Taking out insurance for internships abroad allows students to leave with peace of mind in the face of unforeseen events because outside their home country, high health costs can quickly become a major problem.
To make the right choice before departure, it is important to know some essential information.
Why Take Out Insurance for an Internship Abroad?
Insurance for an internship abroad is not only a way to guarantee health coverage and protect your wallet in countries where health costs are often much higher than in your native country.
The J-1 visa for interns destined for the United States is not issued without proof of insurance coverage that meets specific criteria, and many educational institutions require a certificate to authorize the student to begin the internship.
Health Insurance and Student Healthcare Mutuals Are Not Enough
Even in cases where insurance is not mandatory for the continuation of the internship abroad, it is usually indispensable, because outside of your country of origin, Social Security and student mutual insurance companies only cover sudden and unforeseeable illnesses.
Reimbursements are not automatic and are made according to the health insurance rates, which are often lower than the rates in the host country, leaving the student to pay considerable amounts of money.
EHIC: Only in Europe
In European Union countries, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, it is possible to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before departure.
Valid for one year, it provides the student with the same health coverage as the citizens of the host country, but often these guarantees do not cover all health expenses.
Which International Insurance for Internships Abroad?
Insurance for an Internship Abroad Must Cover Specific Needs
Private insurance for an internship abroad is in many cases the best solution.
Many hospitals and health care facilities around the world require proof of ability to pay before accepting patients.
The insurance card allows for direct payment and, if the contract allows it, a waiver of advance payment.
Taking out an international health insurance policy is the most appropriate solution when going on an internship abroad.
Specifically designed for interns or expatriate students, this coverage takes into account specific risks. For example, repatriation or care during temporary returns to the home country.
They provide access to English-speaking assistance, and can also provide legal assistance if needed. The management of the contracts is done in English, which makes life easier for the intern during his stay abroad.
Subscribing to one of these expatriate student insurance plans allows you to be covered independently of any other insurance system. But it never exempts you from your legal obligations in terms of Social Security coverage.
If affiliation to the local health insurance system is mandatory in the foreign country where the internship is taking place, the contributions will have to be paid.
Social Security Supplementary Insurances
In some cases, your country’s Social Security can be valid insurance for an internship abroad.
In most countries, it cannot refuse membership or apply additional premiums. This makes it an interesting solution for students suffering from chronic illnesses or serious medical history.
Social Security also has the advantage of guaranteeing continuity of rights. The expatriate will be reinstated to the health insurance scheme as soon as he/she returns from his/her internship abroad.
However, Social Security reimbursements are based on the rates and on the cost of care in your home country. In many territories, these amounts can be insufficient.
In order to avoid a high out-of-pocket expense, the insured person must also subscribe to a supplementary insurance plan to benefit from good insurance during his internship abroad.
You will have to pay a second contribution and deal with a second person to manage your contract, as these supplementary policies are managed by third-party companies.
Insurance for Internships Abroad From the 1st Euro/Dollar
The so-called “first euro/dollar” offers are another solution, often recommended for the insurance of an internship abroad.
These contracts offered by private companies cover the insured’s health expenses from the first euro spent, according to percentages of actual expenses known in advance.
Various formulas exist to meet the specific needs and budget of all trainees, and this type of coverage is particularly appreciated for its great flexibility.
Indeed, it is possible to add a wide range of optional benefits that go beyond the medical field, to benefit from tailor-made insurance.
If the good quality-price ratio of these insurances is appreciated by expatriates, they nevertheless present a flaw.
Unlike Social Security, the private companies that market them require a medical questionnaire at the time of subscription and may refuse an application or apply restrictions to coverage or additional premiums in case of declared medical pre-existing conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Insurance During an Internship Abroad
To complete an internship in the United States, a J-1 visa is issued if the intern has taken out insurance that meets specific criteria. In addition, many schools require a certificate to authorize the student to begin the internship. The answer is yes, taking out insurance is mandatory for an internship.
Social Security and student health insurance abroad only cover sudden and unforeseeable illnesses. Furthermore, reimbursements are not automatic and are based on your country’s health insurance rates. They are often lower than the rates in the host country.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows an intern from the European Union to receive health care in a member state other than their own.
The best insurance for an intern abroad is the so-called “first euro”. These contracts offered by private companies cover health expenses from the first euro spent. And there are different formulas to meet the needs and budget of interns.