Are international students required to take out health insurance?

You can't keep something from happening; you can keep it from costing an arm and a leg.

The question you should ask yourself isn't whether it's required, but whether it's necessary. If you're going to travel outside Spain to study or intern at a company, you should, and in many cases you must, take out medical insurance for students abroad. Most countries don't require visitors to have medical insurance; but there are exceptions, and it's best to see what they are. 

According to data provided by the European Union, in 2017 around 40,000 Spanish university students used an Erasmus grant to study or do an internship; and the figure increases if we consider the number of young people who travel to take short-term courses.

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Learning about another country, its culture, its language, making friends of other nationalities and studying in an international setting are compelling reasons to spend some time outside your own country. 

To make the most of the experience and enjoy it, you mustn't forget one of the most important aspects: health. Before traveling, you should get all the information you can on the condition of the healthcare system in the destination country and how it works, and take out an international medical insurance policy for students that provides the coverage you need.

Insurance for students is usually aimed at young people between 10 and 35 years old who travel outside their country to study or do an internship. These are some of the main contingencies they cover: 

  • Healthcare. 
  • Medical, surgical, pharmaceutical and hospitalization expenses. 
  • Evacuation and repatriation. 
  • Expenses for convalescence. 
  • Transfers to the hospital. 
  • Dispatch of medication. 
  • Travel of a companion due to hospitalization. 

Insurance companies usually offer their customers an emergency telephone number to call in the event of an accident or illness during their stay abroad. 

Apart from medical coverage, these student insurance policies offer compensation for lost classes, loss of registration fee, the death of a parent and accident insurance.

Inside or outside Europe?

  • If traveling to a country in the European Union 

You can request a European Health Insurance Card so you can be covered in every European Union country. Please note that the EHIC does not guarantee totally free health care. In some cases, you may have to pay the amount on the spot, although it will be reimbursed upon your return. 

Don't forget that with the EHIC, you can only go to certain centers, and also that it will not cover costs involving repatriation, ambulance or patient transfers to the center. 

Because of this, and so you can travel worry-free, we recommend doing so with travel insurance that covers the needs mentioned, and others that may come up during your trip and stay in your country of destination. 

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  • If traveling outside Europe 

You should take out a travel insurance policy that will cover large medical expenses. They usually offer coverage for illness, emergencies, accident and repatriation. It's important to verify the minimum coverage required by the school where you are going to study. 

Another fundamental aspect to consider is the coverage limits. We recommend purchasing enough coverage to avoid having to pay the difference in the event of an accident that requires medical or health care. 

If you're going to study in the United States, you should have health insurance coverage for your entire stay. In this country, healthcare is very expensive and any emergency may require a large outlay of money. For example, a doctor's visit costs over 140 euros and a one-night hospital stay is around 9,000 euros. 

You should analyze all your options carefully and choose the one that best protects you against any type of emergency that comes up during your stay abroad. 

If you already have BBVA Más Salud Insurance, you can add the Students Supplement, which offers medical coverage in the event of an emergency or sudden illness, repatriation, as well as specific coverage for students with a compensation of up to €1,000 for lost classes or registration fees in the event of an accident or illness, payment for a new trip in the event of repatriation and accident insurance in the event of death or permanent disability. 

The cost of this supplement is €40 per month per insured person in Europe, or €70 per month per insured person in the rest of the world, which will be added to the main bill for your policy. 

If you know what medical insurance for students abroad you need, you are ready to travel worry-free and enjoy the experience to the fullest.

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