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Emergency Messages

Health Insurance for Students and Employees Abroad


Northwestern students still abroad should be enroll in the NU GeoBlue health insurance plan unless covered by a local plan in their country of citizenship. If you need to extend your stay, be sure to renew (extend) your coverage for the extra days abroad. Use the Northwestern GeoBlue enrollment portal to purchase a new policy or renew (extend) your current one.

Faculty and staff are automatically covered by GeoBlue for Employees if traveling on Northwestern-affiliated travel.  However, the duration limit on the GeoBlue for Employees plan is 180 days (roughly 6 months).  If travel exceeds 180 days, a separate GeoBlue plan can be purchased for the additional time, and reimbursement may be honored on a case-by-case basis if the long-term travel is related to university business; please email to register for the extension.

 To help reduce potential exposure, GeoBlue encourages all travelers 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 details on how to use the Global TeleMD service to for a same day medical consultation. Remote consultations via Global TeleMD can be used as many times as you need to for as long as you are enrolled in GeoBlue. 

GeoBlue has also taken the following actions to ensure members get the care they need in light of COVID-19:

  • GeoBlue will cover, with no cost-share to members, medically-necessary, prescribed diagnostic testing for the virus, known officially as COVID-19, consistent with U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
  • This coverage includes the cost of the COVID-19 test, physician/doctor consultation fee and associated costs related to administering the COVID-19 test.
  • GeoBlue will waive prior authorizations for medically-necessary, prescribed tests and covered services related to COVID-19, consistent with CDC guidelines.
  • If an eligible member contracts COVID-19, the GeoBlue medical plan would cover eligible medical costs, including quarantine in a hospital/medical setting. It would not cover preventive quarantine in a hotel, cruise ship or any other location.
  • The plan would cover medical evacuation if deemed medically appropriate for the illness/injury, subject to the usual plan provisions.  The plan does not cover voluntary departure from a country with rapid COVID-19 spread.

COVID-19 Update


On March 4, NU President Morton Schapiro announced that Northwestern-sponsored Spring Break trips to international destinations involving undergraduate and graduate/professional school students are canceled due to multiple factors associated with the spread of COVID-19 here and abroad. Faculty and staff were asked to defer any non-essential international travel.

News and resources for the Northwestern community have been posted on a new website including additional updates on other University-sponsored Global Travel.  Updates specifically on undergraduate study abroad travel are posted on the Global Learning Office's website COVID-19 Study Abroad FAQs.

Guidance on University Travel to Cuba


Travel to Cuba continues to become increasingly complicated and governed by the U. S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  Due to OFAC restrictions, travel to Cuba is limited.  Only persons whose travel falls into certain categories may be authorized to spend money on travel to Cuba.  The Office of Export Controls Compliance has created Guidance on University-Authorized Travel to Cuba  to outline specific requirements.  At this time, credit-bearing travel remains permissible, but graduate students and employees should work with Northwestern's Office for Export Controls Compliance to determine whether or not their planned university-sponsored non-credit travel to Cuba can proceed. Undergraduates should contact OGSS in the very early stages of travel planning for non-credit travel.