The more common concern associated with insurance coverage for exchange or travel abroad is not whether one has coverage, it is whether the coverage is appropriate. Even if a health insurance plan proclaims itself as providing worldwide coverage, there are often limitations. Be sure to read whatever coverage you have carefully to make certain you are aware of the limitations. If you see problems in your coverage, it is recommended that you purchase a separate plan. Even if there is some overlapping coverage, the cost to insure these gaps is very reasonable - usually around $30 or 40 per month for the average student and will include medical evacuation (transportation to an appropriate medical facility) and assistance services.
If you are satisfied that your medical insurance is adequate, you will likely need to purchase the medical evacuation coverage on a stand alone basis (very few plans provide this necessary coverage). This can be purchased separately or is available through the ISIC card. Again, these coverages usually have an assistance element attached.
Things to look for in preparing for your study abroad or travel insurance coverages are (at a minimum):
The policy provides coverage for the full period of study.
There are no out of area / country penalties.
Both accidents & illnesses are covered
Both emergency & non-emergency situations are covered
The policy provides at least a $50,000 for each illness/accident.
Look for exclusions regarding activities that you may be participating in, such as scuba diving.
The policy provides at least $50,000 medical evacuation coverage (this may not be sufficient if you are traveling to a very remote or distance location).
The policy provides at least $15,000 repatriation coverage.
You should also look at plans that have a 24 hour assistance component to help in case of an emergency. These provide assistance in medical or other emergencies (legal, lost documents, etc). Some also have pre-departure information available to their clients. These services can be invaluable to both the traveler and their family at home.
The following sites examines the insurance topic further
· “Health Insurance Abroad” by Leslie Pappas Transitions Abroad May 98
· SAFETI Insurance Page http://www.usc.edu/dept/education/globaled/irl/insurance.html
For more information on health insurance, visit:
The Agency for Healthcare & Research Quality “Understanding Health Insurance Terms” http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/insuranc.htm#head27
National Association of Health Underwriters “Glossary of Terms” http://www.nahu.org/consumer/Terms.htm