Study Abroad Students Have Choices
Wow you have finally made it to college and better yet you are planning to spend part of your further education years overseas studying abroad. This is most definitely one of the most exciting times in your life. You have worked hard to get where you are at and you have spent countless hours preparing for your upcoming adventure.
Maintaining your health and safety during your study abroad experience depends on choices and safeguards you take prior to, during, and following your time outside the borders of your home country. There simply are no guarantees or absolutes with regard to health and safety when one travels internationally. Many study abroad programs sponsors will require the submission of medical forms about your physical and mental health. In addition you will in most cases be asked to show proof of health and accident insurance before you leave home.
For some this may seem a bit daunting and to others it may seem fairly straightforward and simple. A common mistake made by many is that they think if you are a student that will be outside the borders of your home country your domestic health plans will cover you. But that is generally not the case. In addition, many of the larger colleges and universities offer limited coverage’s that are in many cases built into the cost of the Study Abroad Program so why look for other coverage? Then there are all the other International Insurance options one can consider. Making the right choice regarding your International Cover may be the most important decision you make prior to leaving home.
There are basically three types of international policies available to the traveling student. Each plan design offers different levels and length of cover. There are policies marketed directly to the International Student, there are Short Term Travel Medical plans and finally Annual Renewable Major Medical Plans for Expats. Each plan type reaches a different market although most off of these products have the same thing in common, providing comprehensive International medical cover should the unexpected come to pass.
International Student Policies
One of the first options students seem to gravitate to are the Global Student plans that generally offer a fairly comprehensive level of benefits but limited in their scope of coverage maximums. These plans are easy to spot primarily because they are marketed with the name “Student” or “Global Student” somewhere in the title of the plan name. They are in most cases the least expensive option and they can generally be extended beyond 12 months in many cases. However if your insurance needs extend beyond 12 months then you need to consider other options. Any time abroad that exceeds 6 months is really considered an Expatriate and some insurers like Cigna Global consider as few as 3 as the benchmark. It is important to note that there are many things that are excluded or limited in these types of plans so please read through the Exclusion and Limitation section of the policy carefully. Two quick examples are generally “Pre-Existing Conditions” and “Acts of War or Terrorism“.
Short Term International Major Medical Policies
These types of plans are generally referred to as “Travel Medical Plans”. Travel Medical plans are far more comprehensive in their scope of coverage with most of these plans offering plan maximums up to $1 million dollars in coverage and some offer Emergency Medical Evacuation benefits up to $500,000 thousand dollars in coverage. Deductibles for these plans will range from as low as $0 dollars up to $2,500 with some companies. These types of policies in many respects are modeled after our own domestic short-term policies. These plans usually are limited to no more than 180 days of continuous coverage. Perfect if you will be gone for one semester with some additional travel that will not exceed 6 months.
Some plans like the GeoBlue Voyager Choice even though their initial period of coverage cannot exceed 180 consecutive days GeoBlue does allow a onetime reapplication for the plan if you are still abroad when the first plan terminates. For those that are still in good health they can enroll in a second policy period without having to return home to the United States and for some this is a huge advantage.
Annual Renewable International Expat Medical Policies
The true Global Citizen who resides outside their home country for more than 6 months and maybe even years needs to consider more permanent options. Renewable International Major Medical policies are designed to support the international lifestyles of those who travel to or from the United States for extended periods of business, leisure and study. If you leave home for six months or more, your health and financial security are at serious risk because of significant gaps found in most available insurance coverage and services. This risk is only heightened by limited knowledge of health and safety hazards around the world, including medical treatment from unfamiliar providers.
Because of the length of time Global Citizens spend away from home these individuals want and need the freedom to be able to seek medical treatment should the need arise in any country that is best suited to treat them including here in the United States. Some plans are better than others and only a few of these plans are insured by U.S. Insurance Carriers. Not all expat policies are created equal. For those who are U.S. Citizens or legal residents of the United States then you are blessed in that you are eligible for the International Plans from GeoBlue.
GeoBlue International Medical Plans
For the outbound U.S. student there is clearly one company that stands out over all the rest and that company is GeoBlue. GeoBlue is the trade name for the international health insurance programs of Worldwide Insurance Services, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. GeoBlue health plans are offered in cooperation with certain local Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, with a network that includes more than 90 percent of physicians and 80 percent of hospitals across the U.S. GeoBlue’s comprehensive portfolio of international health insurance plans demonstrates the commitment to covering members both at home and abroad. The Good News is that the GeoBlue product line is now available in all 50 states under on single brand!
Global travelers like you can leave home feeling confident that a trusted source of care is available at a moment’s notice—no matter what country, town or time zone. GeoBlue’s highly qualified doctors speak your language, treat you like a friend, and bill GeoBlue directly for their services. With instant access in the palm of your hand and twenty-four/seven concierge support, you’ll travel anywhere with the peace of mind that if your health is a concern, getting good care is not.
To find out more about the plan types available and get rates for different plan options visit our website at www.IndividualHealth.com. If you have questions please feel free to call us at (307) 690-0427. If you would like personalize quote CLICK HERE and complete the form and we will get right back to you. This is all we do which is to say we are full-time International Health Insurance Advisors. We are here to help!