Health Insurance and Medical Attention
UNDERSTANDING U.S. HEALTH CARE AND INSURANCE
The U.S. health care system may be quite different from what you are used to in your home country. It’s not uniform, and there is no universal health care insurance coverage. Fortunately for most interns, CIEE includes health insurance as part of your program benefits.
All medical facilities and doctors accept payment through health insurance, but not every doctor accepts every insurance plan. CIEE insurance is through one of America’s premier providers, Aetna, and is accepted by more than 672,000 health care providers. If you need medical attention, you should always choose a health care provider who is part of Aetna’s network; otherwise, you might have to pay the full cost of treatment. We can help you find a doctor who accepts your insurance, or you can go to the CIEE insurance website and use our "doctor finder" tool.
Always carry your insurance identification card
Your insurance identification card is your proof of insurance and is located on your confirmation of insurance form. When you see a doctor, you’ll be asked for your insurance identification card and probably will have to pay a fee, called a co-payment (or “co-pay”). For most visits, CIEE insurance requires a co-pay of $50.
If you can’t provide your insurance identification card, you may be asked to pay more than your co-pay at the time of the visit. This can be very expensive!
What’s covered by insurance?
CIEE insurance covers some medical expenses, including emergencies and most sudden illnesses.
What's not covered by insurance?
- Routine examinations, vaccinations, regular dental treatment, and vision services (take care of these needs before you travel to the United States)
- Expenses related to pre-existing conditions. If you suffer from a chronic disease (such as asthma or diabetes), you need to ensure that your health insurance at home covers you for any costs related to these sicknesses while in the United States
A little confusing? We can help!
CIEE has a special team of insurance experts to assist you with information about your health insurance policy. They can answer any questions you have about your insurance plan. Send an email anytime.
GETTING MEDICAL ATTENTION
In the United States, there are hospitals with emergency rooms for serious illness and injuries, immediate-care clinics (also called “walk-in” or “urgent care” clinics) for smaller problems, as well as private physicians.
The quickest and most convenient way to get medical treatment for nonemergency situations is to go to a walk-in clinic or urgent care center. These facilities offer:
- Convenient weekend and evening hours
- Shorter waiting times than an emergency room
- Lower costs
- No need for an appointment for a doctor to see you
In case of emergency
If you have a serious emergency and need assistance right away from the police or an ambulance, dial 911 from any telephone. Only use this number in a true emergency, if you feel your life is in danger!
- Emergency rooms and hospitals are for life-threatening situations. If you’re able, go immediately to the closest hospital, and contact CIEE as soon as possible. Note that if you go to the emergency room for a nonemergency, you most likely will have to wait several hours to be seen and could incur substantial costs.
- Ambulances are for serious medical emergencies only. If you need to go to the hospital or clinic but your situation is not life-threatening, take transportation such as a cab, a bus, or the subway, or ask a friend to drive you.
Other Medical Services
If you currently take medication, bring enough to last the duration of your internship. Medications should be properly packaged and labeled before leaving your home country.
Please check with your local embassy about any specific documents you may need to enter the United States with this medication.
If you lose or run out of your medication, you’ll have to visit a U.S. doctor. Your prescription from home will not be valid in the United States. If you need medicine after you arrive in the United States, contact CIEE for additional assistance.
Your policy has limited dental coverage. CIEE recommends seeing a dentist before leaving your home country. For complete dental coverage information, visit the CIEE insurance website.
If you require counseling or the services of a psychiatrist, call CIEE at 1-888-268-6245.