Insurance

All students are required to have GW’s GeoBlue international health insurance policy when traveling abroad on GW-affiliated travel. Students studying abroad on a GW Study Program, GW Exchange Program, or select Provider Programs will be enrolled in GeoBlue insurance by the Office for Study Abroad. 

Once the Office for Study Abroad enrolls students in the GeoBlue health insurance plan, GeoBlue will notify the enrolled students via email. The notification email will detail next steps for the student to register their GeoBlue account, download their GeoBlue ID card, and access GeoBlue tools and resources.

The GeoBlue coverage complements students' regular U.S. primary health insurance coverage. It is important that all students and their emergency contacts familiarize themselves with the policy coverage and exclusions. International insurance includes many coverage benefits that differ from domestic coverage, such as medical evacuation, but some standard domestic coverage benefits, such as routine examinations, are often excluded.

For all GW study abroad students, insurance charges for GW GeoBlue and, if applicable, Provider program insurance, are included within a student’s tier fee or program fee and will not appear as a separate charge on their GW eBill.

In the event that Insurance charges do appear on a student’s account, these charges are often related to GW’s Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). The Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan can be waived annually at the beginning of the Academic Year if a student has comparable domestic insurance. For more information on SHIP, please contact the Colonial Health Center at [email protected] or visit their website. The Office for Study Abroad is not involved in the administration of the Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan and cannot advise on the coverage or waiver process.

Though it is possible for a student going abroad to waive the GW Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan, the student risks experiencing a gap in health insurance coverage if they waive their on-campus insurance for the term(s) they are abroad. GW’s Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan does not offer short term/continuation of coverage options. Students either waive or enroll for the full Fall Semester or Spring Semester - there is no "per day" option. GW does not recommend that students waive the Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan unless they already have alternative domestic insurance coverage.

Travel insurance is not included within GeoBlue’s coverage or GW Study Abroad costs. Travel insurance is considered coverage for personal belongings, lost or damaged luggage, or disrupted/cancelled travel and helps protect a student or family financially in the event of unforeseen changes and interruptions to travel plans. 

GW Office for Study Abroad recommends that students consider purchasing travel insurance to cover some of the larger personal expenses, such as airfare, associated with study abroad. GW will not reimburse these expenses in the event of trip cancellation or disruption. It is important to review any travel insurance plan information prior to purchase or prior to making any official payments for upcoming study abroad travel. Some plans may only provide coverage for qualifying events, while others may offer “cancel for any reason” coverage. Many travel insurance providers will only approve coverage if the insurance is purchased shortly after the first travel-related payments are made.

A student participating in an external non-GW program may be required by the program provider to enroll in a separate international health insurance policy that the provider will consider primary coverage while abroad. 

A student participating in a direct enroll or exchange program may be required to purchase the host country’s domestic insurance coverage for the duration of their time in the host country. 

Regardless of the program’s insurance requirements, all GW study abroad participants will be enrolled in the GW GeoBlue health insurance plan. We recognize that, in some cases, students will end up with double coverage while abroad. 

Though students may be covered by more than one insurance plan, comparing the provisions of two policies rarely leads to the unilateral conclusion that one is "stronger" than the other in all areas.  Each policy will have unique coverage exclusions and limitations. For instance, many international policies do not cover pre-existing conditions or certain types of mental health support. Because benefits and coverage limits can vary, the GW GeoBlue insurance coverage requirement provides a standard, predictable level of coverage and support that can be accessed in a medical or security emergency. For students required to purchase a foreign domestic insurance plan, the GW GeoBlue insurance also provides access to evacuation, repatriation, and other essential international medical services that are not included in most foreign domestic insurance plans.