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EDUCATION REPORT - Foreign Student Series #11: Health Insurance - 2004-11-11

Broadcast: November 11, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Education Report.

We continue our Foreign Student Series. Today, in part eleven, we talk about a cost that students who want to study in the United States may not always consider. That is, the cost of health insurance.

Most Americans are responsible for their own medical costs. These can be extremely high if a person gets very sick or has an accident. So people buy a health insurance plan to make sure these costs will be paid.

Most American colleges and universities have student health centers. There may even be a teaching hospital that can treat more serious problems.

Some medical services may be included in the cost of attending a school. But health insurance is usually needed for extra services. So most full-time college students must have insurance.

Students may already be protected under their family’s health plan. If not, many colleges offer their own plans.

The University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, will be our example. Students pay a health service fee. Then there is no extra charge when they are treated for minor medical problems at the University Health Center. But the school wants students to have health insurance to pay for other services.

The insurance plan offered by the university costs about one thousand seven hundred dollars a year. Such health insurance plans generally pay for hospital services, emergency room care and visits to doctors. They usually do not pay for care of the teeth. And they usually do not pay for treatment of medical conditions that existed before the student arrived at school.

International students at the University of Michigan have two choices. They can buy the university health plan. Or they can have private insurance that is approved by the university.

The school also offers a special International Student Insurance Plan. This pays for most of the services offered by the University Health Center that are not included in the health service fee.

Students in the United States can also buy private insurance policies from independent companies. Whatever plan is right, schools want to know that all their students can pay for their health care needs.

Our Foreign Student Series is on the Internet at voaspecialenglish dot com. And for student information from the State Department, visit

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. This is Gwen Outen.