Health and Accident Insurance

Participants in UCSC Faculty-led and UCSC Global Exchanges will be covered by two types of health/accident insurance: 1) blanket medical insurance provided by GeoBlue and 2) UC accident/incident benefit plan, commonly known as UC Traveler Insurance (Chubb), which is provided to all students and staff participating in UC programs. Students going on UCSC Domestic Exchange programs can use UC SHIP or their personal insurance.

Students participating in UCEAP have access to Chubb coverage. In regards to medical insurance, information for UCEAP participants is available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad. Students participating in Non-UC Study Abroad (NUCSA)Programs are responsible for securing medical insurance on their own. If you are relying on a private medical insurance plan, check the coverage for foreign travel – you may want to consider purchasing insurance that is specifically designed for travel, whether by GeoBlue or other reputable providers. Students participating in NUCSA Programs should also consider whether or not insurance is included through their program provider.

Please note that certain high risk activities—such as moped/motorcycle driving, horseback riding, skin/scuba diving, skiing, mountain climbing, bungee jumping, skydiving, hang gliding, amateur racing, and piloting of aircraft or riding in any aircraft (except as a passenger on a regularly scheduled airline or charter flight)—are NOT covered by GeoBlue or UC Traveler Insurance. Please review and consider the exclusions of any insurance you may obtain privately.

For any program, if you are engaging in personal travel beyond the program dates, you may want to consider options for Extended Travel Insurance, and if you are returning to the US without domestic medical insurance in place, you may want to consider Gap Insurance. Also, while Chubb includes Trip Cancellation Insurance, you may be interested in obtaining more extensive coverage from other sources.

GeoBlue Travel Health Insurance

GeoBlue Global Health Insurance is provided to UCSC Faculty-led and UCSC Global Exchange participants by UCSC Study Abroad to ensure quality overseas health coverage for participants. The GeoBlue plan will help you to manage existing and unanticipated health conditions while you are abroad. It includes coverage for office visits, hospital care, surgery, and prescription drugs. Coverage highlights are outlined here:

You will be provided with a GeoBlue insurance card that you should carry with you at all times while you are abroad.

Please note that UC Santa Cruz policy dictates that GeoBlue coverage cannot be used as a basis for canceling your UC SHIP coverage while you are abroad. If you are considering canceling your private, non-UC SHIP insurance coverage while you are abroad, you should plan carefully to ensure that you have coverage in place when you return since GeoBlue coverage applies only when you are abroad (not through the beginning of the next quarter, as UC SHIP does).

While many US medical insurance plans include coverage for overseas travel, UCSC Study Abroad provides coverage from GeoBlue because it has been designed specifically with travelers in mind. GeoBlue has established a network of English-speaking, Western-trained physicians in over 180 countries. You are also covered for care from physicians outside of their network, and GeoBlue may be able to pay directly for your expenses so that you do not have to pay out-of-pocket. In addition, GeoBlue provides a smartphone app that can help you search for physicians, schedule appointments on short notice and translate medical terms.

Remember, if you are in an emergency situation, always seek the nearest available help! You are not required to contact GeoBlue before receiving treatment, but if the situation allows it, it can be helpful. For example, if you are planning to see a physician or seek services from a facility not within the GeoBlue network and you communicate with GeoBlue prior to your appointment, GeoBlue may be able to pay for the services directly. Otherwise, you may have to pay upfront and then get reimbursed by submitting a claim form.

One of the advantages of GeoBlue’s extensive physician network is that you can plan ahead for existing conditions. Before leaving the US, you can use GeoBlue’s online database to identify specialists in the location you are visiting, so that you know who to contact if complications arise while you are abroad. This applies to physical and mental conditions. GeoBlue does not cover preventative health care, so get your annual check-up before you leave the US.

UC Traveler Insurance

UC Traveler insurance coverage is a catastrophic accident/incident travel benefit plan provided to students and staff participating in UC programs. The plan includes travel help provided by UnitedHealthcare Global Assistance, which provides services worldwide for emergency medical transportation, medical referrals, case monitoring, claims management, identity theft resolution, and facilitation of direct payment to medical providers. It is important to note that this coverage is intended as a supplement to medical insurance, not as a replacement since it does not cover non-emergency medical costs. This coverage also includes benefits (with limits) for trip cancellation or interruption and loss of personal property, including luggage.

UCSC Study Abroad will directly register UCSC Faculty-led and UCSC Global Exchange students for insurance coverage. The policy number and contact numbers for services will be provided to you on your emergency contact card.

Non-UC Study Abroad Program participants should register themselves on the website for UC Traveler Insurance Coverage. For a Benefits Summary, FAQs, and claim forms scroll down the page to the heading for “Student resources & claims.”

UCEAP will directly enroll UCEAP participants in a travel insurance policy that is different than the UC Traveler Insurance Coverage for other off-campus programs.  The policy number, contact information, benefits and exclusions, and claims process can be found in the Insurance chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.

Extended Overseas Travel Coverage

There are a variety of options to consider for travel insurance if you will be engaging in personal travel beyond the dates of your program, that is if you plan to arrive at the site before the program begins or to travel after the program ends. Please note first that:

  • UC Traveler insurance includes coverage before and after program dates for 7 days (total) of personal deviation for foreign travel or 3 days for domestic travel.
  • The Mandatory UCEAP Insurance Plan coverage begins several days before the official start of the program and ends several days after the official end of the program begin coverage. Consult the UCEAP Guide for details.

If you wish to extend coverage beyond the allowances for personal deviation, go to the Risk Services website, scroll down to Personal Travel, and click on “UC Personal Travel Program” to read a full description of the coverage, access the brochure and/or enroll.

To obtain extended medical coverage from GeoBlue or other providers, you must do so yourself directly (usually it can be done online). UCEAP participants can apply for up to three months of extended medical insurance coverage, as explained in the UCEAP Guide.

Gap Coverage for Domestic Insurance

Short-term health insurance or “gap” coverage is typically relevant in situations in which your UC SHIP or private domestic insurance is not active for a period when you are in the US prior to or after your study abroad program. UC Santa Cruz does not recommend any specific providers for gap coverage, which is available from a number of private companies. 

Trip Cancellation Coverage

The trip cancellation benefit provided by UC Traveler insurance has a limit of $2000 in total (not per incident or item). It covers airfare and prepaid housing, but not course fees. It only applies if the cancellation is due to great injury or death, not in the case of emergencies such as financial distress.