Healthcare and Insurance

Students should contact the Barnard Student Health Service at (212) 854-2091 to schedule a pre-travel visit 4-6 weeks in advance of your departure. You may need to update routine vaccines or you may need recommended or required vaccines based on travel destination (the CDC is our resource for recommendations: A pre-travel visit consists of any needed vaccination and travel health counseling. Travel health counseling covers topics such as water and food precautions and personal protective measures against mosquitoes and insects that carry disease. Depending on where your study abroad program takes you, you may need prescriptions for malaria, traveler's diarrhea, altitude sickness prevention and more.

Health Insurance and Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance

It is crucial that you are covered by a health insurance policy wherever you are in the world. Many health insurance policies only cover you in the United States, so be sure to read the details of your insurance policy. Additionally, it is essential that all students who study abroad purchase emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance. This is different from your general health insurance. You need to ensure that you will be covered in all cases of extreme emergency where you may need to leave the country where you are studying - either due to a natural disaster, political unrest, acts of terrorism, illness or an accident. 

If you are enrolled in Barnard's Aetna Student Health Insurance, you are covered under this insurance anywhere in the world for up to $1.25 million for each illness/injury. However, Barnard's Aetna Student Health insurance will not reimburse for wellness care e.g. physicals. For more information, go to their web site at or ask Elliot Wasserman, Department Manager at the Barnard College Student Health Service, phone 212 854-8305.

If you are currently enrolled in Barnard's Aetna Student Health insurance please note that you CANNOT opt out of it for one semester, you must be enrolled for the entire academic year.

If you have waived out of Barnard's Aetna Student Health Insurance you should be in contact with your insurance provider prior to going abroad to determine the parameters of your coverage. If your current insurance will not cover you for health care overseas there are a number of companies that offer medical expense insurance coverage specifically for people studying or traveling abroad. In addition, you should check to see if your insurance offers medical evacuation, repatriation and travel assistance coverage. Should your insurance not have the extra evacuation and repatriation coverage, you may purchase this coverage separately from Aetna Student Health or another provider. More information about On Call International, the extra evacuation and repatriation coverage from Aetna Student Health, can be found here:

You may be asked to pay for additional health insurance (over and above your family's and/or Barnard's Student Health insurance) through your program.   In some cases the medical insurance offered by your program can be waived because you have insurance through your parents or Barnard.  In other cases you must purchase the program's required insurance, regardless. This is usually due to requirements in the country in which you will be studying. Check with your program about their requirements and the services that will be provided in country. 

Please note that the services of a doctor or hospital treatments abroad usually require a cash payment up front. You will then need to request receipts and ask for reimbursement once you've returned to the US.

Any student who is a member of the Aetna Student Health insurance is automatically enrolled in On-Call International which is an emergency evacuation/repatriation plan. It is also a helpful guide to everything healthcare in the country where you will be studying.  Barnard students who are not covered by Aetna Student Health may also purchase emergency insurance through them.  Please see their website for more information. Many study abroad programs require that you purchase their emergency evacuation coverage so that all of their students are on the same plan.