Health insurance is an important component of study abroad. Students participating on Rhodes programs and Rhodes exchange programs (with the exception of ISEP) will be covered by a comprehensive international insurance plan mandated and paid for by Rhodes. HTH Worldwide handles claims in various languages and from medical providers around the world. A schedule of benefits can be obtained from the Buckman Center for International Education.
Students on non-Rhodes programs should check with their program to determine if insurance is provided. If it is not, comprehensive overseas medical coverage that includes medical emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains must be purchased independently.
What follows is a sample list of questions to consider when comparing insurance policies. This list is not exhaustive:
- Will the plan cover hospitalization for accidents and illnesses for the entire period while I’m abroad?
- Does the policy provide coverage in all countries to be visited?
- Is there a deductible? If yes, how much?
- Is there a dollar limit to the amount of coverage provided?
- What are the procedures for filing a claim for medical expenses abroad? Do I need to pay for expenses and then submit receipts to the insurance company for reimbursement? (Make sure that you get full information from your policy about how to arrange for routine treatment, medical emergency procedures, and what is required to pay for or be reimbursed for a claim. Many overseas health providers will not process American insurance claims and will expect payment at the time of treatment so students should have access to a minimum of $400 held in reserve for emergencies in the event that medical treatment is required abroad. Be sure to obtain receipts, information, and signatures needed by your insurance company to file for reimbursement.)
- Will I be required to pay cash in the currency of the host country and seek reimbursement later? What if I don’t have enough money to pay cash up front?
- What do I use as proof of international medical coverage (if I need to use the insurance or if the host government requires documentation)?
- If I am not a U.S. Citizen, will I be covered by your plan? (In some instances international students have had to arrange for coverage with a company in their home country).
- Will this insurance cover me in the U.S. for the insured semester if I decide, for medical or other reasons, to return before the end of the program? (If a student has a serious accident or illness abroad, most usually he or she will return to the U.S. for further care; it is therefore important the student carry coverage that applies not only abroad, but in the U.S. during the study abroad period.)
- Does the policy exclude injuries sustained from terrorism and/or acts of war?
- Does it include coverage for medical evacuation/repatriation?
- Does the insurance company require claims to be submitted in U.S. dollars?
- What kind of financial and medical documentation will be required, and is such documentation readily available in the host country?