What Type of Health Insurance is Needed for a Semester Abroad?

Posted on Jul 28, 2017

The opportunity to study abroad for a semester or more is one that is simply too good to turn down for many students. There are lots of benefits to studying abroad, ones that should not be quickly dismissed, including:

  • The opportunity to learn, firsthand, about new cultures.
  • Improving foreign language skills.
  • Building self-confidence.
  • Developing a better appreciation for their own cultures.
  • Educational challenges.
  • Exposure to diverse ideas, experiences, and perspectives.
  • Gaining independence and personal responsibility.

And, in today’s world, studying abroad can offer students the opportunity to truly unplug and experience the world – something that might be difficult to accomplish when they are surrounded by things that are familiar.

The benefits don’t simply exist in the theoretical realm, however. They transition well into real world benefits. For instance, studying abroad looks great on a resume. Companies want to hire people who can think outside the box and exposure to new cultures and ideas during a study abroad experience teaches students to do just that.

According to University of California, Merced, 97 percent of students who studied abroad found employment within 12 months of graduating.  Compare this to only 49 percent of college grads who studied in their home country exclusively being able to find employment in the first year after graduating.  Studying abroad almost doubled the likelihood of students finding a job. Studying overseas is also known to help improve student GPAs after their study abroad semester and increases the likelihood of students getting into first or second choices for graduate schools.

As a parent, you want to give your child the best possible foundation for life and the opportunity to study abroad in another country is one way you can do exactly that. However, you want to make sure your child is as safe as possible while doing so. That means making sure your child has the right kind of health insurance to provide proper protection for his or her semester abroad.

Insurance for Studying Abroad

Most programs that facilitate students studying abroad require students to participate in some sort of health insurance program. The problem is that some of these insurance plans offer full coverage and protection while others only cover basic medical services. You need to make sure your student has full coverage while studying out of the country because you never know what will happen.

Options to Consider for Health Insurance Abroad

You have a few options available to you when purchasing health insurance for your student to study abroad.

1)  One of those options is to contact your current insurance provider and secure coverage for overseas travel.

You will need to discuss the fact that your child will be spending a semester abroad and ask what options or add-ons they offer to protect your child while out of the country. Also, make sure that there is some sort of medical evacuation coverage in case your child needs special medical equipment or has specialized transportation needs for the return trip home.

2)   Another option is to purchase health insurance for your child through the study abroad program he or she is participating in. These typically offer basic coverage at affordable rates, but you will need to review the plan carefully to make sure it provides enough coverage to make you feel comfortable.

3) You can also look for providers that specialize in insurance plans for students who study out of the country. These providers have a deeper understanding of international insurance needs than companies that work exclusively within the United States and may be a better choice in many cases.

It is important to know what your deductibles are and have a plan in place for covering them. Some require deductibles to be paid up front and the deductibles may be different for medical service providers inside or outside of certain provider organizations or networks. Other critical information to pay attention to includes prescription drug coverage and coverage limits (maximum coverage). Some plans also pay only 80 percent of medical expenses while others will pay 100 percent for providers who are in their network.

Studying abroad gives your student the opportunity to see a whole new world around them. Making sure your student has the proper health insurance coverage while learning about other people, cultures, and experiences gives you the peace of mind to let them take advantage of this unique opportunity to increase their life experiences.

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