5 things to do once you’ve been accepted to a study abroad program Cont’d:
5. Obtaining Medical Insurance while Studying Abroad
Most study abroad programs will require you to participate in a student health insurance program or in a health benefit plan while you’re abroad. First, check to see if your current plan or the plan you are under covers you abroad, and second, if it covers you beyond the basic trip to the ER. If not, here are a few options to keep you safe:
1. Look into whether or not your home college or university offers a student health insurance plan. This is pretty common among schools with well-established and organized study abroad offices. The plan can cost around $1,000, but its well worth the money. More often than not, if your school does provide an insurance program, you will actually have to physically sign a waiver if you don’t want to participate in it.
2. Your ISIC or StuCard provides basic sickness and accident coverage including emergency evacuation insurance, repatriation and accidental death or loss/use of limb(s) coverage. A letter outlining the policy is included with the card. If you haven’t realized by now, you should really get one of these cards.
3. You can always apply independently for an individual insurance plan through providers that work specifically with either study abroad students or international travelers. Reputable names include Cultural Insurance Services International, World Nomads Insurance, ASA Inc., and International Student Protection.
I can’t stress enough how important having quality insurance is while you study abroad. I recently had to make a trip to an international hospital in Beijing, and cost for the visit plus my medication combined was over $200. Luckily, my Cultural Insurance Services International covered the entire thing. A final note: always have your insurance card on you and be prepared to pay hospital fees up front. To that end, it’s always important that you keep a credit or debit card with you at all times.