All students participating in an education abroad program are required to provide proof of major medical insurance to cover eventualities while abroad. In preparation for travel, you should contact your insurance provider to determine what coverage's and limitations the policy offers while studying abroad. Only you and your family can determine what level of coverage is adequate and satisfactory for your time abroad, however, minimum requirements are that the policy provide for reimbursement of medical costs from major medical incidents such as a serious accident or illness for the duration of your intended time abroad.
Frequently Asked Questions on Medical Insurance for Study Abroad
You must contact your current insurance provider to determine what services and coverage limitations the policy offers while studying abroad and decide if these meet your personal needs, and how medical expenses you incur will be compensated (direct payment to provider or reimbursement to you). It is recommended that you obtain a copy of the provider’s claim form as well as a copy of your insurance card if you do not already have one.
Questions to consider while reviewing your current health insurance policy:
Is the policy adequate?
- Does the plan include major medical coverage for accidents and illnesses 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 deductibles, if any?
- Does the plan provide medical referral services for the country you will be visiting?
- Are dental, mental health or vision services covered? If not, how will you handle these emergencies?
- 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 you 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 do you use the plan if you have a medical emergency or need to visit a doctor while abroad?
- Do you 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 for expenses incurred while abroad?
- Do you have a way to pay for medical expenses if out-of-pocket payment is needed?
If your current policy will not provide reimbursement for major medical expenses incurred while you are overseas, you MUST check into other options. See the list of providers at the bottom of the page.
Purchase a major medical policy of your choice, being sure that the policy will cover your study abroad program and that the period of coverage includes the duration of time you will be abroad.
Consider policies designed specifically 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.
Note that most insurance policies will have exclusions, especially around high-risk activities such as scuba diving, rock climbing and contact sports. If you choose to participate in these activities abroad, you might want to buy an insurance policy specifically for that activity.
You may opt 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 you are currently being treated for a condition for which you may need continuing treatment after your program ends, it is recommended that you do not let your current insurance lapse. Your current insurance carrier may consider the original condition "pre-existing" if you have a break in coverage.
- If you must withdraw from the study abroad program for any reason, your study abroad health insurance coverage might cease. Some study abroad policies require that you are actively participating in a study abroad program for continued coverage.
- Conditions that develop while you are abroad would be considered pre-existing if you had a break in coverage with your current insurer.
- Review the exclusions of your new study abroad policy. Many insurance policies, including those offered for study abroad, may have limitations for various items such as eyeglasses/contacts, dental, and routine medical exams.
In most cases study abroad students will need to pay at the time of treatment and submit a claim for reimbursement. You will need a method to pay (cash or credit card are generally accepted). It is recommended that you obtain a blank claim form(s) from your insurance company when you verify your coverage abroad or purchase a new policy.
If you have a condition that requires continuous care or monitoring by a physician, discuss your situation with your U.S. physician(s) and with your insurance provider. This will help you anticipate your medical needs, construct a plan for medical care while abroad, and better understand your insurance inclusions and associated expenses for services rendered internationally.
AIG Travel GuardGlobal Assistance Services is NOT health insurance. It provides services that are not covered under most health insurance policies.
N0. KU Study Abroad participants are covered under a group policy. To ensure rapid response in an emergency, it is critical that all study abroad participants (faculty, staff and students) are on the group policy, whether or not it duplicates personal coverage.
Insurance Providers for Study Abroad Programs
Study Abroad & Global Engagement does not endorse any particular insurance company. This list is provided to assist your investigations.
AIG Travel Guard Global Assistance Services
All students participating in KU study abroad programs have emergency support abroad through AIG Global Assistance Services (Travel Guard) and LifeWorks My SSP (Student Support Portal). AIG provides medical consultation and monitoring; medical, natural disaster, and security evacuation; and an array of other services. My SSP provides emotional, psychological, and behavioral support by phone or chat to students experiencing unexpected challenges during their time abroad.
A membership card and a brochure describing in detail the services of AIG and My SSP is included in your JayhawksAbroad application portal. Contact your Study Abroad Coordinator if you have any questions.
Commonly Asked Questions Regarding AIG Global Assistance Services
AIG Global Assistance Services provides assistance to overseas travelers in the way of consultation about and coordination of local medical services. Services include medical consultation and referrals, medical monitoring in conjunction with local doctors and hospitals, and medical evacuation (transportation to the nearest medical facility in which adequate care can be provided). AIG also provides evacuation assistance due to natural disaster and for security reasons (restrictions apply).
In addition, AIG provides a number of personal services including assistance with lost or stolen baggage and documents, prescription assistance, legal and interpreter referrals, and emergency telephone interpretation assistance.
KU Study Abroad includes AIG Global Assistance Services in the program fee to provide students and their families with international assistance in the case of a medical emergency and to protect them from the costs associated with emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. While the need for evacuation and repatriation services is rare, the costs are often very high and not typically covered by health insurance policies.
No. AIG is not health insurance and does not provide for any of the costs of medical care. All students studying abroad on KU programs must provide their own major medical health insurance.
No. AIG does not pay for any medical expenses and services do not replace medical insurance for emergencies away from home. Each student’s individual health insurance plan is responsible for all incurred medical expenses.
Yes. AIG reserves the right to suspend, curtail, or limit any or all of the services at any time in the event of war, riot, insurrection, etc. AIG will provide services to the best of its ability during such occurrences.
Students can access specific country information online by registering on the AIG website using instructions provided on the AIG identification card. In the case of an emergency, students must call (collect) the worldwide access phone number provided on the AIG identification card or in the mobile app. The policy number listed on the identification card is required for online access and when calling to request services.
A student becomes suddenly ill with appendicitis in a small town in Italy. Surgery is necessary. AIG determines that the local medical facilities are not adequate for the surgery. AIG arranges for transporting the patient to the nearest adequate facility – in this case, Rome – in order for the student to receive appropriate care.
My SSP is a student assistance program providing emotional, psychological and behavioral support to KU students experiencing challenges abroad via 24/7 via the app, telephone and web.
My SSP employs master’s level or higher mental health professionals to provide telephone or chat counseling sessions to assist students with concerns such as adapting to a new environment, culture, learning style or city; tensions with family members, friends, or instructors; feelings of isolation, loneliness sadness, stress and worry; and much more. My SSP can support students in managing immediate unforeseen crises, work with a student to develop a plan for long-term care and provide access to comprehensive online resources.
Host Country Mandated Insurance
Some countries or partner institutions abroad mandate that international students carry a specific health insurance coverage in order to secure a student visa, enter the country, or study at the host institution. Your study abroad program coordinator will know if your program requires a special insurance policy and can provide information on where to purchase compliant policies. In most cases, an estimate for mandated insurance coverage is already included in your program’s budget.
KU Study Abroad strongly recommends that all students consider purchasing trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance. This type of insurance can be financially helpful in the event of unexpected personal or global events that could impact your participation in a study abroad program. While KU does not require students to purchase this insurance, all study abroad participants are advised to consider purchasing it, as trip interruption/trip cancellation coverage is not included in the AIG Global Assistance Services coverage provided by KU. Please read policies carefully before purchasing any insurance plan to ensure you understand what is and is not covered. While KU does not endorse any particular company, a few examples of online vendors where trip cancellation policies can be purchased are included below.