Student Travel

The U.S. health care system is probably quite different from what you are used to in your home country. Your insurance provided by CIEE is through Aetna, which includes over 672,000 medical providers throughout the U.S.

Because understanding the U.S. health care system can be complicated, CIEE has a special Insurance team to assist participants. It is best to carefully read the details of your insurance coverage before you enter the U.S. If you have any questions or concerns, you should contact your representative or email the CIEE insurance team at

CIEE Insurance

Your travel insurance policy is designed to cover your medical expenses during a temporary stay in the U.S. As a general rule, your insurance will cover medical emergencies and most sicknesses, but routine examinations, vaccinations, regular dental treatment, or vision services will not be covered. As is usual with these types of limited policies, there is no coverage for 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 U.S.

Always carry your Insurance ID card

In the U.S., you must show proof of insurance when you need medical treatment. If you do not have proof of insurance, you may be asked to pay more than your co-pay at the time of the visit. This can be very expensive. Be sure to write your DS-2019 number on your insurance ID card and carry it with you in your wallet at all times!

Getting Medical Attention

How do you find a doctor?

  • Call CIEE for assistance
  • Go online to find Doctors, Hospitals, Clinics, and Emergency Rooms

The quickest and most convenient way for you to get medical treatment for non-emergency situations is to go to a walk-in clinic or urgent care center. Benefits of these facilities include:

  • They are open on weekends and often in the evenings
  • The wait is usually much shorter than an emergency room
  • The cost is less than visiting an emergency room
  • You do not have to make an appointment nor have a relationship with the doctor to be seen and treated

Emergency rooms and hospitals are for life-threatening situations. If you feel your life is in danger, go directly to the closest hospital for treatment and contact CIEE as soon as possible. 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 higher costs than your co-pay. 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. Ambulances are for medical emergencies only.

When do you call 911?
This is the emergency line in the U.S. that links directly to the local police station in your area. If you have an emergency and need assistance from the police or ambulance, dial 911. Do not call this number if it is not an emergency;in some cities, you could be fined.


  • If you currently take medication and will continue this medication while on the program, you should bring enough to last the duration of the program, and you should have all these products 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 U.S. 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 US. CIEE recommends you bring enough medication for the duration of your program. Note that the dispensing of birth control is not a free service in the United States, nor is it covered by your insurance.
  • If you need medicine after you arrive in the U.S., please contact CIEE for additional assistance.

Your policy has limited dental coverage. CIEE recommends seeing a dentist prior to coming on your program. For complete dental coverage information please visit the insurance website at:


CIEE has a 24 hour emergency support line for program participants. Emergencies include the following:

  • Death or medical emergency
  • If you’ve been the victim of a crime
  • Arrests
  • Urgent counseling

If you have an emergency, call the CIEE 24 hour phone number: 1.888.268.6245

Call 911 for the Police or other emergency services. You'll be asked questions, try to answer them as clearly and carefully as you can. Police and medical or fire crews will be sent to your location.