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Health Insurance Checklist For The Students Going Abroad

Posted on Apr 17, 2017
Health Insurance

Medical expenses abroad are exorbitantly high, hence, students who are seeking to pursue education overseas must look for a comprehensive health insurance plan. When considering buying an insurance policy, it is important to review the university’s insurance requirements, along with other insurance details like size, limit, and services that should ideally include emergency help, travel assistance, medical evacuation, to list a few.

Let’s take a closer look of each of the areas:

1. What are your policy options?

Each country and foreign university stipulates its own mandate with this regard. Generally your options include:

  • University Plans. Some universities abroad may have their own insurance policy for their students and stipulate it is compulsory to buy insurance from them.
  • Government Benefits. In some countries you may qualify to receive coverage under the country’s national health coverage.
  • Private Plans. When the option is yours, or the coverage from the two options above is not sufficient, you may need to look into /supplement with private insurance.  A number of private companies offer insurance plans specifically designed for international students.

The quality of these policies do vary, so speak to other international students and/or the on-campus International Student Office prior to purchasing.

2. How broad should your insurance coverage be?

Though it would vary across institutions, insurance should cover the respective areas:

  • Common medical expenses
  • Accidents and sickness
  • Availability of medical care anywhere
  • Travel assistance service for twenty-four hours
  • Medical evacuation and repatriation

Read the guidelines about the insurance plan provided and then make your next move. If you are buying the policy in your home country does it provide the same comprehensive benefits abroad. Furthermore, you need to ensure the plan is accepted by your university and includes all their stipulated requirements.  Universities can decline/withdraw an application if the insurance plan fails to match their prescribed standard.

3. How much should it cost?

The amount you will invest in buying a health insurance depends on which country you will be travelling to and the level of coverage.

4. Do you know the insurance limit?

You must be aware whether your insurance provider has a put a cap on one-time payment amount; moreover, what sum is allotted for various medical needs. Secondly find out if there are any restrictions about availing of the services of specific hospitals, health care centres, medical facilities and even doctors or you are only eligible to seek services of a certain hospital network. Thirdly, what kind of services are not provided in the plan; last but not the least, whether your insurance includes special emergency assistance, medical evacuation and repatriation. Above all, be well acquainted with aspects like the pre-existing conditions, deductibles, and reimbursement.

5. What is the time-period of the coverage?

The term could extend from a month to a year, so evaluate what is the best option for you depending on the duration of your academic course, visa tenure, participation in exchange programs to other foreign locales etc.. Furthermore, review and reassess the conditions for renewal of the plan.

6. What is the reimbursement policy?

The reimbursement strategy sometimes is not well-emphasized or explained as part of the plan. It can pose a lot of confusion and complicates things at the time of need. Hence, clarify with them regarding how they would settle the expenses. Some pointers include:

  • Does your insurance plan require you to pay upfront for the services and claim the reimbursement later?
  • What exact information related to doctors, medical facilities or hospitals do you need to provide?
  • What is the currency in which the payment of the insured amount will be expressed?

For all intents and purposes, you must have a health insurance coverage provided either by the university, bought from a foreign agency or carried from your country, to buffer your medical expenses. Taking care of your health is your primary responsibility, hence do not forget to insure your health in all the excitement of going abroad.

Need help with your college applications? ReachIvy can help!

ReachIvy  sincerely hopes that this article serves as a critical tool to increase your knowledge base. For study abroad consultation or career counselling  with ReachIvy, Submit a Query now! Also, review our resources to access our free premium content.

This article was also published in Afternoon DC on 12/04/2017.

Posted in Study Abroad

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