If you are planning on sending your child overseas for education, you undoubtedly already know there are a number of things to consider. One such thing to consider is your child will need health insurance. Here, we take a look at the common solutions available to parents whose children will be traveling abroad.
Common insurance solutions for students studying abroad
When going abroad for work or study there are usually a number of health insurance solutions available for people to consider. Here is an overview of the 3 most common types of health insurance secured by students studying abroad.
These plans are designed to provide emergency medical cover to people while they are outside of their own country. Generally speaking, most travel insurance plans are a set period in length, usually providing cover for either individual trips of up to a set number of days or numerous trips of a set length (usually less than 30-60 days) over one year.
Travel insurance plans are popular for students studying abroad not only because they offer medical coverage but they also cover other travel related incidents such as flight delays, lost luggage, and even emergency medical evacuation back to your home country.
The one thing to be aware of with these plans is that they are not designed to provide elective medical care while overseas, rather they are designed for medical emergencies and provide just enough coverage to see you well enough to return to your home country. If you plan on going to the doctor while studying abroad, the visit likely will not be covered by this plan.
Health insurance from a local provider
Almost every country popular with students will offer some form of local insurance. These plans are designed to provide citizens and residents of these countries with adequate health insurance coverage in that country only.
Generally speaking, there are two types of local insurance available in most countries:
- Local plan offered by a private insurer – These are plans designed and sold for and to local markets by insurers who have licenses to operate within that country.
- Coverage provided by the government – These are plans or coverage offered by the local government.
As mentioned above, local health insurance plans are designed to provide adequate coverage for most residents. In most cases, people with these plans will be visiting the public health sector which in many countries is subsidized by the government. As such, you will usually find that these plans have relatively low levels of coverage, or have limits placed on the amount you can claim for care.
It should also be noted here that while many countries have health care or health insurance sponsored by the government, there are usually strict requirements as to who is eligible for this type of care. A good example of this would be Singapore with their Medisave program. Permanent residents and citizens of Singapore pay a percentage of their monthly income into a savings account that can then be used to cover the cost of healthcare for themselves and their family.
This savings account is not available for foreigners, which means their children would also not be able to benefit from the offsetting. If they were to get sick, they would need to pay the full cost to see a doctor.
Another example of this would be in Canada where all citizens and many residents have access to provincial health care, and students are required to have health insurance. The issue is, in some provinces, foreigners are not eligible for provincial insurance. This means that you will need to secure a plan from a private insurer.
Health insurance from an international provider
The other common option for students going abroad is an international health insurance plan. These plans, offered by the global or international branches of major insurers, provide worldwide coverage. In other words, your child will be covered in your home country, the country they study in, and any country they may visit while overseas.
International health insurance plans are also designed to offer high coverage limits which means you can visit nearly any medical center and receive quality health care. These plans are popular with many expat families and companies who send their employees overseas as they afford the policyholder the ability to visit top quality healthcare.
The main concern many people have with these plans is that they are considerably more expensive than local or travel coverage.
Does my child actually need insurance while studying abroad?
This can actually be a fairly tough question to find a concrete answer to. Some schools and countries will require a valid insurance plan to be secured in order for a visa to be issued while others will simply recommend it.
For example, if your child is going to the going to school in the US, it is mandatory for some student visa holders to secure health insurance coverage that meets ACA (Affordable Care Act) requirements within the US.
One of the best pieces of advice we can offer is that it would be a good idea to contact the university or school your child will be attending. The reason for this is that some schools will actually offer coverage as part of the school fees. This is particularly common for schools in the UK, Canada, Australia, and even some in the US. These plans are usually local cover only and are affordable, however they may not be available to some students or will often have fairly strict limits and rules attached to how the plan can be used.
And of course, in many cases, it would be advised to secure a health insurance plan for your child in case they get sick and need to visit a doctor.
Which health insurance plans should I purchase for my child?
In Pacific Prime China’s experience, it would be advisable to secure both a travel insurance and an international health insurance plan. The reasoning behind this is that the travel insurance plan will cover your child while they are traveling between your home country and the country their school is located in. There is always a chance that their luggage could be lost, or there will be delays while traveling (especially during the winter in the northern hemisphere) and having coverage to help offset the additional costs these bring can be a big help.
When it comes to actually living in their new country, an international health insurance plan will help cover the costs of any care needed. This is especially important in countries like Hong Kong, Canada, the UK, and the US, where the cost of health care can be prohibitively expensive if you don’t have access to the government/public health subsidies. These plans will also cover your child when they are at home and can have additional coverage elements like dental, and vision added thereby allowing your child to visit a dentist while they are at home on break.
One of the major advantages an international health insurance plan offers for children studying overseas is the fact that they will usually have emergency evacuation coverage. This means that if your child gets sick while at school you may be able to get them moved back to their home country, or a location where relatives are who can help them recover.
If you are looking for a health insurance solution that will cover your child while they are overseas, contact Pacific Prime China today. Our experts will be happy to discuss your options and help you find a plan that meets your whole family’s needs.