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International students face culture shock, language barriers, difficulty understanding their teachers, and myriad other challenges—including maintaining good mental health—as they leave all they know and everyone they love behind. A lack of access to their normal support system can trigger distress while living in a country far from home. 

When students feel overwhelmed and stressed, they need someone they can turn to for guidance and counsel. For international students new to the U.S., cultural differences and simply being unaware of available support make approaching mental well-being concerns more difficult. 

Telehealth Helps Students Receive Mental Health Support

Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. While it isn’t a complete replacement for in-person mental health care, it offers an advantage for both students and schools.

The Journal of Medical Internet Research recently conducted a study to determine if telehealth platforms could successfully reduce suicidal ideation among enrolled patients, compared to a control group of individuals that did not receive similar care. The results revealed that patients in the telehealth group were 4.3 times less likely to have suicidal thoughts.

Telehealth Provides Connection Anytime, Anywhere

If a student has a mental health crisis at any time—in and outside of the regular school day— access to telehealth enables them to interact with a mental health professional through an app, video call, or phone call in their time of need. If a student feels uncomfortable seeking help from their school counselor, or if that counselor is unavailable at the moment they need help, the student can chat or text a provider through a telehealth platform.

The ability to connect with a professional on their terms and through technology they’re familiar with can also reduce the social stigma teens may feel regarding mental health support. They can receive care without worrying about being seen by someone else at their school counselor’s office or traveling to a therapist with their host family.

GeoBlue’s Global Wellness Assist Program

ISM’s International Scholar Protection is provided by our partner, GeoBlue. Included with all student plans is their Global Wellness Assist—a telehealth program for students who are studying internationally. This program provides access to free, confidential assistance any time, anywhere. 

Professionals are ready to assist with any issue. Topics include, but are not limited to: 

  • harmony between academic and personal life; 
  • managing life changes; 
  • bullying and harassment; 
  • managing anxiety and depression;
  • substance use;
  • surviving the loss of a loved one; and
  • handling stress.

Global Wellness Assist is staffed by licensed therapists, including native speakers of 70 languages, meaning your student can talk to a provider in the language their most comfortable with. The program’s staff members are bound by professional standards regarding confidentiality and do not disclose details of individuals who have contacted the service. Any information your student provides will not be shared with the plan sponsor. Once matched, your student can meet with the same therapist for each following appointment. 

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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Medical insurance claims can be complicated and confusing. Unfortunately, many people find their claims are denied for a variety of reasons. If a claim you submit for your child’s medical care is denied, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. Don’t worry; we are here to help. In this blog post, we will discuss why these denials occur and how to manage them.

Common Reasons Why Claims Are Denied 

There are several common reasons why medical insurance claims are denied. Most often it is because the claim has been filed incorrectly or the paperwork was incomplete. If any information is missing or incorrect on the documentation you submit with your claim, it could be denied automatically. This includes details like the patient’s name, ID number, or date of service. It’s also important to make sure any supporting documents such as receipts or X-ray reports are included with the claim form when submitting it to the insurer. Carefully review all forms and documents before submitting them to avoid this issue. 

Another common cause of denial is that the treatment requested is not covered by the plan. Before undergoing any treatment, it is important to understand what your plan covers and what it does not cover so you can make an informed decision about how best to proceed with treatment. Your doctor’s office should be able to help with this by suggesting acceptable options.

Finally, some plans require pre-authorization for certain treatments or services for them to be covered by insurance. This means that before receiving such treatments or services, you must contact your insurer and provide them with the necessary information so they can determine whether they will cover the cost. This authorization must be confirmed before treatment begins.       

What To Do Next 

If your medical insurance claim has been denied, don’t panic! First, read the denial letter carefully so you understand why your claim was denied and what steps need to be taken next to have it approved. Many times, an appeal process will be outlined in the letter; if that’s the case, follow those instructions carefully to submit an appeal as soon as possible. 

Additionally, contact your insurer directly if you have questions or concerns about why a specific treatment was not covered under your plan, so you can better understand their policies and procedures in the future. You can also work with your child’s school for support and help with this process.

Navigating medical insurance claims denials can seem daunting at first, but with a little knowledge about why these denials occur and how best to file an appeal (if necessary), it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Additionally, understanding why claims are denied will help you avoid these circumstances during your child’s year in the U.S. 

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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Most people’s approach to health care is rather simple: When they get sick, they see a doctor. But for those interested in long-term well-being, seeking care only when you’re not feeling your best is not enough. 

“Preventive care” is the term used to describe the ways someone can maintain and improve their overall health. If you want to better understand how preventive care promotes long-term wellness and how to take advantage of options near you, read on.

Preventive care protects children against harmful diseases.

Health care professionals recommend children get immunized against diseases and viruses like chickenpox, COVID-19, human papillomavirus (HPV), and rubella, among others. These vaccines prevent children from contracting life-threatening diseases and strengthen their immune systems. Getting vaccinated ensures children are protected for the long term.

Preventive care normalizes regular visits to health care providers.

Scheduling regular check-ups with primary care physicians and dentists not only allows these health care professionals to ensure your children are healthy and happy, but they also show your children that visits to the doctor’s office are not something to fear. 

Teaching this lesson at an early age is crucial: As people age, consistent check-ups with a doctor are crucial to detec early signs of serious conditions. 

Preventive care instills lifelong healthy habits in children.

Leading a healthy life is more than just shots and visits to the doctor. The best care involves instilling the daily habits that lead to improved physical and mental health. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children engage in 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day, including muscle- and bone-strengthening activities like push-ups and running. In addition, they recommend adhering to a sound eating plan and practicing relaxation techniques to improve and maintain mental health. 

By building these habits at an early age, children will maximize the benefits and lead longer, healthier lives as adults.

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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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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An insurance claim is a request for your insurance company to pay for something your insurance covers, such as a trip to the emergency room. This usually involves completing a form and requesting payment, then submitting the form to the insurance company.

The process to submit claims may vary, depending on the situation. Understanding the process will help eliminate the stress of submitting a claim and avoiding payment delays. 

Use In-Network Providers When Possible

Your insurance plan has a list of doctors, hospitals, and clinics that are contracted directly with the insurance company. These providers are called in-network providers, and they accept payment directly from the insurance company and send claims to your insurance company. This means you do not have to submit the claim yourself.

If you do need to submit the claim yourself, however, here are five steps to ensure it is filed correctly and approved.

1. Ask for an Itemized Receipt

If you do have to file the claim yourself, you must provide an itemized receipt from your medical provider. This receipt lists all services received, the cost of each, and a special medical code that the insurance company uses when reviewing your claim. 

To obtain a copy of the receipt, simply call the medical provider and ask for the documentation because you are filing a claim. 

2. Complete a Claim Form

Your insurance carrier will provide you with a claim form, often available to download from their website. Simply complete the form, which asks for details about the illness or accident, insurance information, and any expenses already paid towards service. 

The form should include detailed instructions, including where to send the form once it is completed. If you have specific questions about the form, your insurance company can help. 

3. Make a Copy

Always, always, always make and keep a copy of any documentation you send to the insurance company; include the date you sent it and the method (such as email, fax, or through the postal service). 

You may need to resend documentation at a later date and you will benefit from having an accurate copy of your submitted documents. 

4. Call Your Insurance Company

Once you have your receipt, completed the claim form, and have personal copies of each, call your insurance company. Let them know you are filing a claim, review the paperwork in hand, and ask them if there is anything else you need to send to complete the filing of the claim. Confirm how and where to send the paperwork. 

Most insurance companies prefer claims to be submitted via email, or directly through their website. Finally, ask them how long it will take for the claim to be paid. Write down the date of this call, the time, the name of the person with whom you spoke, and the details of your conversation. 

5. Follow Up

It is always a good idea to follow up in a week or two to confirm that your documents were received and that the claim is being processed. Your insurance company may request more information or documentation from you during the processing of your claim, so be ready to provide more details at any time. 

Common Causes for Denial of Claims

The following errors could lead to your claim being denied.

  • Clerical errors: Misspelling of names or addresses, typos, entering the wrong medical code, or date of service. Be sure to triple-check all the information on the forms you are submitting. 
  • Failure to meet the submission deadline: Every insurance company has a different deadline, but be sure to make note of it. Claims typically need to be submitted within 90 days of a medical visit, but be sure to familiarize yourself with your company’s policy. 
  • Medical necessity is deemed insufficient: Claims are sometimes denied when the insurer does not consider the medical visit or procedure as appropriate or necessary. 

If your claim is denied for any reason, there is typically a process for appeal or an opportunity for resubmission. 

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.
Contact for more information.