Resource Library

Tipsheet
African American man in a manual wheelchair strolls along with others in Japan

What To Do When Insurance Doesn't Cover It

Participants who receive funding for a personal assistant through Medicaid or other government support are not able to use that funding once outside their home country. Travel insurance companies typically do not pay for personal assistants for daily care overseas or durable medical equipment that is not related to a first occurrence of an illness or injury overseas.

Since these costs are unlikely to be covered for people with existing needs, exchange programs or institutions should work with a participant to cover the costs.

Tipsheet
A woman in a red suitcoat listens intently to another woman talking

Health Insurance: 8 Steps for Exchange Advisors to Take

By removing health insurance barriers, you can support diverse students to safely participate in your international exchange programs.With these options in place, it shouldn’t prevent qualified individuals from participating in exchanges and alleviate some of the difficult health cost issues that exchange staff and students need to deal with during the program.

Tipsheet
Two people in conversation near railing of a ship on the ocean, photographed from above. The young man is seated in a wheelchair.

Does Medicaid or Medicare Cover Me Abroad?

If you are a Medicaid recipient, you may be dropped from enrollment in the medical plans if you do not keep a U.S. state residence or address or if you lose your SSI eligibility (see our tipsheet on "SSI, SSDI & International Exchange" for more). Loss of enrollment creates a gap of coverage upon return home from traveling abroad, especially if the travel health insurance does not cover you in your home country.

Tipsheet
Crowds visit a Japanese temple

3 Ways to Get Health Coverage While Overseas

Know what options exist or how to plan for health coverage while on an exchange program if you have pre-existing conditions or need ongoing medications and treatment while abroad.

Tipsheet
Woman getting henna painted on the palm of her hand

Why Pre-Existing Conditions Matter in Insurance

Plans offered to international exchange participants for less than a year of coverage are not fully licensed products so changes to U.S. health laws through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not apply. These plans can increase costs, have pre-existing condition exclusions, or deny enrollment to an individual based on health status.

Tipsheet
Two young women are signing to each other while smiling.

Deaf International Exchange Opportunities

As a Deaf/Hard of Hearing individual, you have the right to apply to and participate in any type of international exchange program that fits your interests and goals! Exchange program providers and universities have worked with many participants to arrange sign language interpreters abroad, real-time captioning, CART and other technologies. If you are specifically interested in focusing on Deaf/Hard of Hearing issues or learning alongside other members of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community, read on to learn about opportunities that might interest you.

Tipsheet
Ethnically diverse study abroad students with disabilities

Students with Disabilities in Education Abroad Statistics

The number of students with disabilities participating in study abroad is likely to increase in the coming years - be ready for them! These surveys look at overall satisfaction, disability supports, and participation levels of students with disabilities.

Tipsheet
Four international students

Statistics: International Students who Use Disability Services Report Satisfaction

Seven percent of the international students to the U.S. said they use disability services, according to i-graduate's International Student Barometer.

The majority (89%) of these students reported they are satisfied with overall learning, living, and support services overseas. This is similar as other USA-destination international students in the survey who do not use disability services (90%).

Tipsheet
Wheelchair user in Prague historic square

Statistics on U.S. College-Level Study Abroad Students with Disabilities

The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange shows that among U.S. post-secondary institutions, where the disability status of study abroad students is known, 8.8% of study abroad students had disabilities in 2015/16 (which is up 3.5% from the previous year). This year 341 institutions reported that they had 5,641 U.S. students studying abroad with a disability in 2015/16, compared to 322 institutions reporting 3,831 disabled study abroad students in the previous report.

Tipsheet
Reading codes of conduct

Codes of Conduct and Exchange Participants with Disabilities

Having a disability does not exempt participants from the terms of the code of conduct (sometimes called behavior agreements) or from experiencing consequences for violating the code.

Providing all participants with site-specific information about the services and support available abroad can reduce the likelihood that a participant with a disability will violate a code of conduct.

For example:

Tipsheet
Hard of Hearing woman asking a question

Negotiating Your Accommodations

Remember that you are your own expert on your disability and how it might impact your participation in international exchange! Recognize that the exchange professionals you are working with may not already be familiar with certain types of accommodations, disability resources, or a country’s level of accessibility. Help in doing thorough research and build effective communication on what access you need.

Tipsheet
German sheppard service dog takes a break and looks intently at its owner

Caring for Your Guide Dog or Service Animal Abroad

Learn tips for what to take along from food and supplements to climate considerations. Also suggestions on how to keep your guide dog/service animal healthy while traveling internationally.

Tipsheet
Exchange group with one person holding a white cane smiles for the camera.

Should I Take My Guide Dog or Service Animal?

As capable as you and your guide dog/service animal may be together, many people with disabilities find the amount of assistance they need when traveling goes up simply because some of the things they count on at home do not exist in this new environment.

Tipsheet
Bahraini and American young men wearing traditional head scarves

Strategies for Addressing Cultural Disability Differences

By your very presence, and by your active participation in an international exchange experience, you can help challenge negative perceptions. People with disabilities who have traveled abroad have tried a variety of strategies.

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