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What International Students Need to Know About Prescriptions

February 11th, 2015 by Bryanna Davis

medication 122524542Medical costs in the United States are very expensive and prescriptions are no exception. To keep your medical costs low and your body healthy, get information on what international students need to know about prescriptions.

Understand Your Health Insurance When in the US
There is a wide variety of health insurance plans for international students to choose from and each plan will fall into one of the following two categories. Know which category your plan fits into so when the need strikes you know how to obtain your prescription.

  1. Individual Insurance Plan
    If your school does not require you to purchase a specific plan you can find and purchase the health insurance plan of your choice. In most cases, individual insurance plans include prescription coverage even if they do not have separate prescription medication program. If you need a prescription while on an individual plan you will pay for your prescription up front and file a claim for reimbursement. If you’re not sure how to file a claim contact your agent or insurance company for assistance.
  2. School Group Insurance Plan
    Your school might have a group health insurance plan that they allow or require you to enroll in. If you need a prescription while on your school’s group insurance plan you will more than likely be able to obtain it in the same way that those on an individual plan can.

If you receive a prescription card after buying your health insurance coverage make sure you show the pharmacist your card when picking up your prescription. To confirm the prescription coverage on your school’s group plan please request these directly from your school.

If your school has a group plan they will either:

i. Allow you to voluntarily enroll.
ii. Require you to enroll.
iii. Allow you to waive the school plan when comparable coverage is available.

Whether you have a school group plan or an individual plan it’s important to find out how much prescription coverage your plan includes. Review your insurance plan documents to confirm your out of pocket expenses including copays, deductibles and coinsurance. Ensure that you also take note on the difference in cost when you visit a provider that is in-network, as opposed to a provider that is out of network. If you are currently taking medication you’ll also need to find out if it will be covered – don’t forget to research plan exclusions and waiting periods, as pre-existing medical conditions may not be covered.

Research Discount and Free Prescription Programs
Depending on the medication you need and which pharmacy you visit you might be able to get your prescription at a discount or even free of charge. Below is a list of pharmacies in various locations around the US that offer discount pharmacy programs.

Bring Your Medication
If you take medication regularly, we suggest that you bring a good supply with you. If you plan on buying it in the US you not only run the risk of having to pay for this medication at full cost, but you also run the risk of the United States not having the same medications that were available to you in your home country.

Remember, many international student health insurance plans exclude coverage for conditions you’ve had prior to the start date of your plan (known as a pre-existing condition), or you may need to wait a certain period of time before you get covered for your prescriptions.

If you have questions on prescription medication for international students you can contact us for further guidance.

Top 5 Claim Challenges…and How To Deal With Them!

January 15th, 2015 by Jennifer Frankel

Cartoon Businessman with Failure concept487390935No matter where your studies or travels take you, a good insurance plan can only be evaluated by the way they process and pay claims. For the overwhelming majority of people, the sophisticated claims payment and management systems set up by international insurers work very smoothly.

However, what if it isn’t as smooth as you had hoped? What if you went to the hospital, and now you are receiving threatening collection letters? Or, what if the claim process did go smoothly, but your claims were denied – and you wholeheartedly disagree? It’s important to realize that there are steps you can take to make sure that these issues get resolved, quickly and correctly.

Here are the top 5 claims complaints by international students, and how you can resolve them:

  • You’ve submitted your claim but you haven’t heard back

There are many reasons why you may not have heard back – the most common one is that the claim was never submitted!  The first step would be to contact your doctor or clinic and make sure they have filed the claim and that they have the correct insurance information on file. If you did not bring your ID card with you at the time of treatment, they might not know where to file the claim. In cases like these, we recommend that you give them your policy number, insurance address (which will appear on your ID card), and you can also fax the provider a copy of your ID card.  Sometimes, you may need the file the claim yourself.

Next, call the number on your ID card to get in touch with the insurance company and confirm receipt of the claim. Ask if they are missing anything, and make sure that they have your correct contact information. Many times insurance companies will need a Claimant Statement (also known as a Claims Form or Proof of Loss Form) before they process any claims, so be sure to send this in so that there is no delay.

Are you not a big fan of the phone, and prefer to do the whole thing online? Many insurance companies now have online claims management systems where you can track the status of your claim at any time throughout the day. These tracking tools can often tell you what the status is of your claim, what is missing, and oftentimes can let you know what was paid. These tools have been designed to make the process easier and more efficient, so we strongly recommend using these tools if it’s available through your carrier.

TIP: To speed up the process, we recommend submitting all claims electronically. This makes sure that they get the documents right away, that you have a copy of the claim, and that there is a time stamp on when the claim was submitted.

  • Your claim has been processing for more than 30 days

Typically claims take about 30 business days to be processed, but often much sooner than that. If you still haven’t heard back after 30 days, call your insurance company and verify the status of your claim. There can be many reasons why your claim is taking so long to process, for example they could be waiting for a completed Claim Form or medical records from your doctor/hospital. There are many reasons why a claim could be taking longer than normal, so be sure to check the online claims tracking system or give the insurance company a call to see what the hold up is.

  • I don’t understand any of the claims information

Once your claim has been processed, you will receive an Explanation of Benefits (also known as an EOB) in the mail detailing what was covered and what wasn’t covered. While this may be confusing at first, take a moment to look it over. You’ll see on this form the Patient Responsibility – usually in bold – and this is how much you will need to pay directly to your doctor or hospital. There may be many reasons why you need to pay your provider, two of the most common reasons is that there is an out of pocket on your plan (such as a deductible, copay or coinsurance) or the condition was excluded. Reasons why something wasn’t covered typically appears as a number, which will then be a clarification of why it was not covered.

  • You are getting payment overdue notices or collection letters

If you have left a claim unpaid, or have not followed up to make sure the claim has been closed and paid, then you might get an overdue payment notice. Don’t ignore it as it will not go away, but instead the best course of action is to be proactive!

First,  call your provider (i.e., doctor, hospital, clinic) and let them know that the insurance company is processing the claim. Make sure that they’ve submitted the documents to the insurance company, and confirm that they have the correct information on file for you (the spelling of your name, policy number, and date of birth). Next, confirm that they have the correct insurance company information, including the insurance company’s address and phone number.

If all of that checks out, then you will want to review your claim through the online claims tracking system or contact your insurance company to confirm if they have the claim on file, when the claim was received, and if there is any other information missing to finalize payment. Finally, see if you can get a timeline on when they expect to pay the provider. You will also find out if you have any outstanding payments due (such as your deductible, copay, coinsurance, or excluded benefits).

After, this may require you to call your provider back and let them know if any information is missing. You may want to also let them know the time frame in which the insurance company expects payment to go out. If you have any out of pocket due you will want to make the payment at this time.

  • Your claim has been denied, but you disagree!

If you are not happy with a claims decision, and feel it has been denied in error – the good news is that all insurance plans allow you to appeal your claims. For most carriers, this only requires an email to the claims team requesting a re-review, or in some cases your insurance company may require you to complete a special form. Along with your appeal, you should provide as much information to support your appeal as possible, this could include things like doctors records, notes, and really anything that shows you do not agree with the original denial. The appeal will typically take around 30 days to process, and then you will receive a letter from your insurance company explaining the result of the appeal.

TIP: Appeals are only allowed within a certain time frame from the initial denial, so don’t wait and do this right away.

We hope this has provided you with some insight into your claims worries, if you would like to know more about how to properly file a claim to minimize any issues, check out our article for a step-by-step guide on submitting an insurance claim.

Does My International Insurance Plan Cover Ebola?

December 22nd, 2014 by Victoria Troupe

Globe of Africa and International Currencies in BackgroundAA049180Traveling always comes with inherent dangers. We usually prepare for these dangers by receiving the proper immunizations and vaccinations, taking extra precautions to stay safe, and purchasing travel insurance for unforeseen injuries or illnesses. However, when a serious medical outbreak or epidemic occurs, like the recent Ebola outbreak, travelers like us need to be aware of our actual risk and how the outbreak will affect our insurance coverage. You may be wondering, “Will my travel insurance plan cover Ebola?”

Your medical coverage will vary by insurance company, plan, and plan level. Few plans will actually exclude Ebola specifically from coverage. More likely is the possibility of some of your insurance benefits becoming limited or unavailable because of travel advisories being issued for areas to which you are traveling. Even if some of your benefits are limited due to the Ebola travel advisory, you are still covered by your insurance plan for other unrelated injuries and illnesses.

Ebola-related advisories currently only exist for specific countries in Western Africa.There is a Level 3 Travel Warning issued for the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, because of “unprecedented outbreaks of Ebola in those countries.” The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recommend to avoid all unnecessary travel to these countries. A Level 2 Travel Alert has been issued in Mali, recommending travelers to practice enhanced precautions due to the possibility of the virus spreading further into the country.

Which Benefits Matter?

Several of your travel insurance benefits could be affected by these types of travel advisories, including Ebola-related medical benefits, emergency medical evacuation, and trip cancellation. If you are traveling within the CDC and FCO recommendations, you would most likely have cover (if you contracted Ebola in the US or UK, for example). However, if you contract the disease in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, or Mali, your coverage may be void because of the travel advisories. Keep in mind, you would still be covered for other injuries or illnesses unrelated to the travel advisory. If you caught the flu in Liberia, for example, you would be covered as usual.

Most travel insurance plans allow a certain amount of time (about 5-10 days) to evacuate if you are in-country at the time a travel advisory is issued. If your plan becomes effective after the advisory is in place, however, coverage for the forewarned illness is likely invalid.

The same is true if you cancel your trip because of Ebola. If you purchase your ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ trip cancellation insurance before the advisory is issued, you can likely recover some portion of your non-refundable trip expenses to cancel. If you purchase your plan after the advisory is in effect, however, it would not be a viable claim.

How are Insurance Companies Handling Ebola?

Insurance companies are approaching Ebola in different ways. Some are trying to decide whether to include it as part of their coverage, while others are limiting coverage options to countries impacted by the disease.  In the meantime, many insurance companies are releasing statements to clarify their insurance coverage for this particular disease.  Here are some examples of common travel insurance plans and how they are handling Ebola in different situations as of December, 2014.

 

| HCC Medical Insurance Services (HCCMIS)

HCCMIS the plan administrator of our Atlas Travel plan, issued this statement to explain how their long-standing travel medical plan covers illnesses related to travel advisories, like the ongoing Ebola epidemic:

“The Atlas Travel policy offered by HCCMIS provides travel medical insurance and emergency travel assistance to members traveling outside of their home country and covers illnesses contracted while abroad, including but not limited to, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) or Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF).

While Atlas Travel coverage includes these illnesses, it is highly recommended that you check for any travel or health advisories that might be active for the region or countries that you may be visiting and take necessary precautions. In countries for which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Warning Level 3 (avoid nonessential travel), the medical condition that prompted the CDC warning is excluded. All other eligible medical expenses are covered as usual. For members in-country at the time of the CDC warning, 10 days are allowed for departure before the condition becomes excluded.”

| Travelex

Travelex Insurance Services released the following statement regarding Ebola:

“…in order to be eligible for coverage due to EVD, the protection plan should have been purchased prior the event being foreseen (July 25th, 2014). In the event EVD causes an unforeseeable loss to occur after the effective date of the plan you have purchase coverage may be considered in the following areas: Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption Coverage, Trip Delay Coverage, Emergency Medical Coverage, 24 Hour Travel Assistance Services, and Policy Transfer Options.”

| Seven Corners

Seven Corners, a reputable insurance provider and administrator of the Roundtrip series of emergency medical and trip cancellation insurance plans, also released a statement in light of the Ebola epidemic:

“Emergency medical care and medically necessary evacuation coverage is available if the illness occurs during your travels. As it relates to Trip Cancellation, unless a traveler meets the specified criteria listed under the Trip Cancellation section of their Description of Coverage or policy, Trip Cancellation benefits are not available.Customers who purchase RoundTrip Economy and RoundTrip Elite plans are strongly encouraged to review coverage, terms, conditions and exclusions.”

 

Check your policy!

Every policy is unique, with different terms and conditions. Be sure to check your policy or contact your insurance company to see if you’re covered for Ebola. For more information regarding travel advisories and their affects on your health insurance plan, check out this article.


For more information about travel medical insurance plans or trip cancellation insurance plans, visit our Insurance Explained page.

J1 Visa Insurance Requirements Change in 2015

December 5th, 2014 by Ross Mason
J1 Travel to the USA

J1 Travel to the USA

The J1 Visa is probably one of the most well known visa types for students to come to the USA to work and study. Introduced in 1961, it has grown in popularity to become one of the primary ways students can participant in Work and Travel programs, Au Pair programs, Internships and all the other J1 Visa Categories. For more detailed information about the J1 visa, please visit our very comprehensive section explaining all the main details about this visa type.

Of course there are many different requirements that need to be met in order to qualify for the J1 Visa, but one of the requirements of the visa is that the participant holds an insurance policy that will cover their medical expenses during their time in the USA. Set in 1993, the requirements were as follows:

  • Medical Benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of Remains in the amount of $7,500
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • A policy underwritten by an insurance carrier with:
    • an AM Best rating of “A-” or above
    • an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd (ISI) rating of “A-I” or above
    • a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-” or above
    • or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above

While to many around the world, the levels of coverage may seem adequate for a temporary visitor, the USA medical system is the most expensive in the world. $50,000 does not actually go very far if you are hospitalized, and so there have been calls to increase these limits to protect students.

On the 6th October 2014, the US Department of State issued a final rule that would make a number of changes to the way the J1 Visa program is run, and as part of that the levels of insurance coverage were changed to:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of exchange visitors to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • Deductibles not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  • A policy underwritten by an insurance carrier with:
    • an A.M. Best rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims paying Ability rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of ‘‘B+’’ or above;
    • a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a Moody’s Investor Services rating of ‘‘A3’’ or above;

The main changes are to the levels of coverage, up to $100,000 for medical benefits, up to $25,000 for repatriation of remains, up to $50,000 for medical evacuation, and the inclusion of more rating agencies. The main changes have all be highlighted in red.

These new levels of coverage will come into effect on May 15th 2015, so any participants with travel dates past this date will need to meet these new requirements. Anyone traveling before this period, will still fall under the old insurance requirements. For more detailed information about the J1 Visa, please be sure to visit our visa section covering all the main aspects of the visa:

http://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/j1student/

2014 Travel Video Contest

September 29th, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

2014 Travel Video ContestCalling all filmmakers! If you’re looking for a challenge and an extra $4,000 for your study abroad journey then we have just the contest for you! InternationalStudent.com is hosting the 2014 Travel Video Contest and it’s now open for entries!

To enter this award you can follow these three steps:

  1. Check the rules and regulations to make sure you’re eligible.
  2. Submit an entry form before October 22nd.
  3. Submit your video before the deadline of October 22nd.

You can submit your video to InternationalStudent.com in a number of different of ways- so finding one method that works for you will be very easy! Make sure that you don’t enter the contest past the deadline as late entries will not be accepted.

Your video should tell the judges about your proposed study abroad trip. If you’re already studying abroad you can share any trip that you would like to take. Keep in mind that the InternationalStudent.com judges want to be entertained! Whether you make them laugh, cry, frightened or just plain confused- make sure you evoke emotion by using your creativity! Your video must be an original.

The grand prize winner of the contest will receive $4,000 along with their very own blog on InternationalStudent.com during their trip- so this also means fame!

Along with one grand prize winner there will also be a viewers’ choice award and some really great runner-up prizes. Finalists will be announced during the week of November 3rd, 2014. The final winners will be announced on the last day of International Education Week- November 21st.

If you would like to see the past winning videos you can check them out here, however, keep in mind that the judges want to see original ideas. You can also view tips and tricks to help your video out here.

If you would like more information on entering the InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest please visit here.

Get International Student Insurance for the 2014 – 2015 School Year

September 15th, 2014 by Victoria Troupe

Now_LaterThe 2014 – 2015 school year is off to a great start. If you’re an international student, you’ve checked just about everything off of your list and are getting ready to enjoy the new semester in a new place. One thing many students forget to consider is international student insurance coverage. If insurance was inadvertently left off of your checklist, don’t worry! You still have time to protect yourself against expensive medical costs.

Insurance coverage may or may not be mandatory for you while you are an international student. It is an important thing to have in any case, especially for students studying in the US, where medical expenses can be much higher than other places. To help you find the best insurance solution, every student should ask themselves the following questions (I’ve also provided some suggestions for quickly determining and obtaining an international student insurance plan that will work for you):

 

1. Does my visa require me to have insurance? In order to obtain a visa, you are sometimes required to maintain a certain level of insurance coverage in the country you will be staying. The F visa, a student visa in the US, does not require insurance coverage. However, many other types of visas do. Usually you need to show proof of this coverage during a visa interview or before you enter the country itself. However, if your old policy has expired, you’re looking for different coverage, or if you simply forgot, it’s not to late to get covered. Our Travel Medical plan meets most visa requirements around the world and is a great option for international students or even just travelers. The application is a simple, online process and you can begin your coverage the same day.

Here are some popular visas and their specific insurance requirements:

  • J Visa – J visa holders are required to have insurance coverage to properly maintain their US visa privileges. Those benefits are:
    • Medical Benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
    • Repatriation of Remains in the amount of at least $7,500
    • Medical Evacuation benefit in the amount of at least $10,000
    • Deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
    • A policy underwritten by an insurance carrier with:
      • an AM Best rating of “A-” or above
      • an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd (ISI) rating of “A-I” or above
      • a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-” or above
      • or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above

    The benefits required are pretty basic, so you might want to consider increasing your coverage above these minimum amounts. Our Travel Medical plan is an excellent option for J visa holders. It meets all of the minimum requirements listed above, plus more. It is also a flexible plan that allows you to choose your own deductible and overall maximum limit, so that you can get the coverage you need.

  • Schengen Visa – If you’re studying in the Schengen region of Europe, you’ll need insurance coverage for your visa. The insurance requirements the the Schengen visa are:
    • Medical Benefits of at least EUR €30 000 (equivalent to $50,000 USD)
    • Repatriation coverage for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment or death
    • Coverage Period valid within the Schengen region and for the full duration of stay

Our Travel Medical plan is also a good choice for students looking to meet these benefits. If you prefer a policy administered in Europe and offering payment terms in Euros, our Europe Travel plan is a great option for you.

 

2. Does my school have any specific insurance requirements? Not only do governments try to ensure that international students are properly covered, most colleges, universities, and high schools require their students to maintain proper insurance coverage while they are in school. Your international advisor will probably let you know what type of coverage they want you to have. They may even offer a school-sponsored insurance plan for you. Most students find these school-sponsored plans to be very expensive compared to purchasing their own individual plan. So, most schools allow you to waive the school’s policy if you buy your own plan that meets their requirements.

Our International Student Insurance plan meets the requirements for most schools and is built with international students in mind. It is annually renewable, so you can keep it while work towards your degree. You can also purchase it for less than one year if needed. You’ll have three levels of coverage to choose from – Smart, Budget, or Select – to ensure you have the coverage you need.If you’re not sure what your US school requires for insurance, try using our School Requirements search tool to see which of our affordable plans will work for you, or give us a call and we can discuss your options.

 

3. What type of coverage do I need? Many unique situations may be factors when determining what insurance plan is right for you. Do you need a plan for your family? Do you need coverage in your home country? Are you changing your visa status but still need international coverage? These and other factors can change the style of plan that will be best for you.

  • If you need coverage for your spouse or family, a student-focused plan is not always the way to go. If you need coverage for one year or less, our Travel Medical plan can meet your short-term needs at an affordable premium. If you need longer-term coverage, our Major Medical plan is a great option. It is annually renewable, provides four levels of coverage to choose from, and offers an affordable rate for dependents.
  • Our Major Medical plan also offers a unique option for Worldwide coverage, which includes your home country (only 30 days of home country coverage for US citizens), if needed. This is a convenient option for expats that travel home often and that need comprehensive coverage around the world. US citizens returning from a study abroad or trip should look into our Short-term Insurance plan for domestic coverage.
  • A visa change can also change your eligibility for certain insurance policies. For example, as soon as you are no longer a full-time international student, you no longer qualify for our International Student Insurance plan. However, there is an exception for those on OPT or CPT. Even though you are no longer a student, you are still technically maintaining a valid student visa, so you are still eligible for the International Student Insurance  plan. If you are changing your student visa to a working or permanent resident visa, a major medical style plan will offer the coverage you need.

 

If you still have questions about which plan is best for you, let us know. We can help you find the insurance plan you need. It’s not too late!

 

September 2014 Travel Warnings

September 9th, 2014 by Ross Mason
September 2014 Travel Warnings

September 2014 Travel Warnings

The September 2014 travel warnings are a listing of any warnings that have been posted by the US Department of State in the month of August, warning travelers who plan to visit those countries. Countries listed include:

Ukraine – August 29th, 2014

The Department of State warns of the risks of travel to eastern Ukraine due to ongoing violent clashes between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. In addition, Russian military forces continue to occupy the Crimean Peninsula and are present on the eastern border of Ukraine. Russia-backed separatists continue to control areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.  These groups have established illegal checkpoints and have threatened, detained, or kidnapped individuals, including U.S. citizens, for hours or days.  The Ukrainian armed forces have launched an operation to reclaim these areas.  Violent clashes between the Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces have escalated over the past month and have resulted in hundreds of injuries and deaths.

Lebanon – August 15th, 2014

The Department of State urges travelers to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of ongoing safety and security concerns. The potential for death or injury in Lebanon exists in particular because of the frequency of terrorist bombing attacks throughout the country.  Many of the attacks have targeted specific individuals or venues, but nearly all cases have resulted in death and injuries to passersby in the vicinity.  lthough there is no evidence these attacks were directed specifically at U.S. citizens at this time, there is a real possibility of “wrong place, wrong time” harm to U.S. citizens.  The most recent wave of bombings began in June 2013, with four bombings in Beirut and Tripoli that collectively left hundreds dead and wounded.  In November 2013, two suicide bombers attacked the Iranian embassy, killing 23 and injuring more than 150.

Mexico – August 15th, 2014

The U.S. Department of State warns about the risk of traveling to certain places in Mexico due to threats to safety and security posed by organized criminal groups in the country. U.S. citizens have been the target of violent crimes, such as kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery by organized criminal groups in various Mexican states.

Sierra Leone – August 14th, 2014

The U.S. Department of State warns against non-essential travel to Sierra Leone. As of August 11, there have been 759 confirmed cases and 293 confirmed deaths due to an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Sierra Leone. The outbreak of EVD has overwhelmed Sierra Leone’s health system due to the lack of sufficient staff and/or resources to address the continuing transmission of EVD.  Options for obtaining routine medical care are severely limited. In addition, most medical evacuation companies have suspended service to Ebola-affected countries and several airlines have suspended service to Freetown. This severely limits options for medical evacuation in the case of EVD and non-EVD medical cases.

Algeria – August 13th, 2014

The Department of State continues to warn of the risks of travel to Algeria. There is a high threat of terrorism and kidnappings in Algeria. This kidnapping threat was noted in the Department of State’s latest Worldwide Caution. Although the major cities are heavily policed, attacks could still potentially take place. The majority of terrorist attacks, including bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes occur in areas of the country east and south of Algiers.

Iraq – August 10th, 2014

The Department of State warns against all but essential travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous given the security situation. U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs); magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs; mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets; and shootings using various direct fire weapons. These and other attacks frequently occur in public gathering places, such as cafes, markets and other public venues. Numerous insurgent groups, including ISIL, previously known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq, remain active and terrorist activity and violence persist in many areas of the country. ISIL and its allies control Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and have captured significant territory across central Iraq and continue to engage with Iraqi security forces in that region. In early August, the threat to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) increased considerably with the advance of ISIL towards Kurdish areas.

Saudi Arabia – August 8th, 2014

The Department of State urges travelers to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia.  Recent developments include an attack by members of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on a border checkpoint along the Saudi-Yemeni border on July 4, 2014, and increased media reports of threats to Saudi infrastructure and U.S. installations in the Kingdom. The last major terrorist attack against foreign nationals occurred in 2007, but security threats are ongoing and terrorist groups, some affiliated with al-Qaida, may target both Saudi and Western interests. Possible targets include housing compounds, hotels, shopping areas and other facilities where Westerners congregate, as well as Saudi government facilities and economic/commercial targets within the Kingdom.

Pakistan – August 8th, 2014

The Department of State warns travelers to defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan. The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against civilian, government, and foreign targets. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military installations and airports. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities. Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.

Nigeria – August 8th, 2014

The Department of State warns of the risks of travel to Nigeria and recommends that travelers avoid all travel to Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states because of the May 14, 2013 state of emergency proclamation for those three states by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The security situation in the country remains fluid and unpredictable. The Department continues to recommend against all but essential travel to the following states due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, and Yobe States.  The Department also advises travelers to exercise additional caution while traveling in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara States.

Liberia – August 7th, 2014

The U.S. Department of State warns against non-essential travel to Liberia. In May 2014, a case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was confirmed in Liberia, marking the first case in a second wave of the EVD outbreak. Since then, EVD has continued to spread and intensify. The latest wave of the outbreak has overwhelmed Liberia’s health system and most health facilities lack sufficient staff or resources to address the continuing transmission of EVD.  Options for obtaining routine medical care are severely limited.

Cameroon – August 6th, 2014

The Department of State warns of the high risk of travel to Cameroon and cautions travelers to avoid all travel to the Far North region of the country. The terrorist group Boko Haram is active in the Far North, and has actively targeted foreign expatriates resident in Cameroon, tourists, and government leaders.  On July 25, 2014, more than 200 suspected Boko Haram operatives conducted a coordinated attack on two compounds in Kolofata.

While traveling, please keep these travel warnings in mind and remember to exercise extra care if you are visiting these countries, and check with your travel insurance provider to make sure you still have coverage in place – sometimes some benefits can be excluded for countries under a travel warning. Travelers are also advised to enroll through the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to stay up to date on travel security information.

Dixie State College International Student Insurance

August 27th, 2014 by Ross Mason
Accepted at Dixie State College

Accepted at Dixie State College

Founded in 1911, Dixie State College of Utah is a public institution located in an urban, 117 acre setting in Saint George. Because Dixie State College of Utah holds a mission to offer programs that “meet the needs of students, the community, and the state,” international students will find majors in business, management, marketing, communication, education, computer sciences and more. Students have access to services in tutoring, health, and security as well as a location that provides opportunities for hiking, climbing, water sports, and winter sports. International students at Dixie State College of Utah will find personal help with admissions and enrollment, advice for how to succeed as an international student in the United States, planned trips and activities, and support with cross-cultural adjustment and immigration.

Requirements

Along with the Form I-20, passports, and financial documentation, international students are required to show proof of international student health insurance coverage within thirty days of arrival. Utah also requires all international students to be tested for tuberculosis within thirty days of arrival. Since Dixie State College of Utah requires all international students to hold health insurance coverage during their time studying, students are encouraged to research and choose a plan as early as possible to avoid missing the deadline.

Insurance Plan Options

If you are looking for a Dixie State College International Student Insurance plan, the best place to start is the International Service Office. However, students are encouraged to research plans that will be right for them and are allowed to purchase those health insurance plans to submit as proof to the college. Our International Student Health Insurance plan offers three options for students that are accepted by DSU. These options range in coverage and allow for international students to choose the plan that best suits their budget and lifestyle.

For students who are looking for a more affordable, basic health insurance plan, the Smart level offers a balance of saving money as well as ensuring that you are secure and safe.  The Select level plan helps students who would like a more extensive coverage health insurance plan or students can opt for the Budget level that provides benefits that lie in-between the Smart and Select.

Coverage under these plans start at:

  • Smart – $30/month
  • Budget – $45/month
  • Select – $83/month

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Whether you’re looking to take business classes and hike trails or meet people who will have an impact on your life, Dixie State College of Utah wants to make sure that their students are free to experience these opportunities without the added stress of paying for medical expenses. By researching what plans are right for you, a path of education and inspiration can be the focus of your journey. Students can look at the three levels from our International Student Health Insurance plan for guidance on what they may be looking for. International students who have questions about health insurance, plans, or procedures can contact us for more information.

Insurance Requirements and Options for Studying Abroad in France

August 25th, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

paris 153055856Ten of the top 25 study abroad destinations for US citizens are inside Europe- number four on that list is France, according to the 2011/2012 Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Open Doors report. The latest report shows that there were 17,168 US students who studied abroad in France during the last academic year- a 0.9 percent increase from the year prior.

If you’re included in the steadily growing number of students (whether from the US or not) spending a semester, year, or degree abroad in France you must make sure you have the insurance you need. Your situation, including time abroad, will determine if you need a visa and to purchase private health insurance for France, or will be eligible for the French national healthcare system.

First, let’s take a look at the requirements!

If you are under 28 years old and staying for longer than 90 days in France you might be eligible for coverage under the national healthcare system in France. There will be a few factors that play into your eligibility, but if you are younger than 28 and will be in France on a long stay student visa, it doesn’t hurt to check it out!

If you’re older than 28 years old and in France on a long stay on a student visa (more than 90 days) you are required to show proof of private health insurance. If you will be there short term, less than 90 days, you will be on the Schengen visa if you are a non-US citizen. This also means you must show proof of private health insurance to meet your Schengen Visa Insurance requirements. Your health insurance plan must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum coverage must be EUR €30 000 (equivalent to $50,000 USD)
  • Coverage must be valid within the Schengen region and for the full duration of stay
  • Coverage for expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment or death

If you need to buy a private health insurance plan that will meet these requirements you have a few options to choose from, here are a few popular options that those studying abroad in France often purchase to show proof of coverage:

Travel Medical Insurance Even if you’re study abroad trip to France is short-term, you can still have a plan that will cover you for illness and injury when the need strikes. With this plan you can choose your coverage amount and deductible, this means you can choose your plan price.

Patriot Travel- Sometimes one year of coverage just isn’t enough. This plan is renewable for up to two years for anyone studying abroad outside of their home country. It’s also a great option for those who need flexibility in coverage and price.

Student Health Insurance- If you need coverage more long-term this plan is renewable up to four years. It will also provide coverage for mental health, maternity, pre-existing condition after a short wait and organized sports.

All three plans will give you immediate access to documentation after your purchase showing proof that you have the coverage you need, or are required to have while studying abroad in France.

If you would like personalized assistance finding a health insurance plan for your study abroad in France, please contact us for assistance.

Broward College International Student Insurance

August 15th, 2014 by Ross Mason
Accepted at Broward College

Accepted at Broward College

Broward County is everything people imagine Florida to be – white sand a miles of beaches – and although this alone is enough to attract tourists (and spring breakers) from around the world by the millions, there is so much more to both the city and the county around it. Indeed, located as it is in the heart in the most densely populated region in the state, Broward County is also home to one of the state’s most renowned centers of higher education: Broward College.

International Students at Broward

Named by the Washington D.C.-based Aspen Institute as one of the top ten percent of colleges in the nation, Broward College has been attracting students interested in studying fields as diverse as education, business, and the humanities since it was founded in 1959. With campuses located around Broward County it is a rising star in education that is becoming increasingly popular among students from across the country. Not that its allure is limited solely to domestic students: Broward College’s international appeal is also strong. Of the more than 40,000 students enrolled at the college in 2014, fully 2.62% came from one of more than 140 countries.

Health Insurance Requirements

Despite the diversity of their backgrounds, each and every international student is required to maintain adequate Broward College International Student Insurance that complies with the school’s minimum insurance requirements:

  • You have insurance coverage for the full period:
    • Fall Semester: August 25, 2014-January 5, 2015
    • Spring/Summer Semesters: January 6, 2015-August 23, 2015
    • Summer Semester: May 11, 2015-August 23, 2015
    • Annual: August 25, 2014-August 23, 2015
  • The policy provides coverage of major medical expenses including but not limited to hospital room and board, hospital miscellaneous, physician visits, surgery, anesthesia, etc.
  • Medical Evacuation & Medical Repatriation Coverage 

Because people without health insurance are solely responsible for paying all of the (often high) medical fees associated with their care,  Broward College has mandated that all international students must demonstrate that they have “adequate medical insurance coverage” before allowing them to register or otherwise continue enrollment at Broward College.

Meeting Requirements

While this all might sound overwhelming, it does not have to be. Happily, one of the most affordable – and comprehensive – health insurance plans on the market satisfies all of these requirements and then some. Our Student Health Insurance plan provides comprehensive student health insurance, offering three levels of coverage that all meet or exceed Broward College’s requirements. Those three plan levels – known as Smart, Budget and Select – provide international students with the flexibility to chose the level of coverage that is right for them.

Plans include coverage for:

  • Doctor Visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescription Medication
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation
  • Repatriation
  • Mental Health

For an international student under the age of 25, a year’s worth of coverage will cost $348 with the Smart plan, $528 with the Budget plan, and $876 with the Select plan – a small price to pay for the peace of mind such comprehensive coverage can provide.

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To learn more about the Student Secure plan, its options, and the coverage they provide, feel free to visit our website or contact our customer service team by phone, chat, or e-mail. At the same time, for more information about Broward College’s health insurance requirements, please visit the school’s insurance requirements page.

Why Do You Need Health Insurance?

Though it may not be nearly as exciting as the nearby beaches, the subject of international student insurance is important for several reasons.

  1. You Pay Your Own Medical Bills
    Because the United States does not have a system of nationalized health care, individuals without private insurance are required to pay for the cost of all medical care out of their own pocket.
  2. Medical Care in the US is Expensive
    While this may not seem like a major issue to the average college student, because even routine procedures can saddle international students with significant financial difficulties, all students – domestic and international alike – are encouraged to have adequate medical health insurance in the event of an emergency no matter where they study.

For more information about the US Healthcare System, please view our quick 6 minute video guide!

Our Insurance Plans

We offer a range of international health and travel insurance plans for both students and non-students including:

Student Secure

International Student Health Insurance for full time students around the world.

Atlas Travel

International Travel Medical Insurance for anyone outside of their home country.

Global Medical

International Major Medical Insurance for those needing long term coverage.

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