Skip to content
Back to Blog

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.
Contact for more information.

Back to Blog

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.
Contact for more information.

Back to Blog

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.

Contact for more information.

Back to Blog

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.

Back to Blog

Admission interviews are arguably the most important step in the admission process. Along with transcripts, report cards, standardized tests, essays, and other application materials, they help schools determine whether your family is a good fit for the school community.

If you are in the process of evaluating private and independent school options for your child, then you know that most, if not all, schools require parents to sit for an admission interview.

Interviews may take place during your scheduled campus tour. Other times, it may be a standalone event, later in the application process. With social distancing measures put in place due to the pandemic, virtual interviews have become increasingly common. The interviews may be held with the Admission Director or with a member of the school’s admission team.

Regardless of the format, one thing is certain: The admission interview is an important part of the process, and parents may feel anxious about it.

Managing the Process

This anxiety is natural—especially if you or your child has their heart set on a particular school. The admission interview can be seen as a make-or-break moment.

It is important to remember the admission interview isn’t just a chance for the school to evaluate you. It’s also an opportunity for you to evaluate the school, and make sure it is truly the right fit for your family.

Prior to the interview, you’ll want to prepare some specific and detailed answers that reveal who you are and why you’re interested in the school. Importantly, interviews give an insight into a potential family’s personality, interests, values, and personal goals. These conversations allow the school to build an initial, and hopefully, genuine rapport with families.

Avoid “over-preparing.” Schools dislike canned answers, highly rehearsed replies, or responses that look like they’re playing to the audience. They prefer honest and considered answers. In fact, being yourself and injecting a little measured “fun” into the answer may even help.

Bottom line: Be yourselves and strive for authenticity when possible.

It is also critical to ask some questions of your own during the school admission interview. This will show your interest in the school and enable you to be better informed, so you are certain to make the best possible decision about your child’s future.

Below are some common private school interview questions. These are organized by category: questions about yourself, your non-school interests, your school interests, your suitability for a school, your beliefs and values, and the school itself.

Questions About Your Family and Your Child

It’s common for private schools to ask you questions about yourself. They want to get a sense of the kind of person you are, and how you see yourself—specifically learning about your strengths and weaknesses, aims, goals, and values.

Schools may ask about your child’s interests outside of school. They’ll want to know about their talents, hobbies, and passions—whether in the arts, sports, history, science, or some other area.

Some questions you may be asked include:

  • Tell me a bit about your family.
  • What three adjectives best describe your child’s personality?
  • Tell us more about what your child does outside of school.

Tip: Your answers should be clear, specific, and detailed. For instance, in describing your family or your child, don’t list personality traits––such as confidence, curiosity, and empathy. Instead, give specific examples: “My child has always been fascinated by marine life.” Be prepared to speak about at least one or two interests in earnest about your child.

Questions About Your Values and Personal Beliefs

Schools like to get a sense of your personal core beliefs and values. They’ll want to learn whether they align with the school’s mission and values.

Your prospective school might ask these questions during the admission interview:

  • What does it mean to be a good member of a community?
  • How do you see yourself partnering with the school?

Tip: Give honest and reflective answers. Don’t oversimplify things, with short, curt answers. Give details and explain why.

Questions About the School Itself

Don’t be surprised when you’re asked if you have any questions about a school. This is a common way to gauge your level of interest. It also reveals what interests you about the school.

Some questions you may be asked to include:

  • Do you have any questions about our school?
  • Do you have any concerns about our school?

Be prepared with one or two questions. Ask something that illustrates your genuinely interested in some feature of the school, such as academics, extracurriculars, or student life.

Ask questions if you have any concerns or need more information––especially if you think it will help better evaluate your options. Choosing the right school for your child is critical to ensuring their future is as bright and fulfilling as possible.

Above all, remember this isn’t only an opportunity for the school to interview you; it’s an opportunity for you to interview the school.

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, no matter where they are in the U.S.

Contact for more information.

Back to Blog

The pandemic has had a variety of effects on education, especially when it comes to social-emotional learning. International students, perhaps, may be hardest hit by the lack of social-emotional learning loss. After all, it’s hard to get to know classmates again after a year of learning remotely.

Specifically, international students may not have had as many opportunities for social-emotional learning as they would have if they were attending school full-time on an in-person basis. This in turn created a deficit and many international students are facing a social-emotional learning loss.

The Impact on International Students

Stress, lack of focus, quarantines, and sometimes illness or death among family members compounded the social-emotional learning loss. Not only were students faced with more to deal with, but they did not have resources to help them.

International students have experienced a significant loss regarding their social-emotional development. As things return to normal, they may find it difficult to reintegrate into American culture because they have not been inside a classroom in more than a year. Some are still learning remotely in their home country while their U.S. peers have gone back to the classroom. Overall, they have been isolated from their peers, and many may struggle to assimilate as learning resumes.

Supporting International Learners

Here’s how international students who may be struggling with social-emotional learning loss can be supported.

Make a Plan

Remote learning does not fully replace the in-person student experience. Now that most international students are back on campus and the level of deficiency is coming into focus, international parents are asking a critical question: What are schools doing to remedy the situation?

Tackle the Problem

Be Innovative! Ask your advisor or counselors for creative ways to help students get back on

  • Remediation: Ask about remedial support for struggling students. Include short- and long-term strategies. Talk about how to communicate and create friendships with your child and their school.
  • School District Outreach: The school may be collaborating with superintendents and principals at nearby schools to access resources. See if your child can be involved.
  • Higher Education Partnerships: Learning loss is not limited to the K–12 population. International college students have experienced the same challenges with remote learning and backsliding as their younger counterparts

Tenth Grade … Take Two?

Repeating a grade is not a decision made frequently or lightly. However, for some children, it may be a good choice. This can be ideal if the student:

  • lacks maturity, especially among children who learned remotely for one year or longer
  • unable to catch up to their peers, academically or socially

If you are thinking of holding your child back a year, be aware of some considerations that can affect international families:

  • Visa and Travel Policies: Schools need to pay attention to an acceptable commencement age, and monitor and correlate the program completion and end date on a student’s Form I-20. Any adjustments will have to be intentional and made across the entirety of a student’s records.
  • Campus Life: A student held back will be older than their peers. A 19- or 20-year-old senior differs greatly from a 13- or 14-year-old ninth grader. Ask your school how they manage age disparities in the student population.
  • Mental Health: The social-emotional effect of not moving on with friends and classmates is significant. Have honest conversations with the school about your child’s mental health as well as the implications of repeating a grade and the toll it may take on your child.

Facing issues surrounding social-emotional learning loss with intentionality and a solid strategy will lead your child into a rewarding school year.

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.

Back to Blog

Knowing how to navigate the visa approval process can help you do everything possible to ensure your child attends the school of their choice. Being aware of all the details will prepare you and your child to navigate the process successfully.

Hopefully, your school is guiding you—even if you are working with an outside agency or counselor. Your school should be collaborating with you in a coordinated approach.

Parents, it may be tempting to manage the entire process for your child. But there are components of it—like the interview—that will be the sole responsibility of your child. Provide them with support and encouragement.

Required Documentation

Here’s an overview of the major documents needed to complete the international student via process.

  • Passport: This must be valid and include an expiration date 6 months beyond the intended period of study in the U.S.
  • Form DS-160: Include the visa application confirmation barcode page. This is required during the interview process.
  • Original Form I-20: This is a form issued by your school. The original form 1-20 must be signed by the school, as well as by parents and the student.
  • Photo Identification: Be sure your student’s photo ID picture matches the one uploaded at the time of the visa application.
  • Verification of funds document: You will be required to have the original document and may be asked to show a copy during the interview process.
  • Acceptance letter: Have a school admission acceptance letter or a contract on school letterhead.
  • Academic records: Keep multiple copies of documents on demand in case they are needed. These documents include test scores, transcripts, diplomas, and other identifying records.

Facilitating the Visa Approval Process

Here are a few things you and your child should know.

  • Students can begin their international visa application process online and register for the interview 120 days before the start of the school year.
  • Accurate dates must be reported on your I-17 form. (If your school opens on August 30, the student can’t apply until 120 days earlier.) Have these dates clearly listed.
  • Requested documents are mandatory. Obtain them in their original format—don’t rely on copies.
  • To start the international student visa process, go directly to the U.S. Department of State website for the DS-160 form. If you hire a service provider to work on this for you, that consultant will charge you a fee.
  • Understand what type of international visa is required. It’s likely an F-1, M-1 or J-1.
  • Follow instructions and answer questions honestly—in English only. Names may be spelled in their native alphabet.
  • Make sure to note the application number. That number differs from the form I-20 number because the documents are issued by separate agencies of the U.S. government.
  • The student has to report the use of professional assistance with their application. It’s perfectly acceptable to have official assistance, but the government wants to know the truth, and if the student will continue to need assistance during the process.
  • The I-901 fee must be paid before the visa interview. Prepare to pay the I-901 fee for the SEVIS student record with a credit card. Use form I-20 and a number that starts with N followed by 10 or 11 digits.
  • The I-901 fee supports the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)/ Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) system for international students and schools. Make sure to pay and print the receipt page. You can pay at
  • Make sure all this information and documentation is prepared for uploading at one time. The student should sign and double check their list before it is submitted. Print the confirmation page, which includes the barcode—this acts as your receipt.

Visa Interview Strategies

Students, make sure you are prepared for the interview. A parent may help you get ready, but it’s up to you to complete that portion of the process. You should:

  • Take the interview seriously. Dress appropriately. Don’t respond with “I don’t know” to a question.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about why you want to study in the U.S., why you chose the school, what your future educational plans are, where you plan to live in the U.S., if you plan to return to your home country, and if you want to pursue permanent residency in the U.S.
  • Speak English during the interview; do not use your native language.
  • Don’t rely on parental help. Parents are allowed to be present at interviews, but they’re not allowed to speak for you.
  • Be prepared to respond to questions about residency. Some schools may not offer documentation pertaining to that. You may need to share a pending address.

Common International Student Visa Mistakes

A simple mishap can hold up the entire process. Make sure that the student does the following:

  • Completes the application in its entirety
  • Has applied for the right type of visa
  • Reports their complete home address, including the country name
  • Reports other years attending school in the U.S.
  • Enters numbers correctly (SEVIS identification number, date of birth, etc.)
  • Has original documents—not just copies—handy

Get familiar with the process and the seriousness of it all. Don’t hesitate to ask your school for assistance along the way.

Remember, securing a visa takes time. Knowing exactly what will happen—and appreciating the need for patience—will make the application process as simple as possible.

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, no matter where they are in the U.S.

Contact for more information.

Back to Blog

As a parent, your job is to protect your children. You want to know they are safe and well cared for wherever they are. When their school is far from home, that job can feel much harder. But it doesn’t have to!

Medical Records

School administrators work to keep their students healthy and happy. And part of maintaining that sense of well-being campuswide means making sure that students’ medical information is protected. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue has a new meaning.

Medical privacy is taken very seriously at schools and universities across the country. If your child’s school is testing students for COVID-19 regularly, you may have questions—from wondering how the results are stored to how long they are kept. The best way to get all your questions answered is to talk directly to the school:

  • Email the international program director or your child’s advisor to set up a time to speak on the phone. Time zones are challenging, but there is always a way to work it out!
  • Write down your concerns before the call so you won’t forget anything. The past two years have been stressful for everyone, especially parents. School directors and advisors understand that—and they will do everything they can to help bring you peace of mind.
  • Remind yourself that every question about your child is valid.

Sharing Information

There are different ways to keep international parents up-to-date about important issues at school, including email and interactive apps. Both English-speaking and non-English speaking users can easily access many platforms. WeChat, for example, has a translator option to ask questions or share concerns in your native language.

These connections not only provide a chance for program directors to inform parents, but they are also the perfect opportunity for parents to share thoughts with one another. However, keep in mind that these chat groups are not private.

Follow these simple tips when communicating with other parents in a group setting:

  • Use chat groups to share and exchange general information only.
  • Any comments about your child’s health—even if they’re directed at the school representative in the chat—can be seen by everyone in that chat. Your child’s medical information will no longer be confidential.
  • Conversations about your child’s medical status should take place on the phone.

Sticking to basic rules about privacy will help protect everyone: children, parents, and the school. Remember, your school is there for you! Reach out when you have questions, stay engaged, and enjoy your child’s successful academic journey.

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.

Back to Blog

Health insurance provides financial protection to international students in case of injury or illness. Some schools may require a student to use a specific insurance provider or a plan that meets their specifications. Other schools may let their international families purchase their own coverage.

These are a few things to consider when searching for health insurance and making your decision.

Health Plans: The Basics

When researching U.S. health insurance plans, you may come across unfamiliar terms like “deductible” or “copayment.” Here’s a breakdown of what these terms mean.

  • Deductible: A fixed amount you have to pay before the insurance company will start to pay for medical expenses.
  • Copayment: A fixed amount you will pay each time you receive a specific medical service. Copayments typically apply to doctor’s office visits, emergency room visits, and prescription drug purchases; they may differ based on the coverage you select.
  • Coinsurance: If the plan has a deductible, this refers to the portion of medical expenses you will pay after you have met your deductible. The coinsurance is shown as a percentage when you’re comparing policies. For instance, a plan with a 20% coinsurance means that you will be responsible for paying 20% of the medical expense while the insurance company will be responsible for the other 80%.
  • Premium: This is the cost of the plan—the amount you pay to the insurance company to purchase coverage.

Selecting a Health Plan

Plans with higher premiums tend to have lower deductibles, while plans with lower premiums
have higher deductibles. How can you tell which plan is right for you? Consider how often your
child goes to the doctor, any existing medical conditions, any regular medications they take, and
their risk for injuries (such as playing sports).

These are a few questions you should consider when making your decision

  • What would you do if your child plays basketball and breaks their leg? How would the plan cover an emergency room visit?
  • If your child needed a procedure unexpectedly, would you have the money to pay for it upfront if it cost less than the deductible amount?
  • How much would you owe if you had a plan with a high deductible and coinsurance involved? Would you be able to pay these costs upfront?

Plan Limitations and Exclusions

When you compare health insurance plans, it’s important to look beyond the plan design and premium. Student health insurance plans may seem similar—comparable deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance—but look at each plan’s limitations and exclusions.

These are common limitations and exclusions included in many health insurance plans that could impact your child.

  • Pre-existing Conditions: A pre-existing condition is an illness or injury that your child had prior to enrolling in a new health plan, such as diabetes. Many student health insurance plans include a clause that either includes a waiting period or outright excludes medical care for pre-existing conditions.
  • Interscholastic Sports Injuries: While most student health insurance plans cover emergency room and hospital visits, some exclude treatment for injuries related to interscholastic sports.
  • Immunizations and Vaccines: Most schools in the U.S. require prospective international students to have specific immunizations and be up to date on them. However, some international student health insurance plans do not cover immunizations and vaccines that may be required upon enrollment, so you may have to pay the full fee for them.

The ISM Difference

Here at ISM, we know private schools inside and out. For nearly 50 years, we have assisted independent schools and their families by engaging in 1,600 partnerships with international school programs and supporting over 350,000 students. Through our years of unrivaled experience, we designed our international student accident and sickness plans to meet the unique needs of the international student community. Highlights include:

  • open-access primary health plans that allow students to seek care at any medical provider with no loss in benefit;
  • $0 or low deductible/copayments to limit out-of-pocket expenses; ● coverage for pre-existing conditions with no waiting period;
  • three health plan options (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) with coverage and pricing flexibility to meet all budgets; and
  • dedicated support from ISM’s experienced insurance service team to assist with finding network providers, claim inquiries, billing, ID card management, and translation of plan materials.

Key benefits of our insurance plan include:

  • routine physicals, pediatric dental care, and vision exams
  • interscholastic sports injury coverage
  • mental and behavioral health support
  • home country extension coverage

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.

Contact for more information.

Back to Blog

Over the past two years, international travel has seen much change. As new restrictions are announced, parents and families find ways to adapt. Timing can make this a little difficult, especially when it comes to the school calendar.

China implemented new travel policies in January 2022, including a requirement that all travelers must be tested for COVID-19 at specific labs before entering the country, as well as quarantining upon arrival.

What does this mean for international students studying in the United States?

First, get the facts. We all know how quickly things change; talk to the International Program Director at your child’s school to make sure you have the most up-to-date information. Ask questions about the new testing rules: Are school officials bringing students to testing sites? If there are extra costs, what should parents expect to pay?

Once you have those answers, the next thing to think about is timing. Spring break typically lasts for about two weeks. Current travel policies state that people traveling from the U.S. into China must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days after arrival. Does it make sense for your child to come home if you won’t be able to spend much time together as a family?

If you decide to let your child stay in the U.S. over spring vacation, you need to know where they will be housed and whether the school will be open or closed. Working with your International Program Director, arrangements can be made to help your child enjoy their time off in a safe and enjoyable way. Be sure to ask the Director, friends, volunteer, or host family detailed questions such as:

If the School Campus Is Open

Will parents be allowed to stay on campus to spend the vacation with their child? What are the rules for testing and vaccinations? Will meals be provided for parents and students? Are there any extra costs?

If parents cannot travel to the U.S., how will supervision be handled at the school for those children who are staying on campus or with local families? Will there be any programming or activities?

If the School Campus Is Closed

If your child’s campus is closed, you may be asked to give written permission when choosing other options.

Has your school found a host family to take care of your child during school vacation? Ask the International Program Director to set up a time to “meet” them virtually. You can get to know each other a bit, share helpful information about your child, and ask questions about activities they may be planning.

Has your child been invited to spend time with your own family members or friends in the U.S. during the break? This is a great way for students to learn more about the culture and experience new adventures! The International Program Director can work with you to make sure everyone is comfortable and clear about the details.

Are you able to travel to America to see your child? Even though the campus will be closed, you can explore the city or town where the school is located or visit other parts of the country. Share your plans with the school before you travel, and be sure that school officials know when you will pick your child up and return them to campus.

Traveling during scheduled vacations may be a bit more complicated these days, but parents and students don’t have to do this alone. Together, schools and international families can achieve the same goal: keeping students safe, comfortable, and happy—not just during school break, but throughout the entire school year.

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.