Center For Global Education

Health Insurance While Abroad

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It is important for you to have adequate health insurance coverage while you are abroad. Failure to obtain coverage can result in anything from very high medical bills to refusal to be treated in a hospital or doctor's office. In many countries, foreigners must prove that they have medical insurance before they can be treated and are often required to pay cash up-front. No matter where you go or what treatment you may seek, SAVE ALL MEDICAL BILLS AND RECEIPTS.

Check to see if your current medical coverage is valid outside of the United States. Find out how you would file a claim from abroad and how the insurance company would handle the claim. Ask your insurance company if they provide benefits for medical evacuation and repatriation. Although it is not a pleasant subject to think about, you need to be aware of what would happen if you were to fall seriously ill while abroad and had to return to the US for medical treatment. For example, some policies provide an air ambulance with accompanying nurse or physician for instances where the patient must return to the home country. Without insurance this service may cost up to $10,000. If your current policy does not provide such coverage, consider purchasing some form of supplemental insurance coverage. It is to your benefit to thoroughly research your options prior to committing to a specific insurance carrier.

Other questions to ask your insurance carrier include:

  1. What type of coverage does the international health insurance plan provide?
  2. Does it provide for medical evacuation and repatriation? If so, will it pay for evacuation to the home country or only to the nearest medical facility?
  3. How much does the policy cost?
  4. What are the eligibility requirements for this policy?
  5. Are pre-existing conditions covered? If so, is there a waiting period?
  6. If I become ill or am injured while overseas, how will the policy apply?
    1. Do I pay for services rendered and receive reimbursements afterwards?
    2. If I am unable to pay in advance for services rendered, will this policy provide assistance?
    3. Does this policy require a deductible?
  7. When does the coverage for this policy begin and when does it end?
  8. Does this policy provide coverage specifically in (country abroad)?
  9. Will this policy provide coverage for trips to the U.S. during my school breaks and/or holidays?
  10. Will the policy provide coverage outside my host country during my study abroad program?
  11. Whom do I ask if I have questions about the coverage while abroad?
  12. In addition to accident and sickness coverage, what other services does your policy provide? (e.g., 24 hour operator assistance, information on English speaking doctors and/or translators, travel insurance, etc.)

If you're not currently covered by medical insurance, you are advised to enroll in a policy designed for US students who will be studying abroad. Contact information for companies which offer supplemental insurance for international study is below.

List Of Supplemental Insurance Providers

The following supplemental insurance providers are options for your consideration. Butler University does not endorse any specific insurance plan. Those listed below are provided for your information and reference. Your decision to purchase coverage from any provider should be made after careful examination of policy coverage. Please contact the policy provider directly for any specific plan questions you may have.

Champion Insurance Advantage, Ltd.
Tel: (800) 643-4675

HTH Worldwide Insurance Service
Tel: (800) 242-4178

Health Insurance for U.S. Students Studying Abroad

International Scholastic Overseas Service (SOS)
Tel: (800) 767-1403

Worldwide Assistance
Tel: (800) 821-2828


International Student Identity Card (ISIC)

The ISIC can be valuable when studying abroad. It is recognized worldwide and immediately proves that you are eligible to receive available discounts on travel, accommodations and admission to museums, theaters and other cultural activities in more than 90 countries. It offers savings of up to 50% over commercial fares on intra-European travel and many other benefits, including illness and accidental death insurance coverage. Additionally, a 24-hour help line is available to holders of the ISIC. The number to call in any emergency is +1 (713) 267-2525; you must mention the group number you were given by the agent who issued you the card. Take this number with you as it is *NOT* written on your ISIC card.

Many study abroad programs will automatically provide you with this card and you should check with your program directly to see if this is the case. If one is not provided, you can obtain the ISIC from the Center for Global Education. You must complete the application in the Center for Global Education, bring one passport-size photo, and $22. Be sure to get one of the ISIC Handbooks, too, so you can take full advantage of the card's benefits.

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