Optical Practical Training (OPT) Health Insurance


Effects of the Affordable Care Act on OPT – International Students Exempt

Health Insurance on OPT


As an international student is doing an Optical Practical Training period (OPT), the insurance requirements set by the Affordable Care Act do not apply.  During the OPT period you are generally exempt. While on OPT most people retain their  “non- resident alien” status as determined by the IRS.  As a “non- resident alien”  you have the freedom to choose the insurance policy that best suits your needs.


You can learn more about how the IRS decides your tax status here: IRS Non-Resident Alien Status Your IRS  tax status dictates when you are subject to the ACA and it’s rules and penalties.  As a student present in the U.S. under an “F,” “J,” “M,” or “Q” visa, who complies with the requirements of the visa, you are exempt from being considered a US resident for 5 calendar years.  After the 5 calendar years have passed, you will need to consider the “substantial presence test” shown in the above link.


International Medical Plans for students during OPT


During this period an international plan can be the best option. Plans designed for international students are specifically intended to fit the needs of someone who is not a US citizen. International policies include emergency medical evacuation, and emergency reunion coverage.  They frequently include coverage in case of death not in your country of citizenship. These benefits are of no value to American citizens as such they are not found in ACA compliant policies.


International medical policies can be purchased at much lower prices than ACA compliant health coverage. Most people during OPT select either the Patriot Travel Medical plan or the TaiAn Patriot Exchange.  Medical coverage under international medical plans starts at about $1 a day.  Coverage under an ACA compliant plan can cost $150 a month or more. Rates depend on your age, geographical location and income level.


For help in selecting the plan that fits your needs, contact TaiAn International Insurance.



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