International Student Health Insurance

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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There are two different types of international students: those of U.S. citizenship who are studying abroad, and those who are foreign-born and studying in the States. In both cases, options exist for those in need of health coverage, though the steps involved differ from one case to the other. Beyond that, every university has its own unique policy regarding health coverage, just to confuse matters more.

American students who study abroad may or may not be covered by their domestic insurers when it comes to medical care in foreign countries. Most private plans allow for point-of-service care, which covers patients in the event of emergencies. Typically, however, this only applies to students who are traveling from one state to another, not one continent to another.

Foreign Students Studying Stateside

Scenario two has students from South America, Europe, Asia, the Mideast, Africa, and Australia coming to U.S. institutions either for semester-long programs or four-year enrollments. Students here on study visas are well served by purchasing temporary medical coverage through American insurers, just as Americans traveling abroad ought to consider short-term coverage overseas. At the very least, in both cases the costs of emergency treatment should be covered, even if less pressing medical needs are excluded.

Still, one should never assume that any benefits are foregone conclusions when purchasing overseas plans. It may turn out that even catastrophic insurance is rife with exclusions and restrictions, so it's best to find this out ahead of time. Should you require an ambulance, surgery, or in-patient services, the last thing you need once your ordeal is through is to be socked with a gargantuan medical bill, be it in euros, yen, bahts, dollars, or any other currency.

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