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Private schools in the United States typically have a health center (also known as an infirmary) on campus. These, however, aren’t necessarily staffed with doctors or specialists at all times. If a student requires medical attention off-campus or when they’re not at school, there are several options to consider. Here’s what you need to know about health care centers in the U.S. 

Remote Appointments (TeleMD)

ISM’s International Scholar Protection provides coverage through our partner, GeoBlue. GeoBlue offers remote telehealth visits through their GlobalMD smartphone app for a variety of health conditions. This service is best used for guidance about conditions such as allergies, cold and flu, insect bites, rashes, sinusitis, and minor ailments requiring prescriptions. Students can quickly schedule a remote appointment through the app. 

Providers are available 24 hours a day. Telehealth appointments offer students the treatment and guidance of a physician in the comfort of their own dorm room, and are free to use.

In-Office Doctor’s Visits 

Ear aches, colds, stomach aches, sore throats, fever, and routine physicals (anything non-emergency or preventive) are best scheduled in a doctor’s office. Their hours vary, and appointments are typically required and scheduled days or weeks in advance. A primary care physician will discuss your medical history and often have access to previous medical records. 

Retail or Convenient Care Clinics

When your child is dealing with a minor medical ailment, such as an infection or a sore throat, they can visit a nurse practitioner at a retail clinic. These clinics are often found in pharmacies, such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid. Appointments are not required and they are often available during evenings and weekends. Patients can lessen the wait times by signing up online or calling ahead. These clinics do not have physicians on staff, cannot treat medical emergencies, perform x-rays, or provide stitches. They can however, perform flu, strep, and covid tests, and prescribe antibiotics for infections. 

Urgent Care Centers

For non-life threatening but urgent conditions such as cuts that require stitches, or sprains and strains that require x-rays, a trip to the nearest urgent care center is best. These centers have nurses, physicians, and medical assistants on staff and can provide diagnostic testing and x-rays, but not surgical procedures. Urgent-care centers are less expensive than a trip to the emergency room (ER). 

Hospital Emergency Rooms 

Most hospitals have emergency rooms for life-threatening or disabling conditions, such as heart and respiratory problems, heavy bleeding that won’t stop, and sudden severe pain. Emergency rooms have a full medical staff, including specialists, and are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. 

Appointments are not required and patients are often treated according to the severity of their condition. If students are not entirely sure if a trip to the ER is necessary, they can connect with a medical provider through telehealth for a pre-screening.  

Before heading to the ER for an emergency, patients should be prepared with a list of current medications, and their own and family medical history. Families can prepare for the worst case scenario by helping students understand that emergency rooms can be crowded and intimidating, but it’s best to remain calm and patient until you are seen by a medical provider. If you’re not sure whether your situation is an emergency, dial 911 and let the operator determine if you need emergency help.

All of these medical centers will request proof of insurance (an insurance ID card) at the time of your visit. 

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
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Summer is just around the corner. This time of year, many parents start preparing their children for a season full of activities. If your family is traveling abroad for the summer or your international student will attend a summer camp in the United States, there are a few things you can do to ensure a safe, enjoyable adventure. 

Here’s what to keep in mind when making your summer plans.

Assess the Options

There are many summer camps for international students. Explore full summer camps as well as themed camps where you can enroll your child for a shorter period, perhaps a week or two. Get a good understanding of what they want to do and the planning needed to make it happen—especially if the student is traveling alone.

When comparing your options, pay attention to the paperwork. Review the camp schedules, programming, deadlines, and any other requirements—including medical exams. It’s hard to get appointments with doctors currently, so be sure to book yours now.

International students will likely have even more paperwork and requirements, so go through those documents to ensure they are completed on time—and you’ve gotten any medical or visa appointments out of the way ahead of time. Purchase accident insurance or look into monthly coverage options.

Know the Policies

Whether you’re sending your child to the local recreation center for swim lessons or they’re on their way for a week at sleepaway camp, be sure you know the rules and policies of the host organization. This is especially true since many changed during, or because of, the pandemic. It’s even more necessary if your child is leaving your home country to attend camp in the U.S.

Explore Travel

Some parents travel with their child to ensure they safely arrive at a summer camp. Make sure you are aware of all the U.S. travel and camp or program requirements if you choose to do this. For example, if you escort your child and plan to stay overnight to ensure your child is settled, make sure you know where you’re staying (at a hotel), how you will get there, or if there are quarantine requirements.

Gather Supplies

Once you have finalized your itinerary, prioritize what you need. You can grab sunblock before a summer trip to see family, but you’ll need more time to get the right bathing suit or goggles. And when you travel to a foreign country, be sure you have compatible electronic adaptors; your children may need special electronics that are compatible in the U.S. to stay in touch or use translation tools—staying connected is integral for a child far from home. 

If you’re unsure, ask the camp to provide a list of things your student may need. If your child is attending a day camp, this means having a bag ready to go each day with all the essentials, such as sunblock, sunglasses, and a bagged lunch. Don’t forget to notify the necessary camp staff if your child has medication.

Plan for the Unexpected

It can be challenging for international students traveling to the U.S. for a summer camp to navigate getting to the right place. There may be breaks between camp weeks when you’ll need to ensure your child has adequate care. Talk to the camp or activity staff to ensure they meet all needs (getting to and from the airport, and having a place to stay if the activity is canceled for the day) ahead of time.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if your child is going to a summer program designed exclusively for international students. The camp staff has experience coordinating travel and accommodations for children traveling abroad, and can be a great resource for you.

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
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As your child prepares for summer adventures abroad, it’s a great idea (and may be a requirement) to have student accident insurance.

About 175,000 K–12 students who have been injured while attending studies abroad needed hospital care. And 47% of those injuries occurred when the student was engaged in sports.

This means student accident insurance can be a valuable asset, especially if your child is preparing for a summertime adventure far from home. 

We’re here to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding student accident insurance.

  • What is student accident insurance? 
  • How does it work? 
  • How much will it cost?

How does accident insurance work?

The independent school or summer camp where you send your child might require health insurance, which is also known as medical insurance. Many schools will offer an additional option: to purchase accident insurance. This provides coverage for accidents that happen on school grounds and school-related trips—including any travel. 

Student accident insurance gives parents an extra layer of protection and often includes additional benefits in the event of long-term injury or death. It can be customized for independent schools and camps, and parents often can choose from different policies with various coverage specifications and upfront payment amounts.

No parent ever wants to use this type of policy, but having it provides comfort that your child and family would be cared for in the event of an accident. In that case, the insurance would pay you the correct amount directly.

Will my child’s international student summer camp require accident insurance?

International students can purchase an accident insurance policy solely to protect them during summer camp. The coverage lasts for the program’s duration. The camp may require it, but not all do. Most camps will require parents to sign liability waivers in the event of an accident. A liability waiver protects the camp from legal action if the camp ensures the camper will receive medical care if needed, but could not face legal action.

How does accident insurance differ from health insurance?

While health insurance would cover medical expenses should an accident occur, accident insurance, specifically, provides an added benefit in the case of accidental death or disability. Accident insurance would pay you, or a beneficiary, directly.

Can I set a specific timeline for coverage?

This depends on the policy, but typically, you can select how long you’d like coverage to last or agree to the insurer’s specific timelines for coverage. Because accident insurance can be customized for international students attending an independent school or summer camp program, it may only cover times when your child is on campus so you may not have to pay for times when they are not. 

How much does accident insurance cost?

This depends on the amount of coverage and the policy’s duration. 

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
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Whether your child is going to be spending summer abroad or you’re gearing up for them to head back to school in the fall, scheduling medical appointments now is a smart idea.

Prepare for your appointment by reviewing your questions and organizing forms and paperwork that will be required for your child’s camp or school attendance.

Here are a few things to remember about preventive visits for international students before summer camp or the academic school year.

  • Don’t forget the paperwork. Your child’s school may require the doctor to sign paperwork for a physical or vaccination. Be sure to bring these forms with you so this can be taken care of during your child’s visit. 
  • Ask about overseas requirements. Let the physician know that your child will be going overseas so they can let you know if your child needs to meet any vaccination or medical-related visa requirements. The doctor can also answer questions about getting medical care, if needed, in the U.S.
  • Bring medications. If your child is on any medications, bring them with you so you can see if they need any refills. Again, let the doctor know the child will be overseas so he or she can inform you about how the child can obtain refills in America.
  • Check the records. Ask the doctor if they recommend that your child have an electronic or paper copy of medical records. You can also check any paperwork from the school to see if they require any past records. It’s best to do this before the child leaves in the event that the school or hospital overseas needs them.
  • Go over your history with your child. Inform your child about their medical history as well as yours and your parents. If they need to see a doctor overseas, the physician may ask questions about famiy medical history—so it’s good for your child to have an idea of any issues that run in the family.
  • Ask about routine lab tests. Knowing how long your child will be away from home, it’s a good idea to ask the doctor if your child should have any blood or urine tests done as part of this routine physical exam.
  • Don’t forget vision and hearing. Sometimes you may be so focused on the general practitioner visit that you forget your child may need a vision or hearing checkup. If you’ll be visiting these specialists, let them know about your child’s travel plans. Also, if your child wears contact lenses, ask the physician if you can order extras ahead, or how your child will be able to get them in the U.S., if needed.
  • Ask about medical care overseas. Ask your doctor for advice about medical care overseas. Will your doctor’s office be available for consultations if your child is seen for an accident or illness? Can you coordinate the required connections between the school or camp and your doctor’s office before your child leaves home? 
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the school questions. Parents want to be sure their children are safe and sound—especially when it comes to their health—when they are overseas. The nurse at the school has likely dealt with issues common to international students, and can probably answer your questions. Be sure to cement a relationship with this camp or school staff member. 

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
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If your child is planning to study abroad in the United States, they will probably need a health insurance plan. When looking at insurance documents, you may find some terms confusing. This can make the process of purchasing health insurance overwhelming.

That’s why it helps to have this glossary of health insurance terms. Once you understand what these words mean, you will have more insight into picking a plan that will work best for your child and fits in your budget. Contact our insurance team for further explanation at

Understanding U.S. Health Insurance Terms

When shopping for your child’s health insurance, you’ll find many options. 

These five words can help you understand how plans are structured, so you can choose one that’s right for your family.

  • Premium: This is the set amount you will have to pay the insurance company to enroll in the health insurance plan and receive benefits. It is usually stated as a monthly cost. 
  • Copayment: Also known as a “copay,” this is how much you will pay each time your child receives medical services whether in person or via telemedicine. These usually apply to doctors’ office visits, but can also apply to emergency room visits and prescription medications.
  • Deductible: This is a specific amount of money you must pay before the insurance company will start to pay for your child’s medical expenses. You may find that plans cover the full amount for certain services, such as a yearly checkup, without having to reach the deductible.
  • Coinsurance: You’ll see this term when looking at various health insurance plans. It refers to the portion of the expense you have to pay after your deductible is met. It’s shown as a percentage. For example, consider a policy with 20% coinsurance after a $1,000 deductible. After you pay the first $1,000, you will then be liable for 20% of all future costs; the insurer will cover 80%.
  • Network: Most plans have in-network and out-of-network benefits. This means that the doctors are either in the insurance company’s network, or they aren’t. The plan will cover all, or more, of the expenses for doctors who are in the network and less or nothing if your child sees a doctor out of the network. To save money, only see in-network providers. But if your child visits a doctor out of the plan’s network, you may not have to pay for the entire visit out of pocket. The insurance company will provide a list of which providers are in or out of the network. 

You may come up with other questions as you try to choose an insurance plan for your child. The school or the insurer can help you find answers.

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
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International students usually need health insurance when attending an independent school in the U.S. That’s why it’s so important for families to understand U.S. healthcare plans. America does not provide universal medical coverage, which means there are plenty of options to choose from.

Some schools may require a student to use a specific insurance provider or a plan that meets their specifications. Other schools let international families pick any plan they want, but it must meet requirements.

Before you purchase healthcare insurance, talk to the school. Find out if they have preferred providers, or if they require you to choose a plan they have approved. Or see if they have certain requirements if you’re allowed to choose your own plan.

What to Know About American Health Insurance

Here are a few things to know about U.S. healthcare plans.

Plans have terms such as deductible, copayment, premium, and coinsurance. It’s vital to understand the differences, in order to determine the plan that is best for your child.

  • Deductible: The set amount you have to pay before the insurance company starts to pay for medical expenses.
  • Copayment: A fixed amount you will pay each time your child receives certain medical services. These commonly apply to doctor visits, emergency room visits, and prescription medications. 
  • Coinsurance: This is the amount you will have to pay after meeting your deductible. It’s typically shown as a percentage when you’re comparing plans. For instance, a 20% coinsurance means that you’ll pay for 20% of the expense; the insurance company pays the rest.
  • Premium: What it costs to enroll in the plan.

Health insurance plans that have higher premiums tend to have lower deductibles, and vice versa. You’ll want to find a balance between them, and factor in other issues like how often your child may need to go to the doctor, if the child takes any medications regularly, and the risk for injury if your child participates in sports.

Your child’s plan will include in-network and out-of-network providers. The plans usually cover most or all costs if you use doctors in the network. Plans typically offer some coverage if your child goes out of network. The best way to save money is to use doctors in the network.

In some situations, your child’s school may send them to an urgent care facility. These are for urgent needs that aren’t life-threatening. They usually cost less than visiting a hospital emergency room. 

Be aware of limitations and exclusions, too. These often are not included in marketing material, so stay on the lookout for common limitations and exclusions, such as not covering sports-related injuries or pre-existing conditions.

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
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Of all the preparations that families make when sending a child abroad for studies, securing health insurance is at the top of the list. 

If your child is accepted into a U.S. private school, there may be policies requiring health insurance. Most schools require international student health coverage. Some recommend or only offer one insurance carrier; others leave policy selection to the families. It’s important to know your options, to ensure your child is protected from the unexpected.

Health Insurance in the U.S.

Next, it helps to know a bit about the American healthcare system. The U.S. has public and private healthcare options. Not all Americans have health insurance. People from most states can purchase it through the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace®. Otherwise, many Americans get their health insurance through their employer or through government programs based on income levels.

Policies differ based on a variety of factors, and that will affect the cost. Just know that not all doctors are typically covered under a single plan. Instead, the policy will give you a list of in-network providers. Using doctors in the plan’s network can save you money. 

You may be able to get some coverage if you see someone out of the network, but you generally pay more to see those doctors. Be mindful of the deductible, as some plans with high deductibles mean that your child will only be able to get coverage (or some coverage) for some services after spending a certain amount of money.

For international students, the best way to understand your options is to work with your school’s healthcare office. Otherwise, you may want to reach out to counselors who specialize in working with international students. 

How to Select a Healthcare Plan for Your International Student

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Some schools won’t give you a choice in picking a plan; you may have to buy the policy that the school mandates. (Schools that authorize specific healthcare options will make you aware of the policy details—both benefits and limitations.)
  • Make sure the policy aligns with visa requirements.
  • Explore telemedicine options. See if your child will be able to connect online with a doctor for treatment of minor conditions.
  • Talk to the school nurse. They will provide details on where your child may be treated in the event of an emergency—useful so you can choose in-network providers.
  • Pay attention to the duration of the policy, so you’re not paying to insure your child if they are not on campus for the summer.
  • Be able to access the policy details and network of doctors online; that way, you can find in-network providers, pay bills, and have access to other information—along with contacts at the insurance company who can assist you.
  • Ask the school if they require dental insurance, a prescription plan, or accident insurance.

There’s a lot to take in when it comes to finding and choosing health insurance for your international student. But there are many resources to help you find the plan that’s best for your child.

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are a priority. Let ISM’s international student accident and sickness plans give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to the highest quality care, no matter where they are in the U.S.

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Students traveling to the United States for summer programs have exciting times to look forward to. It is important to stay healthy as they explore, learn, and grow.

Of course, you want your child to remain healthy while they are away this summer. Here are seven ways to keep them well.

  • Protect their skin. Sunburn is damaging yet can be prevented. They will likely be involved in many outdoor activities. While you can’t be there to remind them to use sunscreen and reapply it, making it available may help them get into the healthy habit. Ensure your child has plenty of money if they need to purchase sunscreen. It is recommended for children to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Hats and protective clothing can also help, so be sure to pack them.
  • Encourage good nutrition. Students who are on their own for summer camp may choose less healthy food options. Though the camp likely prepares a wide range of food, urge your child to eat well (at least most of the time) and to stay hydrated so they are properly fueled to handle physical activity and the stress of being somewhere new.
  • Stay connected. Whether you prefer to connect via text, phone, email, or video, make sure your child has the tools to do so—as well as chargers so they can keep their devices charged. Even if your child isn’t into mailing letters, you may want to send them a note. These small connections can help your child’s mental health, especially as they are far from home, trying new things, and meeting new people. Your child may not seem like they want to reach out, but knowing you are there when they need you can provide an added layer of support as they immerse themselves in their summer experience. And staying in touch will give you peace of mind, too.
  • Know what the camp provides. You can save space in your child’s suitcase—and your budget—if you know what supplies the camp may provide, such as towels, sunscreen, water bottles, and other must-haves. Depending on the type of camp your child is attending, see what is included in the price. 
  • Make friends with the camp nurse. Summer camps usually have a nurse on site to tend to injuries and other ailments. See what they offer and do some research about nearby doctors and hospitals in the event your child needs either routine or emergency care. If your child is on any medications, be sure to send a sufficient amount and talk to the camp nurse. Having open lines of communication can give you peace of mind and ensure your child knows where to go if they need help. 
  • Be preventative. Make sure any applicable medical visits are scheduled before your child leaves home. For instance, if they need a prescription refill or if they need a physical, do it before they leave. You want to avoid a routine medical care visit when your child is in a different country. 
  • Know the COVID-19 policies. Ask the camp about their policies in the event of an outbreak. It’s a good idea to be aware ahead of time if your child may need to pack a mask or know what the camp’s treatment protocol would be if your child is sick.

With sufficient planning, your child will be ready to enjoy a memorable summer camp experience as an international student. 

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
Contact for more information.