The University of Chicago

Insurance Information

Health Insurance

While on a study abroad program, students must be covered by the University's Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP) or by a comparable health insurance plan that is valid in the program country. We recommend that students use U-SHIP because of the comprehensive range of benefits the plan provides internationally. For information about U-SHIP, please contact the on-campus insurance office at or 773-834-4543 (select option 2).

Students not covered by U-SHIP must have a comparable health insurance plan that is valid in the program country. In many countries, it is customary to make immediate upfront payments for medical services; then, upon return to the U.S., students request reimbursement from their insurer. Participants intending to use an alternative policy must confirm with their insurance provider that the coverage is international.

In cases where an alternative policy provides no coverage or emergency-only coverage for international travel, students must either subscribe to U-SHIP (full-year only) or purchase supplementary short-term travel insurance. Here follows a short list (in no particular order) of insurance companies that provide such coverage. The University of Chicago makes no endorsement of any insurance provider.

In evaluating health insurance options, please keep in mind that many short-term travel plans have exclusions for services or benefits typically covered by student, employer, and private insurance plans. Please consider carefully the risks associated with a plan that may have any of these exclusions:

  • Pre-existing conditions (with no limitations for time periods or dollar thresholds)
  • Mental health treatment, either in-patient or out-patient
  • Injuries related to participation in sports or athletics
  • Injuries or sickness related to alcohol use
  • Self-inflicted injury
  • STDs and pregnancy

Please note that some parental insurance policies only cover students up to age 21. Students who are covered by a parental policy should confirm that this coverage extends through the full term of the program.

Upon accepting an offer of admission to a study abroad program, students will be asked to complete the Study Abroad Health Insurance Coverage Form indicating that their insurance is international.

Mental Health Abroad

Students traveling abroad should keep in mind that attitudes toward psychological conditions vary by culture and can affect the availability of mental health treatment abroad. We encourage you to give serious consideration to your personal circumstances when accepting a place in a program.

Prior to departure you will want to check with your insurance provider to confirm whether mental health coverage is included in your policy while traveling overseas. If you are seeing a therapist or counselor at home, you should speak with him/her about the feasibility of your plans for travel and any continued treatment while away. Because long-distance sessions (via phone or Skype) typically are not adequate for mental health treatment, your provider may encourage you to postpone travel or seek out a local mental health professional abroad. The on-site program staff may be able to provide recommendations for local, English-speaking mental health professionals, though please keep in mind that the breadth of resources available will not be what it is at home.

Even with insurance, as with any health services abroad, it is customary to make immediate upfront payments for mental health services out-of-pocket and submit the receipts for reimbursement to your insurer when you return home. Please keep in mind that upfront payments can be costly and should be taken into consideration when making plans to travel abroad. 

Travel Insurance

For students participating in our programs, UChicago Study Abroad arranges automatic membership at no extra cost to the student in a travel and health assistance program provided by International SOS. This program provides coverage of some costs associated with medical emergencies, illness and security issues overseas, as well as useful contacts for assistance with medical or legal issues. The International SOS program does not remove a student’s obligation to have separate and full medical insurance while abroad. Additional details and a policy number will be provided to program participants prior to departure.

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