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I'm moving to the United States later this year, to begin graduate studies. I've heard a lot of talk about healthcare in the US, but never really paid much attention, until now, when it directly affects me. After living in Canada for some time, I've gotten complacent with the universal healthcare offered, and I've never had to think too much about the details. I am only a citizen of the European Union (with a Canadian permanent resident card). I should mention I haven't had much experience with the EU health system.

I just want to get an idea of what sort of bureaucracy/red tape/exorbitant fees I'll be facing once I start living there. Naively, I assume that I will be on the same footing as US citizens in that I have some options to get coverage with Obama's legislation, along with the plans offered by employer the university, otherwise I pay everything directly out of pocket. Is this true/at all sensible?

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Not that it matters much but there is no EU health system, only widely different national systems. – Gala Apr 21 '14 at 6:09
up vote 9 down vote accepted

As a foreign student, your university is required to provide you coverage. You must have that coverage through the whole term of your presence as a J1/F1/M1 student as part of the conditions of your visa. Talk to the university's international students' office for details.

From what I know (second-hand experience), the prices are not all that different from what you would pay for a private insurance in the US (Obamacare or other) with the same level of coverage. You can check with the school if they allow you get your own coverage for the visa, and if so - shop around.

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