Study Abroad US Medical Insurance - anyone got tips or bought UK insurance?

(54 Posts)
Fortysix Wed 19-Jul-17 14:25:47

Just that.
DC flies off to US mid August but either needs to be signed up to the US university's mandatory health insurance scheme or seek a waiver and prove an adequate alternative policy is in place The US scheme equates to two payments of $1270 so $2540 total.
We've seen specialist UK products that cover backpackers and offer students abroad worldwide travel and medical coverage from under £500. Anyone got relevant experience?
Will be coming home December and then going back Jan- May.

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Kursk Wed 19-Jul-17 14:33:23

I would probably go with the backpacker insurance, it is probably set up more for repatriation and continuation of treatment under the NHS.

Having said that US healthcare it top knotch.

DancingLedge Wed 19-Jul-17 14:34:00

Backpacker insurance can sometimes be invalidated by returning to UK, other than for literally a few days, so watch out for that.

NiceCardigan Wed 19-Jul-17 20:34:53

We paid for the US university's mandatory scheme for DD1 as none of the uk ones I found offered the same cover. It didn't seem worth risking it.

Fortysix Thu 20-Jul-17 17:15:33

DC has messaged other students to see what they are doing.
Nothing definitive back.
DC while trawling had found that home university has a blanket insurance policy for university employees who travel worldwide on business. A small line says Study Abroad applicants are eligible for cover notes under this scheme apparently.
DC now in receipt of cover note and has sent this off to US health insurance scheme administrator to see if it is recognised and gives waiver status.
The home university policy will not cover weekend sight seeing jaunts to NY or travel at thanksgiving but I've got fingers, toes, ovaries etc crossed that we may have found a solution that means that £1900 in her budget can be repatriated in my account wink Please let this be the case tbusmile

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Fortysix Thu 20-Jul-17 17:20:01

The back packing insurance only allows 21 days back in the UK at Xmas so thanks Dancing. If DC has to go for the big US package it does sound top knotch Kursk - we will see what specialist clinics are on offer.. .

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Fortysix Thu 20-Jul-17 22:17:06

Update : Waiver accepted! Email came through tonight to say DC's home university's cover note is good enough. We only need to top up with short trip insurance.
Delighted as had saved up front and can now put the funds to other use.
Actually it was an excellent policy as there is unlimited medical and repatriation cover and no excess.
Thank you for all info.

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Purplecarpet Fri 28-Jul-17 10:45:46

I was looking for the same thing for ds going to the USA in August. That's a result fortysix. We are having to go with the university's own cover in order to comply with the insurance conditions. I don't think the backpackers insurance was acceptable so we've got to fork out $1800. I looked at buying it myself and it was way more than this. I must say ds's own university have been no help whatsoever in all of this as it was a case of them arranging the tuition and then being told go away and sort everything out yourself. No advice given. I'm finding it all very stressful and the next thing is transferring the money over for his accommodation etc. Any tips?

Fortysix Fri 28-Jul-17 11:05:01

Feel your pain purplecarpet Is your DS's own home university business insurance definitely a dead duck for him? I would get him to explore it a bit further before you pay the $1800. Don't let him give up on it until he has at least spoken to few people in uni admin. MY DC used to have the habit of throwing in the towel at first set back but is slowly realising that sometimes you need to talk to two or three people before you find the right one. My DC reports that insurance people have been very prompt and understanding of the costs involved although quite separate to the study abroad team.

Likely DC will be buying the backpacker insurance as back up for the social trips and weekends away. Think the last quotes were two separate policies at £195 each for each semester.

We're nearly at transfer stage for money. Not quite heard what DC has to do for this yet. However we have organised a Santander Zero credit card for DH and he has put DC's name down as a second card holder. DC now in possession of credit card. hmm Plan is for DC to use this for all major purchases. The Santander account balance is paid off automatically off every month with funds from DC's student Santander current account. For cash, DC is sorting out a Travelex card I think

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Fortysix Fri 28-Jul-17 11:07:46

Purplecarpet I should say that the Santander Zero credit card has no additional charges for items abroad

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Purplecarpet Fri 28-Jul-17 11:13:44

Thanks fortysix. Just started another thread about money transfer as well. Ds has spoken to the uni study abroad team but maybe I'll get him to speak to someone else. It's not Northumbria uni is it?

Fortysix Fri 28-Jul-17 12:37:17

No purplecat not that one but not a million miles away
Presumably he can go on to his university website portal and just google business insurance or insurance. The policy DC has is normally for staff so maybe he needs to speak / email the staff insurance person and just see what they say. It might be a good idea to get him to give the travel dates for his trip at the same time. My DC was given a link to a form that needed to be completed for business travel.

if that fails then I think the backpacker insurance might actually pass the waiver test and I'd be inclined to explore that before the $1800 route.
The only difficulty is that youmay need a cover note to send to the US university. I would go onto the customer help desk of the backpack insurance people and see how you could get a sample cover note to run passed the waiver people. Or get him to go onto the waiver people and see if the proposed backpacker insurance would cut the mustard. The backpack insurance companies DC is looking at are P J Hayman and Outbacker insurance.

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Purplecarpet Fri 28-Jul-17 13:07:15

Thank you. I've emailed the finance dept at the home uni asking the questions. I'll look again at the backpacker ins as well.

Purplecarpet Fri 28-Jul-17 15:36:19

Forgot to add that Endsleigh do a study abroad insurance which we have sent to the uni to see if they would accept that. I really don't understand what cover he would get with the uni's own insurance. They seem reluctant to answer questions and just direct you to the website with links elsewhere, and I find this too complicated.

They don't tell you how much there is to organise and how expensive it is, when they are pitching the year abroad stuff, especially for the USA. I'm sure it will all be worth it when ds finally get there though 😬

Fortysix Fri 28-Jul-17 16:25:13

In DC's instance home university's level of emergency medicak insurance cover is infinitely better & higher than any of the backpacker schemes and has no excess.

However if DC rocks up to the local university GP in the US for non emergency care ie for a sore throat DC will be need to pay a fee and will also be liable for full prescription charges. With the $2540 scheme the medical fees and the prescriptions would be subsidised and DC would be liable for a much smaller proportion if any.
If DC breaks a leg or comes down with something serious then DC's business travel insurance will kick in.

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Purplecarpet Fri 28-Jul-17 18:19:20

I'm baffled by it all. I just don't understand it and I'm not dumb. If they would just explain in laymans terms what it was all about then it would be much easier. The endsleigh cover is a lot cheaper and includes gadgets, trips to Canada and dental and looks like pretty decent cover. We don't know how lucky we are in the U.K. with the NHS.

DancingLedge Fri 28-Jul-17 21:33:20

Not insurance, but for spending in US, from a UK bank account, with no extra charges, look into a Monzo card. Plus you can have money in a standard UK account, and transfer amounts to Monzo via a phone app, so they're not walking around US with a card directly linked to an a/c with a significant sum in it. Sorry haven't explained v well, but DS2 found Monzo useful to use in US , so might be worth a look.

Purplecarpet Sat 29-Jul-17 07:10:57

Well apparently they have looked at the Endsleigh cover before and it doesn't meet the criteria. Looks like we'll have to go with the university cover.
Thanks Dancing I'll look at the Monzo card.

Fortysix Sat 29-Jul-17 15:05:46

Dancing Monzo sounds just the job. Have passed the info on.
Purple Your DS's US uni waiver people will only be concerned about the medical and repatriation element. Did the Endsleigh product have £10 M provision for medical expenses and additional provision for emergency dental? Can you have him check his US university documentation to see what level they are expecting and what they provide for the $1800? They wouldn't really care about the gadget cover and Canada bits.
What are his friends doing? I've now googled 'insurance' for three UK uni websites each of them very obviously help their staff and students when they go on trips associated with the university or business and placements. $1800 would pay for a return trip from the UK for you or someone else to go and visit him. Just feel for you and your wallet.

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Purplecarpet Sun 30-Jul-17 08:41:02

Fortysix ds sent all the details of cover and they said no. Someone he knows is going to the same place and he is just taking out the university cover too. I'm pretty peeved about it tbh and wasn't expecting such high costs. Ds says he can claim it back but it will go on his student loan.
Do you have a deadline for payment? It's just that my bank are saying it can take up to six working days for funds to reach the US if done by bank transfer. We've been advised to use flywire as well as the uni don't accept straight transfers from non US banks. Many universities use this for international students. Seems pretty straightforward but I'm still panicking about it!

Fortysix Sun 30-Jul-17 15:18:23

Purple it is all quite stressful I agree.
I would get your son to have one more attempt with the business insurance people telling them quite specifically that friends and associates from the likes of durham, glasgow, edinburgh etc all can get cover notes from their universities so why is his any different? I'd also get him to tell them that in order for him to save up the $1800 that's the equivalent of x no of weeks at his summer job and that's why he is chasing them so hard. If they have sent him links can you have him forage about and see if there is any named individual on these as some of the unis appear to have a designated insurance specialists?
DC's payment deadline is Aug 15. I've looked at Flywire and I think i would give it a go. DC's been told to use Paypath which appears to be broadly similar but I think Flywire seems easier to navigate. However there doesn't appear to be any way to avoid paying a 2.75% handling fee for the transaction. Over lunch we decided just to accept the charge and get on with it because DC still has an issue with the classes for next year. DC is wait listed for two subjects that are mandatory for DC's course and has been told these can' t be sorted until nearer the time.

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Fortysix Sun 30-Jul-17 17:21:59

Purple Am now on same page as you grin
DC has shown me a new page of payment options.
As well as Paypath we can also do 'Flywire'
We are going to do 'Flywire' payment tonight.
It does say allow 10 business days so we are all OK but they will be able to see payment is in transit I am sure so I don't suppose another few days will make a huge difference

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Purplecarpet Sun 30-Jul-17 20:34:13

Thanks fortysix. Time is running out now as our payment deadline in Aug 10th and I'm a bit annoyed with ds as everything is last minute. It should have been sorted out ages ago. I've scrutinised his uni's website but can't find anything.
Anyway good luck with all the arrangements. I shall probably have a heart attack by the end of it all due to all the stress.

WestCoastGirl Sun 30-Jul-17 20:46:05

Sympathies. All the dc's I know that have done exchange to the USA have had to pay for insurance. You are lucky there forty six, your home uni sounds top class. I would have thought that the study abroad team would know of such things though and if it turns out that the students are actually covered by them and they don't know about it then that's a disgrace.

Fortysix Sun 30-Jul-17 22:07:41

Purple We've done flywire now. Sat down together and did it three times actually before it went through. Mistake I kept making was clicking on the 'international' payment' tab on her account when it was actually a transaction to another bank with a UK address. I think it will go through faster than what they suggest. The ten days thing is not very upfront and my DC had no idea it was so imminent - it was you who alerted us so thanks.
I agree with West Coast it is grossly unfair if they are potentially covered and not made aware. However if you pay for the insurance and he does eventually get a waiver, hopefully it would be refunded.
My DC is not that chilled at the moment. Definitely more apprehensive about the arrangements now that the classes are not guaranteed.
Hang on in there. wine

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