While many international students enjoy the experience of studying in the US, many are unaware of the requirements for student health insurance. Most are under the impression that their travel insurance will cover any, or all, medical bills.
In most cases, they are informed after the fact that it does not. Obtaining compliant insurance can be difficult and expensive. Unlike in other countries, insurance in the US is privately funded, not government sponsored. The SHIP plan is beneficial because it is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gives the student, as well as their family back home, a sense of comfort knowing that the student is protected when they need medical treatment.
Communicating the difference in their country’s health plans, and explaining how the SHIP works is essential when your International Students begin school. A comprehensive communication plan is the starting point to getting this information across to your international students, domestic students and even parents. Here are three quick methods for educating international students on the SHIP that could be part of a larger communication plan.
1) Email Blasts
Direct mail isn’t always an option with international students, since most have their permanent addresses outside the country. Email blasts are a quick and effective way to get information out to students. Informing students on the school’s enrollment process, including requirements by visa status, enrollment deadlines, and effective dates, can easily be accomplished by including information within the body of the email as well as including links to download additional information.
2) USB Packets
There is a lot of information that international students need to digest. Important documents can be placed on a USB which is handed out to students. This allows them to access all the information they need in one place. While some of the files can be dedicated to the Insurance Plan, including an informative PowerPoint and their Orientation Flyer; you can also give them basic information about the city they are living in, information about their visas, and other important information about the school. Contact information for campus staff dedicated to International students is also a great resource to provide. This eliminates paper they would need to keep up with and which often gets thrown away.
3) Informational Sessions
The most direct approach would be to hold informational sessions for your international students. While the USBs could be a supplementary item to give out, you could schedule speakers and sessions about multiple topics. This provides them the opportunity to ask questions. This is also the perfect opportunity to get the information to students before classes begin.
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