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College Costs in US: Tuition, Housing ... and Health Care

Schools want to know that all of their students can pay for their medical needs. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

We talked last week about the costs of higher education for students who want to study in the United States. Today, as our Foreign Student Series continues, we discuss a cost that students may not always consider: health insurance.

Medical care can be very costly if a person has an accident or gets sick. Health insurance might pay for most or all of it. Students might already be covered under their parents' health plan. If not, many schools offer plans of their own.

Most American colleges and universities have student health centers. Some have hospitals where students can go for more serious problems.

Our example this week is the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It has more than four thousand six hundred international students this year.

All University of Michigan students pay a health service fee. This fee is included in the cost of tuition at the school. It pays for some kinds of medical care and examinations through the University Health Service. It also pays for health education, physical therapy, X-rays and most laboratory tests.

But the health service fee does not pay for everything. For example, it does not pay for medicines or eyeglasses or routine eye exams. It also does not pay for hospital care.

University officials say international students are required to have health insurance.

The University of Michigan offers its students a choice of plans. One is especially for international students. This plan is designed to pay for medical care in emergencies.

It does not pay for things like dental care. And it generally does not pay for treatment of conditions that existed before the student arrived at school.

Students can also buy private insurance policies from independent companies, but the university must first approve them.

Whatever the plan, schools want to know that all of their students can pay for their health care needs.

Our series on higher education in the United States continues next week with a report on financial aid. Our Foreign Student Series is available on the Internet -- with MP3 files and transcripts -- at

And foreign students can get information from the State Department at And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. I'm Steve Ember.