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Study Abroad Health Insurance

Northwestern University requires all study abroad students to have HTH Worldwide health insurance coverage for the entire period of time they are studying abroad, regardless of any other coverage they might have through their parents, Northwestern, or their study abroad program (even if their program provides insurance coverage).

Step 1: Find rates and learn about HTH insurance.

Step 2: Purchase HTH insurance (NU's HTH policy is renewed annually; Summer and Fall/Full-Year study abroad participants who need to purchase HTH should wait until after May 1 to do so)

For more information:

Note: Maintain domestic health care coverage while abroad. Northwestern University requires all full-time students to have health insurance coverage during enrollment. Because HTH applies only while abroad, not while in the United States, study abroad participants are strongly encouraged to maintain domestic health insurance coverage while abroad to avoid any gaps in coverage. This is particularly important in case a medical emergency abroad requires the student to return home early for continued treatment or recovery.

Exemptions

Certain Study Abroad Programs

Some study abroad programs will facilitate the enrollment of their participants in HTH Worldwide coverage; therefore, participants in those programs need not enroll themselves. Currently, this applies to students who are participating in programs sponsored by:

  • Northwestern's Office of International Program Development (IPD)
  • Northwestern's Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI)
  • The following programs administered by Northwestern's Study Abroad Office: Barcelona Summer Program, Bonn Summer Program, Istanbul Summer Program, and Munich Nanotechnology Summer Program
  • Arcadia University (Note: Students attending Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand are required to purchase HTH through Northwestern.)
  • Bologna Consortial Studies Program (BCSP)
  • Middlebury Schools in China, Latin America & the Middle East
  • Sarah Lawrence: The British American Drama Academy

Several other programs with whom NU affiliates offer medical insurance and assistance coverage through CISI. The Office of Global Safety and Security has reviewed this plan and deemed it compatible to HTH, although there are some important differences in coverage that require acknowledgement. Such students may seek an exemption from the HTH purchase requirement, so long as they acknowledge an understanding of the differences between the policies. This exemption request must be made in writing to Beth.Osterlund@northwestern.edu at least six weeks prior to planned departure (some exceptions apply). The list of qualifying sponsors followed by a description of the coverage difference is provided below:

  • The Alliance for Global Education
  • Boston University
  • IES Abroad
  • The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University (IFSA-Butler)

Important Coverage Difference between CISI and HTH

  • The NU/HTH plan has a $0 deductible whereas the CISI plan has a $100 deductible. Under CISI, if a student seeks medical attention abroad they will incur out-of-pocket payments that are not reimbursable. Also, in most locations, students will have to pay upfront for non-emergency care, such as office visits. With HTH, students can seek treatment at a facility that will bill HTH directly.
    • The CISI prescription plan does not cover oral contraceptives, contraceptive devices or Plan B. Elective termination of a pregnancy is covered only to $500, and there is no maternity care or nursery care for a newborn child. The NU/HTH plan covers all of these things with no limits. 
    • Should the student experience a medical emergency in their study abroad destination (or another location in which they travel during the program), Northwestern’s Office of Global Safety and Security’s ability to assist will be limited if the student is not covered under the NU/HTH plan.
    • The CISI plan has more exclusions that bar coverage, such as hang-gliding, parasailing, parachuting, bungee jumping, car racing, horse racing and motorbike racing. The NU/HTH plan excludes only scuba diving, hang-gliding, parachuting and bungee jumping. This does not mean that students can’t participate in these activities, but it means that if they become ill or injured as a result of the experience, the cost for the care (which is likely to be expensive) would not be covered.

Other Programs Coverage Deemed Insufficient

The following programs’ international medical assistance and insurance plans have been reviewed by the Office of Global Safety and Security and have been deemed insufficient. Students enrolled in these programs must purchase the NU/HTH plan.

  • Council on International Education and Exchange (CIEE)
  • Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)
  • Sweet Briar College

If you are attending a study abroad program that is not on this list, but have verified that your program includes a plan provided by HTH or CISI, please email The Office of Global Safety and Security at globalsafety@northwestern.edu and include a copy of the plan for review.

Domestic Insurance Coverage Abroad

Domestic health care plans, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS), do not contain adequate provisions for health care coverage in countries outside the U.S. and cannot be substituted for an international plan.

Students Studying in Country of Citizenship
Students who study abroad in their country of citizenship may not required or eligible to purchase HTH. In order to receive a citizen exemption from purchasing HTH, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • The student is an international student (typically an F-1 or J-1 visa holder)
  • The student’s permanent residence is the same as the proposed country of study 
  • The student is registered or enrolled in a health care plan in the proposed country of study

Any student who believes they meet these conditions can call or write the Office of Global Safety and Security at globalsafety@northwestern.edu or (847) 467-3899 to confirm they qualify for a citizen exemption.