Student Health Insurance: International Student’s Guide

Studying abroad gives a lot of opportunities to students, especially college students. But with these opportunities comes greater risk. Why? Because if you are studying in a foreign land, you may not be covered with basic health insurance coverage. I know, when you applied for admission to an undergraduate program somewhere in Europe, the farthest thing from your mind was student health insurance. International scholarship is an excellent opportunity no one sane would pass up. But as you pack your bags and plan your next four years in a European country, international student insurance should move ten leaps up your list of priorities Here’s a couple of reasons why you should think about health insurance now.

1. Guard against uncertainty. Although you may be physically fit and in perfect shape, you can’t be sure you won’t need non-routine medical attention while abroad. Even if you have coverage from either parent as a qualified dependent, these policies are not specifically designed with you in mind. Unlike student health insurance, international trips could very well be an exclusion item. If not, the policy would normally have several qualifying or disqualifying clauses.

International student health insurance provides medical care and treatment for students who are studying abroad. The last thing that you want to experience when you study in a different country is to get sick or meet an accident, and worry about the payment for medical bills (especially since you are away from parents).

2. Finance planning begins even before you graduate. You don’t want to begin your adult life burdened with debt because of a hefty medical bill. That, on top of student loans. That is not to say having fun now and worrying about debt later is out of the question. You could go that route, too, but think of how much fun you’ll be missing out on when you’ll have to work two jobs while your friends go dancing on Friday nights.

You may have had to work a part-time job back home to stash some extra cash but you probably lived an overall sheltered, well-provided for kind of life. Dad took care of the doctor and dental visits and mom stocked the fridge and the cupboards well. But when you’re out on your own, paying for student loans and medical bills, Mom and Dad won’t be a running distance away.

Basically, there are two types of coverage for international students: the travel medical coverage, for trips from seven days to 12 months, and the coverage for repatriation. A summer session of study will fall under the travel medical coverage, and this can provide you up to $1 million for treatment on sickness or injuries that may occur in the foreign country. The coverage for repatriation, on the other hand, includes accidental death and hazardous sports activities and pays expenses involved in getting the student back to the United States when there are no other funds available.

Don’t get caught on the wrong foot. As you plan your life ahead, make a note to request for a quote and shop for providers of student health insurance. International students like yourself should look into a combined medical and travel insurance plan for optimum protection at minimal premium costs. Where your health or your future is at stake, it’s better to be overprotected than unprotected.