Is your international student medical insurance strategy working?

Learn how ISP can partner with your institution to implement an affordable and successful international medical insurance program.

As an international educator, your students’ health and safety is a top priority. They are far from home in an unfamiliar place. If they need medical care, they must navigate a healthcare system that works much differently and is likely much more expensive than what they are used to back home. What strategy does your institution have in place so your international students can obtain and afford appropriate medical care?

As colleges and Universities throughout the U.S. strive to increase their international enrollment, tuition and other costs to attend – including medical insurance premiums – are key factors that must be considered in order for schools be remain competitive. Institutions must make tough decisions while balancing bottom line costs of attendance with the students’ welfare.

There are a variety of methods colleges and universities utilize to provide their international population with medical insurance, which might include:

  1. Mandatory Coverage – the institution contracts with an insurance provider to cover ALL international students, who are required to pay for coverage either on their own or as part of their tuition bill.
  2. Hard-Waiver Plan – the institution contracts with an insurance provider to cover all international students, with the exception of those who demonstrate alternate coverage to be equal or better than the school plan.
  3. Voluntary Coverage – the student is required to provide their school with proof of insurance coverage which may or may not be required to meet certain requirements or criteria.
  4. No Insurance Requirement – the school may provide some options to the student to purchase if they wish, but does not monitor if they purchase or what they purchase.

In addition to keeping costs to the student as low as possible, some institutions simply do not have the staff or resources to efficiently manage an international health insurance program. Despite some of these barriers, access to adequate medical insurance is critically important to both the student and the school. The alternative - inadequate medical insurance or none at all - can lead to further health complications, financial hardship, and the student’s inability to continue their pursuit of a degree from your institution. The school may get stuck with the bill if required to step in to cover the costs incurred by an uninsured or underinsured student and further, the school may be opening itself up to risk management issues by allowing the student to purchase inadequate coverage.

Which of these strategies apply to your college or University? Are they working for you and your students?

Regardless of the size of your institution or method you use to insure your international students, ISP can help you review your strategy. Drop us an email at or give us a call at 877-738-5787. Let us help you face your challenges and meet your goals for your international students’ health in 2017.