Why Do We Need Overseas Student Insurance for Our International Students? Doesn’t Their Domestic Plan Do Just Fine?
One of the most common questions you’ll hear from international students is why they need to purchase additional health insurance when they arrive at your school. Many students will already have their own domestic insurance, either private or public, and will believe they are covered when traveling overseas.
As the school, it’s your job to make sure they understand the differences between their domestic insurance coverage and overseas student insurance. In most cases, their plans will be extremely limited, if applicable at all, while they are away from home. That’s why providing them with overseas student insurance is so important. The last thing a student needs is to find out they aren’t covered when they thought they were.
Domestic Insurance Plans Will Vary in Coverage
Your international students are arriving from various countries, each with their own health care and insurance system. The level of coverage they have will vary, and these differences will become even more apparent while they are studying overseas. It’s unlikely that their existing insurance will be enough.
In general, most domestic health insurance plans only cover serious emergencies where treatment is medically necessary to avoid death or long-term harm. There’s a catch though, and it’s a big one. Coverage levels are often based on the cost of the treatment in the home country. Since these costs are different everywhere in the world, the student could be left paying a significant portion of the cost out of pocket. This doesn’t even take into account the varying deductibles or other costs that differ when overseas. Not only does this leave them with unexpected bills, it may prevent them from seeking treatment in the first place.
Evacuation and Other Expenses Are Often Not Covered
Nobody ever expects to get sick, and certainly not sick enough that they need to be medically evacuated to their home country. But the fact is, there’s always a chance that it could happen to one of your students. Medical evacuation is extremely expensive, and in many cases a domestic insurance plan may not cover the cost.
Similarly, in the tragic event of a student death, the body needs to be transported back to the family in the home country. This is another expense that is typically not covered by domestic insurance. Rather than burden the family with the cost on top of everything else they are going through, you can ensure your students are covered in the event of these unexpected but serious situations.
Domestic Providers Are Often Not Equipped to Deal Internationally
Domestic insurance providers are experts in their home country. When it comes to dealing internationally, they may fall short. It’s not a fault, it’s just the nature of their business. They likely can’t deal in multiple languages, may not have the tools in place to handle foreign currency, and may lack an understanding of foreign health care systems or regulations.
This is where an experienced international student insurance provider really shines. They understand the needs of international students in their new country, have multilingual staff and documentation, and can handle local regulatory requirements or other procedures in case of an incident. They also already have relationships with local medical offices so that students can bill the insurance provider directly rather than pay out of pocket. International insurance is an industry in itself; expecting domestic insurance providers to understand all the differences is unrealistic.
Don’t Leave Your Students Unprotected
While it’s true that most of your students will have existing health insurance at home, it’s not enough for when they arrive at your school. Not only are policies usually limited and insufficient, but there are also unique elements that come with working internationally that must be understood. As the school, you can ensure your students are protected in case of a medical emergency by partnering with an experienced and knowledgeable provider who offers an overseas student insurance plan that’s right for your needs.
And now, when your students ask why they can’t use their domestic insurance, you’ll have the answer.
Clark Hortsing is Vice President Marketing & Sales at guard.me