Getting Medical Attention

Healthcare in the United States is excellent, and CIEE provides health insurance as a program benefit to most students. Students from Ireland are covered by MAPFRE, and may call 1-646-254-3539 to learn more about their medical coverage. If you are from a country other than Ireland, please call 1-888-268-6245 or email if you have any questions about your coverage.

In Case of Emergency
If you have an emergency and need assistance right away from the police or ambulance, dial 911 from any telephone.

Only use this number in a true emergency. In some cities, you could be fined if you abuse the 911 service.

Understanding U.S. Healthcare & Insurance
Unlike some other countries, the U.S. healthcare system is not uniform and there is no universal health care insurance coverage. There is an ultimate safety net for injured people. Emergency rooms must care for anyone who walks in, regardless of their ability to pay. Nevertheless, if you can pay for medical care, you are expected to do so. This is why the U.S. government recently passed a law requiring all citizens to purchase healthcare insurance. For most students, CIEE includes health insurance as part of your program benefits.

When you see a doctor, you will be asked for your insurance identification card and will probably have to pay a small fee, called a co-payment (or “co-pay”). For most visits, CIEE insurance includes a co-pay of $50.

About Your Health Insurance
CIEE has a special team of insurance experts to assist you with information about your policy, and can answer any questions you may have about your insurance plan. Send an email to anytime.

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. More than 672,000 healthcare providers accept Aetna insurance.

CIEE insurance covers some medical expenses, including emergencies and most sudden illnesses.

Not Covered by CIEE Health 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.

Always carry your insurance identification card.

Your insurance identification card is your proof of insurance and is located on your confirmation of insurance form. You must show your card when seeking medical treatment. If you can’t provide it, you may be asked to pay more than your co-pay at the time of the visit. This can be very expensive.

If You Need Medical Attention
If you require medical attention, you must contact CIEE as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention immediately if you need help. Your health is the most important thing.

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.

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, and private physicians.

The quickest and most convenient way to get medical treatment for non-emergency situations is to go to a walk-in clinic or urgent care center.

These Facilities Offer:

- Weekend and evenings hours
- Shorter waiting times than an emergency room
- Lower costs
- No need for an appointment for a doctor to see you

Emergency rooms and hospitals are for life-threatening situations. If you feel your life is in danger, go directly to the closest hospital immediately and contact CIEE as soon as possible. Note that if you go to the emergency room for a non-emergency, you will most likely have to wait several hours to be seen and could incur substantial costs.

Also, ambulances are for medical emergencies only. If you need to go to the hospital or clinic but it is not life-threatening, take transportation such as a cab, bus, or subway, or ask a friend to drive you.

Prescription Medicine
If you currently take medication, bring enough to last the duration of the program. 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 will have to visit a U.S. doctor. Your prescription from home is not valid in the United States.
- If you need medicine after you arrive in the United States, contact CIEE for additional assistance.

Dental Care
Your policy has limited dental coverage. CIEE recommends seeing a dentist prior to departure from your home country. For complete dental coverage information please visit the CIEE insurance website.

Mental health
If you require counseling or the services of a psychiatrist, please call CIEE at 1-888-268-6245.

Please complete your health and medical safety form as accurately as possible for CIEE to provide you the support you need.