All Pitt study abroad students are required to have health coverage while abroad and must provide proof of coverage at the time of contract completion. Written proof of the following three areas of coverage is required of all students:
- comprehensive medical expense coverage
- emergency medical evacuation
- repatriation of remains
All Panther programs and most Pitt-recognized programs include health insurance; refer to your program description and fees to see if health insurance is included. If not, you have three alternatives:
1) purchase international health insurance through a provider such as HTH, STA ISIC Explorer Card, or CISI - see links below.
2) secure overseas coverage through your existing insurance provider
3) purchase insurance from another provider
In addition, you may also want to purchase the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). Some study abroad programs provide this for you, but you can always purchase it yourself through various sites online, including http://www.myisic.com/orders/travel. The ISIC will NOT provide enough insurance to cover what Pitt requires, but it will cover both emergency evacuation and repatriation. Also, you can use the ISIC in many places in the world to get discounts for train tickets, museum admission, hostel stays, etc.
Using Your Health Insurance While Abroad
It is essential for you to be familiar with the international insurance coverage that you have and the procedures you will be required to follow while you are out of the US. Begin by answering the questions listed below. If you cannot answer them, contact your insurance company directly. (Students on Panther programs can ask their program manager.) By learning more about your insurance now, you will be better prepared to get routine or emergency care when out of the U.S.
1. Students who use their regular, U.S.-based carrier (i.e. Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark, UPMC) are most often required to pay for medical services up front and file a claim for reimbursement. (HTH insurance does not make you pay up front as long as you are using an approved facility.) As such, you will need to know the following answers:
a. How do you file a claim from abroad?
b. What paperwork are you expected to submit to the insurance company?
c. Can you get a supply of claim forms to take with you?
d. Will a notarized translation be required if supporting documents are not in English?
e. How long will it take for the claim to be processed and for you to receive reimbursement?
f. Will the insurance company send the reimbursement to your U.S. or to your foreign address?
2. What category or option (e.g. out of “network”) of your insurance plan will you utilize when you seek health services abroad and what costs (e.g. co-insurance) are you expected to bear under this option?
3. What is the basic medical deductible amount and what is included in it?
4. If you need to get a prescription overseas, will your insurance company reimburse you for all or part of the cost of the drug? What documents will you need to submit to the insurance company in order to obtain such a reimbursement?
5. Do you anticipate needing routine, non-emergency health services while abroad? Are those services covered by your medical plan?
6. To what extent does your insurance cover hospitalization?
7. Does your insurance cover medical evacuation and repatriation of remains?
8. If immunizations are required prior to your departure, will your insurance company cover them?
9. Does your insurance include dental coverage or do you have separate dental coverage?
10. Does your insurance include eye care?
11. Is a copy of your insurance policy available in the language of your host country?
12. Are sports injuries excluded from coverage under you insurance policy?
13. Make sure you have your prescription or extra pairs of eyeglasses/contacts.
14. Most importantly- how would you pay up front for any care you would need?