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Putting the “International” in International Student Health Insurance

Published Bernice on Friday, June 29, 2018

International student health insurance is unique from other types of insurance plans. Compared to domestic students, the international student group is diverse and have their own needs in terms of policies, coverage, and support.

That’s why, when you’re choosing an international student insurance provider, it’s important to remember that nothing replaces real world experience. With so much complexity, you need to know that you can turn to someone who’s been there, done that and has the expertise, connections, and ability to achieve the best outcome possible in any scenario.

This article will demonstrate three reasons why you should rely on the international experience of your insurance provider.

Guiding Students Through Unfamiliar Health Care Systems

Consider some of the things that are simple if you’re familiar with the local health care system:

  • You know that if you have an emergency, like a heart attack or serious injury, you should go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital.
  • On the other hand, you’ll likely book an appointment at a local clinic if you just have a cold or minor injury.

Most of the time, you know where to go for the type of treatment that you need.

Now imagine you’re an international student arriving here for the first time. It’s not as easy. Each student will have different health care systems back home and will have different ideas of what to do when they need treatment.

Generally speaking, low health literacy, defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions”is a serious barrier to receiving effective care at the right time.

This is one of the most important reasons to turn to an experienced international insurance provider like guard.me. We understand the difficulties students face when arriving in a new country and will provide support to ensure students get the treatment they need.

Student support starts with orientation sessions before and after arriving, continues through to 24/7 online or telephone support while the student is here, and extends to general healthy living tips to help mitigate the likelihood of the student getting sick in the first place. A lack of familiarity should never prevent a student from getting the care they need. 

Dealing with Multiple Languages and Cultures

Your students are arriving from various countries around the world. Within this group you’ll have multiple languages, cultures, and backgrounds. In addition to being in a new, unfamiliar place for the first time, they must also deal with these challenges as well.

An experienced international insurance provider will understand these differences and manage them effectively. Policy information and support should be in multiple languages so that students, and their families, can fully understand their coverage and have someone to talk to if they need more information. The provider should also be sensitive to the various cultures and be able to respond to questions and claims appropriately.

Handling Logistics in Case of an Emergency

Your staff are not insurance experts, and they probably don’t know what to do in the case of a serious emergency with one of your students. In fact, they would likely be comforted knowing they can call someone to ensure everything is handled correctly. Working with international students means there are unique and complex scenarios that require careful and compassionate management. That’s where the value of experience becomes so clear.

Of course students need to be covered in case of a medical emergency. They also need to know that they can go home if it’s medically necessary, or that their parents can travel to visit them in the hospital. In the tragic event of a student death, arrangements need to be made to repatriate the body in a timely and professional manner. In cases like this there are significant logistical and cost concerns that may require the assistance of an experienced insurance company. A mistake in these moments can be a disaster for the student and their family, not to mention a PR nightmare that damages your reputation and brand beyond repair.

There’s No Substitute for Real Experience

International student health insurance is complex. There are a lot of moving pieces and many extra factors that need to be considered. At guard.me, we have over 20 years of experience working with schools to help them protect their international students. We understand the challenges and can help your school navigate them professionally, compassionately, and as positively as possible. When it comes to the health of your students, you want to know you can turn to someone who’s been through it all before.

Sean Segal is the Marketing Coordinator at guard.me



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