’ll then likely need to register with a local health centre such as a GP surgery, but it’s worth noting that some healthcare systems offer medical check-ups only to those with a certain age or medical history.

You can also contact your insurer to find nearby private providers – it’s best to do this early since there may be waiting periods for preventative healthcare.

All William Russell plans come with some cover for for emergency dental treatment following an accident, and you may be able to add more depending on what plan you choose.

Please note that waiting periods apply.

Yes, it can do. Healthcare plans from William Russell are international, so your cover doesn’t need to stop if you travel abroad or return home temporarily, provided this is within your cover zone.

If you return home permanently, we can offer cover in your home country. Please note the cover is not available to you if the USA, Iran, Libya, North Korea, South Sudan, Syria or Yemen is or becomes your country of residence, irrespective of your nationality.

Medicare, a state-funded health coverage system used in countries such as Canada and Australia, is sometimes available to international students. In Australia, most international students are not covered by Medicare – and even if they are, rules dictate the need for extra insurance.

In Canada, access to Medicare varies by province – in British Columbia, for instance, all international students must pay a monthly fee to join the Medical Services plan and aren’t entitled to support paying this.

The best way to find out what level of state support, if any, is available is to contact your university or college.

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