Office of International Programs

Health Insurance

We encourage students to investigate health insurance options and learn what their insurance provider covers and requires prior to participating in study abroad. If a student seeks medical care, they should be prepared to pay out of pocket and submit for reimbursement at a later date. Brown University also has an Accident & Sickness insurance plan that covers students during their program dates for illnesses and emergencies. It does not replace your regular insurance plan, but offers additional coverage for unanticipated medical occurrences. 

Comprehensive Health Insurance Options

All students are required to have comprehensive health insurance that will cover them for the full duration of their stay while abroad. Students may purchase insurance through Brown University’s Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), which provides domestic and limited international coverage, or utilize another plan with comparable coverage to Brown’s plan that includes both domestic and international benefits, limitations, and exclusions. Please refer to the Office of Insurance and Purchasing Services website for more information about the Brown plan; students who elect insurance coverage through another plan should contact that health insurance company to verify that they are covered internationally. NB: Students on a leave of absence during the semester prior to study abroad — or spring semester students who were not enrolled in the Brown insurance plan during the fall — should contact the Brown Office of Insurance and Purchasing Services about enrollment policies and procedures.

Under Brown University policy, all students will automatically be enrolled in, and charged for, the Brown Student Health Insurance Plan unless they complete an online waiver by the deadline established by the Office of Insurance and Purchasing Services. This ensures that all students have adequate medical coverage and access to comprehensive medical care.

Below are some questions to consider as you investigate your overseas health insurance options:

  • Will this plan cover hospitalization for accidents and illnesses for the entire period while you’re abroad? (Some policies might cover medical expenses for brief stays abroad, but not for the full term of a study abroad program)
  • Will this plan cover doctor visits and medication prescribed abroad?
  • Is there a deductible? If yes, how much?
  • Is there a dollar limit to the amount of coverage provided?
  • What are the procedures for filing a claim for medical expenses abroad?  Do you need to pay expenses up front and then submit receipts to the insurance company for reimbursement? Make sure that you get full information from the policy about how to arrange for routine treatment, medical emergency procedures, and what is required to pay for or be reimbursed for a claim.
  • When does the plan begin and end?
  • What do you use as proof of international medical coverage (if you need to use the insurance or if the host government requires documentation)?
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, will you be covered by your plan? (it has been our experience that international students must arrange for coverage with a company in their home country. Most of the policies we have looked at do not cover international students traveling in a country other than the U.S.)
  • Will this insurance cover you in the U.S. for the insured semester if you decide, for medical or other reasons, to return before the end of the program? (if students have a serious accident or illness abroad, they may need to return to the U.S. for further care; it is therefore important that the student carry coverage that applies not only abroad, but also in the U.S. during the study abroad period)
  • Does the plan cover pre-existing medical conditions?
  • Does the plan cover psychological conditions and counseling services?
  • Does the coverage meet the minimum coverage amounts required by the host country?

Students must provide the Office of International Programs with information regarding their insurance policy in the Health Insurance section of the OIP Horizons application system.

Students studying on an Approved Alternative or Petition program should also check with their program provider regarding their own insurance requirements and policies.

Brown Accident & Sickness Insurance Plan

In addition to the comprehensive coverage provided by their own health insurance, all Brown students and Visiting students participating in Brown programs or Brown-administered CASA programs are automatically covered – at no cost – by an accident and sickness insurance plan designed for students, faculty, and staff traveling on a Brown-related sojourn abroad.

The plan covers you during your study abroad program dates only (leisure travel before or after program is not covered), if you experience an illness or accident abroad (but does not cover routine physical exams/checkups when you are not sick). This plan is NOT designed to replace your regular health insurance (students will not be able to waive the regular student health insurance plan with this accident and sickness policy).

There are no copay or costs associated with medical treatment or medication if a student becomes hurt or sick while traveling abroad. However, you must contact International SOS directly (referencing Brown’s group membership ID #11BSGC000031) to utilize the plan. Please refer to Brown's International Travel Risk Management website for further information.

International SOS Emergency Travel Assistance

All students studying abroad on Brown-sponsored or Brown-approved international programs are covered a no cost through International SOS Worldwide Assistance & Emergency Evacuation Services — including travel, medical, and security advice and services. The services provided by International SOS range from telephone advice and referrals to full-scale evacuation by private air ambulance.

International SOS also offers an emotional support plan for students abroad, which includes mental health counseling sessions at no cost (available either in person or via internet/phone). The International SOS network of multilingual specialists operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from International SOS Assistance Centers around the world. You can access up-to-date reports on more than 170 countries on health issues, medical care, and vaccination requirements via the International SOS website.

  • Download the International Assistance App to access online medical and security reports and country travel risk guides. The App also has a check-in feature to use while traveling internationally and enables you to contact International SOS directly through the App.
  • Coverage coincides with the dates of your study abroad program 
  • Use International SOS for pre-travel information, including medical referrals,  as well as real-time emergency assistance
  • Includes access to mental health counseling sessions
  • Includes emergency travel assistance and medical evacuation and repatriation.
  • NOT designed to replace regular health insurance
  • Contact 215-942-8478; Brown ID #11BSGC000031 for information

Traveling before or after your program?

 You may want to purchase a supplemental leisure coverage plan if you anticipate travelling before or after your study abroad program dates. Keep in mind that your Brown-provided Accident and Sickness policy is only valid during your program dates. 

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