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Emergency Messages

Updated Health Insurance Information for Students and Employees Abroad



Northwestern students still abroad should be enrolled in the NU GeoBlue health insurance plan unless covered by an approved local plan. This does not include international students who have returned to their country of citizenship. If you need to extend your stay, be sure to extend your coverage using the Northwestern GeoBlue enrollment portal.

Faculty and staff are automatically covered by GeoBlue for Employees if traveling on Northwestern-affiliated travel. Generally, the plan’s duration is 180 days (roughly 6 months), however, until May 31, 2020, an extension of coverage is being offered for two reasons. If the traveler is unable to return due to a government-imposed travel restriction in effect at the end of the covered 180-period, coverage will be extended for a trip length of up to 365 days.  Likewise, if the traveler is unable to return due to a documented diagnosis or exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19, coverage will be extended until the end of the quarantine or isolation period. 

To help reduce potential exposure, GeoBlue encourages all its travelers (students and employees) abroad to use the new telemedicine service, Global TeleMD. Global TeleMD provides 24/7 confidential access to a global network of medical doctors via telephone or secure video call at no additional cost. Go to Remote Care Services for instructions. The plan does not cover voluntary departure from a country with rapid COVID-19 spread.

Please continue to consult the Northwestern COVID-19 website Global and Domestic Travel FAQs for the most up-to-date information on the current situation.


 For students enrolled in the NU-SHIP plan who have left Evanston (including those abroad), the NU-SHIP Plan:

  • Covers 80% of in-network medical expenses with no claim limit, after a student meets their one-time $250 deductible. Students are responsible for the remaining 20%
  • Pays 100% of medical expenses, once the $2,000 out-of-pocket maximum is satisfied
  • Provides mental health care at 80% with a $20 co-insurance cap
  • Covers prescription medications, after copay
  • Has no exclusions for pre-existing conditions or travel outside the US
Students outside Illinois will be able to find in-network providers on the Aetna Student Health website. Students abroad will need to pay all costs up front and then submit their claims to Aetna for reimbursement.

To learn more about resources available for COVID-19, refer to the Student Health Insurance FAQs or contact