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EDUCATION REPORT - November 28, 2002: Foreign Student Series #11>Health Insurance - 2002-11-25

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

We continue our series of reports about how foreign students can study at an American college or university. This information also can be found on the Special English Web page at w-w-w dot voaspecialenglish dot com.

Last week, we told about the costs of attending an American college or university. Today, we tell about one cost that foreign students may not know about — health insurance.

Foreign students may not know about the requirement for health insurance, especially if they do not need it in their own countries. However, Americans are responsible for their own medical costs. These can be extremely high in cases of serious illness or accidents. The purpose of health insurance is to make sure that these costs will be paid for.

Most full-time students at American universities must have health insurance. This is because colleges are not able to pay the high costs of medical care if a student suffers a serious accident or sickness.

Many American colleges have health centers where doctors and nurses treat students’ medical problems. This service may be included in the cost of attending college. Health insurance is usually needed for extra services.

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

For example, students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor are treated without charge for minor medical problems at the university health center. But the university suggests that students buy its health insurance plan to pay for other health services. The cost is about one-thousand-three-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 or eyeglasses.

The University of Michigan requires international students to buy the university health insurance, or have private insurance that is approved by the university. Students can buy an independent insurance policy from insurance companies. The details of each policy are different. Usually, insurance pays for visits to doctors and hospital costs. Officials at American universities generally want to be sure that any possible health costs of their international students will be paid.

This VOA Special English EDUCATION REPORT was written by Nancy Steinbach.