Learning English is one of the best ways to get ahead in your education and career, and a great way to accomplish this is through an ESL program. No matter where your ESL Program is located, you will need to have a health insurance plan in place to cover you in case you get sick or injured. Depending on where you study, you may need to meet health insurance requirements, which can be set by your school, program, embassy or consulate.
Choice or Necessity?
For some many ESL programs, health insurance is not a choice but a requirement. Some programs will offer insurance plans of their own, while other programs will leave it up to you to find your own insurance plan.
Why Do You Need Insurance?
Getting an international health insurance plan is extremely important as you will want to protect yourself in case the unexpected happens. Being sick overseas can be scary, and many health insurance plans provide 24 travel assistance to help you seek treatment and navigate care in your host country.
Depending on your international insurance plan, you will find that most of them cover:
- Doctor visits
- Prescription medication
- Medical Evacuation
It’s important that you understand what each plan covers and for you to consider your own personal needs. Be sure to ask questions, read through the fine print, and many insurance plans will allow you to apply right online, with documents emailed instantly.
How to Choose Your Plan
If your school provides optional coverage, or if they leave you on your own to find your own plan, you’ll need to consider the health insurance plans available and find the one that meets your individual needs. It can seem confusing at first, but if you need a place to begin the search, you can use this list to help guide your way:
- Does my ESL program have insurance plan?
- Does this health insurance plan meet my needs and my budget?
- Does it cover me for emergencies and non-emergencies?
- Is prescription medication covered in case I get sick?
- What is my out of pocket expense if I need to go to the hospital or doctor?
- Is there a network of doctors and hospitals that I must go to?
- How big is the network of doctors and hospitals?
- Do I have to pay for one year or can I purchase just the days of my program? How much is the policy?
- Who is the plan insured by, and what is their insurance rating?
- How does the claim process work?
Based on your answers, you can further research the expected cost and coverage of health insurance and factor that in your budget and rest assured that you are covered in case you get sick abroad.
Where to Find An Insurance Plan?
We recommend the Travel Medical plan as it provides coverage for ESL students in case they get sick or injured. Students can sign up for as little as 5 days for up to one year, offering benefits including:
- Inpatient and outpatient coverage
- Medical evacuation/Repatriation
- Lost checked luggage
- Trip Interruption
Students as well as their dependents are eligible, and will provide automatic coverage internationally outside their home country.
Whichever the case, embarking on your ESL program is an incredibly valuable and enriching experience that will be an investment in your future. Having health insurance for your ESL program will ensure that you are covered in case of illness or accident and will allow you to safely explore the English language in your ESL program.