Health and Safety
We want you to know that the safety and security of students are of paramount importance to everyone in the Office of Study Abroad. On this page you will find information about Safety Abroad, Passport Information and Health Insurance for Study Abroad Students.
Our staff is aware that the political environment in some countries is difficult to assess. We continually monitor developments in the U.S. and around the world carefully and make adjustments in our programs as conditions warrant. KU policy prohibits study abroad in locations where a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 or Level 4 has been issued. The classification level applied to each country can be accessed on the U.S. Department of State website. Information on Level 3 or Level 4 regional designations within a country is available by reading the country-specific advisory.
You can access important health and safety information on all foreign countries from the U.S. State Department and from the Centers for Disease Control. We also encourage your students to sign up for the U.S. State Department's free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to automatically receive travel updates and country information. By signing up for this program, the U.S. State Department can better assist your students in case of an emergency.
If you do not have a passport, we would suggest you consider getting one in case of an emergency. In the past, we have had occasions when a student has gotten sick or injured and the presence of a parent was desirable. While these incidents are infrequent, it is reassuring to both you and your child to know that you could reach them quickly if needed. And the OSA staff is always ready to assist your family, both in the U.S. or in a foreign country, should the need arise. Visit the Office of International Programs for Passport applications and more information.
Health Insurance For Study Abroad Students
All students participating in a Study Abroad program are required to be covered by health insurance that the participant has determined to be adequate and satisfactory for any injury or illness that might befall them. Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions, questions to consider when reviewing/purchasing health insurance, and a list of Study Abroad Health Insurance Providers.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What determines 'adequate and satisfactory' insurance?
Only you and your child can determine what level of coverage is adequate and satisfactory for your child's needs. However, minimum requirements are that the policy provide for reimbursement of medical costs from major medical situations, such as serious accident or illness.
My child is covered under my insurance or the KU student health insurance policy. Is that 'adequate and satisfactory'?
You or your child must contact your current insurance provider to determine if they will reimburse you for medical costs while your child is abroad. It is recommended that you obtain a copy of their claim form if your child is covered by this policy while studying abroad. Determine exactly what services and coverage limitations the policy offers while studying abroad and decide if these meet your child's personal needs. Obtain an insurance card for your child if he/she does not already have one.
If your current policy will NOT provide reimbursement for major medical expenses incurred while you child is overseas, your child MUST check into other options. See the list of providers at the bottom of the page.
My child doesn't have health insurance or his/her current policy is not adequate. What options does my child have?
Purchase a major medical policy of your choice, being sure that the policy will cover your child's study abroad program and that the period of coverage includes the entire time your child will be abroad.
Consider policies designed for students studying abroad. Most cover major medical expenses, are relatively inexpensive, and can be purchased by the month. See the list of providers at the bottom of the page.
Should my child keep his/her current insurance even if he/she purchase an additional "Study Abroad" health insurance policy?
You may decide to continue to keep your current policy in force while studying abroad even though it duplicates some coverage provided by your "Study Abroad" policy. Consider the following:
* If your child is currently being treated for a condition for which he/she may need continuing treatment after his/her study abroad program ends, it is recommended that you do not let your child's current insurance lapse. Your current insurance carrier may consider the original condition "pre-existing" if the is a break in coverage.
* If your child must withdraw from the study abroad program for any reason, your child's study abroad health insurance coverage might cease. Some study abroad policies require student's to be actively participating in a study abroad program for continued coverage.
* Conditions that develop while your child is abroad would be considered pre-existing if there is a break in coverage with your current insurer.
* Review the exclusions of your child's new study abroad policy. Many insurance policies, including those offered for study abroad, have limitations for various conditions. Exclusions you should check for are nervous or mental disorders, eyeglasses/contacts, dental, and routine medical exams.
I have heard that while abroad my child will have to pay upfront for medical care even if he/she is insured. Is that true?
In most cases study abroad students will need to pay at the time of treatment and submit a claim for reimbursement. It is recommended that you obtain a blank claim form(s) from your insurance company when you verify your child's coverage abroad or purchase a new policy.
My child is currently being treated for a medical condition. Will it be covered while he/she is abroad?
If your child has a condition that requires continuous care or monitoring by a physician, discuss the situation with your US physician(s) and with your insurance provider. This will help you anticipate your child's medical needs and costs while abroad and to determine if you will be reimbursed.
If you are purchasing new insurance be sure to determine if your child has any "pre-existing" conditions and how they will affect your child's coverage.
My child is currently taking prescription medications that she/he will need to continue to take while abroad. How can my child take her/his prescription medications abroad and will insurance cover them?
If your child requires prescription medications, she/he must take an adequate supply for the duration of the study abroad program. Your child should also carry a copy of the prescriptions, including the generic names for the drugs, and written instructions from her/his physician in case of emergency. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, your child should carry a letter from the prescribing physician attesting to your child's need to take the medication. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult AIG Global Assistance Services or the embassy or consulate of that country prior to departure. Make sure to keep medicines in their original, labeled containers to avoid problems when passing through customs.
Your child will have to check with her/his insurance company to see if they will allow your child to purchase enough of the medication to have for the duration of their study abroad program. They may require documentation from your child's doctor or study abroad advisor.
Why do we have to have health insurance if AIG Global Assistance Services is provided in the program fee?
AIG Global Assistance Services is NOT health insurance. It provides services that are not covered under most health insurance policies. More information on the program is available on our AIG Global Assistance Services page.
My child purchased a health insurance policy for students studying abroad. It includes medical evacuation and repatriation services, the same services as AIG Global Assistance Services. Can my child get a refund for the KU required AIG Global Assistance Services policy?
NO. KU Study Abroad participants are covered under a group policy. AIG Global Assistance Services alerts the KU OSA when services are requested. It is critical for KU to ensure that all participants are on the group policy, whether or not it duplicates personal coverage.
Questions to consider while reviewing your current health insurance policy or policies you are considering purchasing:
Is the policy adequate?
* Does the plan include major medical coverage for accidents and illness overseas?
* Does the plan cover visits to the doctor or prescriptions ordered while abroad?
* Does the plan cover emergency room visits?
* What are the plan's deductibles, if any?
* Does the plan provide medical referral services for the country your child will be
* Do you know exactly what the plan covers and what the maximum coverage it will
* Are dental, mental health or vision services covered? If not, how will your child handle
* Does the policy cover injuries incurred during high-risk activities such as rock climbing,
hang gliding, scuba diving or "contact" sports?
* Does the policy cover your child only while enrolled in a Study Abroad Program or are
tourist activities before or after the program included?
* How does this policy deal with pre-existing conditions?
How do you use the policy?
* How will your child use the plan if he/she has a medical emergency or needs to visit a
doctor while abroad?
* Does your child have contact information and numbers for your insurance company?
* Do you know how to file a claim? Have you requested a claim form?
* Will translation be required for the claim?
* How long will it take to get reimbursed while abroad?
* Does your child have a way to pay for medical expenses if out-of-pocket payment is
* Does your child know if he/she has any "pre-existing" conditions?
* Are there reasons to maintain your child's current policy even if he/she needs to
purchase additional "Study Abroad" coverage?
* Has your child considered how to obtain or bring his/her regular prescriptions abroad?
Study Abroad Health Insurance Providers:
The KU OSA does not endorse any particular insurance company. This list is provided to assist your investigations.
American College Student Association (ACSA)
1-800-237-0903 (X 6234)
Associated Insurance Plans International (AIP)
Betins International Health Insurance and Travel Insurance
Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI)
CMI Insurance Specialists
HTH Worldwide Insurance Services
iNext Student Insurance
International Student Insurance
New York International Group
VISIT® International Health Insurance Program