International Insurance

Traveling Outside the U.S.

All students traveling abroad in connection with their University of Minnesota studies are required to obtain international travel, health, and security insurance approved by the University’s Risk Management Office.  The University of Minnesota provides mandatory international insurance coverage though Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). The CISI coverage is required for faculty and staff who do not carry medical benefits through the University of Minnesota. Faculty and staff leading students abroad also must be covered by the CISI insurance policy. CISI is not available for personal or non-University travel.

Note: The travel, health and security insurance coverage through CISI is specifically exempt from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and was not intended to and does not satisfy a person’s obligation to secure minimum essential coverage beginning in 2014 under the ACA. The University encourages travelers to consult with their legal counsel or tax adviser for information on their obligations under the ACA.

Contact: Kaoru Nunn at nunnx016@umn.edu or 612-626-8832

Who Must Obtain Insurance?

University-issued international insurance, with coverage by Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), is mandatory for the following:

Students

  • All students participating in credit bearing programs (e.g., study abroad, internships abroad for credit)
  • All students participating in sponsored or co-sponsored non-credit bearing experiential programs (e.g., work, intern, research, volunteer, conference, workshop, athletics, and University Campus Life Programs abroad)
  • All students traveling as part of a group with other UMN students, faculty or staff
  • All students approved for travel by the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC)
  • All students traveling to Cuba for University purposes
  • All recent graduates—for up to one term after graduation—participating in University of Minnesota sponsored or co-sponsored credit and non-credit programs

Faculty and Staff

  • All University of Minnesota faculty and staff traveling abroad with students
  • All University of Minnesota faculty and staff traveling to Cuba for University purposes
  • All University of Minnesota faculty and staff who are NOT covered by FrontierMEDEX through a U-Plan

Note: Some departments, units, or programs may have internal policies to require CISI coverage, so check with your your department, unit, or program coordinator.

Opting Out

The following categories of faculty, staff and/or students may opt-out of mandatory purchasing of CISI per Office of General Counsel and Office of Risk Management. These travelers can still purchase CISI insurance, but it is not required. Qualified individuals who choose to opt-out are still required to complete the international travel registration.

Students

  • A graduate student who is not traveling with faculty, staff, and other students and who has the FrontierMEDEX assistance plan as part of a graduate assistantship
  • A graduate student who is not traveling with faculty, staff and other students and who is covered under the U of M’s Academic Health Center U.S. health insurance plan, which includes the FrontierMEDEX assistance plan:
    • Division of Dental Hygiene
    • Medical School and Graduate Medical Education
    • Physical Therapy Program
    • Program in Clinical Laboratory Science
    • Program of Mortuary Science
    • Program in Occupational Therapy
    • School of Dentistry
    • School of Nursing
    • School of Pharmacy
    • School of Public Health
    • Veterinary Medicine
  • Registered Student Organization (RSO) activities abroad because unlike University Campus Life Programs, RSOs have no direct relationship to the University.

Faculty and Staff

  • All staff and faculty who have U.S. health insurance through the University of Minnesota and are covered by the MedEx assistance plan and not traveling with any students.

Student Insurance Process

Students should purchase or opt out of CISI insurance within the online student international travel registration system.  Students must register travel regardless of insurance decisions or needs.

  1. Log in to the Student International Travel Registry (new online form) system.
  2. Complete the Personal Information, Travel Plans, and Emergency Contact Information.
  3. Select Purchase CISI International Insurance or Opt out of CISI International Insurance.
  4. Provide your Payment Information, if you purchase CISI.
  5. If you select to opt out of CISI, you must provide a photocopy of your U.S. health insurance card (see "Opting Out" in the Mandatory Insurance tab). Otherwise, you will be automatically enrolled in CISI
  6. If applying for dependents, a spouse, or domestic partner's insurance, the application and payment must be sent directly to CISI.

Students studying abroad through an Education Abroad Office listed below should NOT purchase CISI through the travel registry. Please contact your education abroad office for more information:

Note: The U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Guam, and the U.S. minor outlying islands will be treated as international locations for the purposes of CISI insurance.

Retain the U.S. Health Insurance While Traveling Abroad

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), people residing in the U.S. will be required to obtain health insurance.  In addition, the University of Minnesota requires students who are admitted to a degree program and registered for six or more credits per semester to have U.S. health insurance coverage. This University requirement applies even while students are participating in education abroad opportunities.

CISI insurance does not qualify as U.S. health insurance because the coverage begins when you leave the US and ends upon your return to the U.S.  As a result, you need your U.S. insurance to cover you before and after your program or activities abroad. Since the GPS Alliance or Education Abroad Office does not verify U.S. health insurance enrollment, it is each student’s responsibility to understand the ACA and University requirements and to retain the U.S. health insurance even while traveling abroad.

Note: If you study abroad through a program provided by the Education Abroad Office and you have coverage through the University of Minnesota’s Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) for the semester prior to their term overseas, you will automatically be enrolled for the time you'll be abroad. Contact the Office of Student Health Benefits with any questions at 612-624-0627, 1-800-232-9017 or umshbo@umn.edu.

Faculty and Staff Application Process

University of Minnesota faculty and staff can purchase CISI insurance within the University's mandatory travel registration system.  All faculty and staff must register travel regardless of insurance decisions or needs.

  1. Log in to the Travel Registry system.
  2. After completing Itinerary and Purpose and Contact Information, select "I need/want to purchase CISI international insurance."
  3. Enter the University of Minnesota EFS number that will pay for the insurance, the contact information of financial staff for the EFS account and Date of Birth. Click Submit.
  4. To cover dependent(s) or a spouse or domestic partner, download and complete the paper application and send with payment directly to CISI.

Note: The U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Guam, and the U.S. minor outlying islands will be treated as international locations for the purposes of CISI insurance.

Policy Details

University of Minnesota CISI Travel, Health, and Security Coverage

The following are items are included, for $30.00/month, in the 2014-15 plan:

  • Emergency 24-hour telephone assistance
  • Medical/travel/technical assistance services
  • Accidental medical/sickness expense
  • No deductible
  • Mental and nervous benefit: $20,000 inpatient and $10,000 outpatients
  • Prescription drugs: paid at 100%
  • Pre-existing conditions: up to $100,000
  • Emergency family reunion benefit and return ticket benefit
  • Medical evacuation/repatriation
  • Political and security evacuation
  • Return of mortal remains
  • Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Program fee refund: up to $5,000 of allowable expenses in allowable cases
  • 90 day, $10,000 Home country extension of benefits coverage for injuries that began while covered overseas
  • Guaranteed payment directly to foreign hospitals when it is an option

How to use CISI

  1. CISI will send a copy of the insurance card, consulate letter, policy brochure, and claim form to each individual insured via email including the following information:
    • University of Minnesota Group ID number: GLM N0483530A
    • Toll-free, 24/7 assistance number in the U.S: 1-855-327-1411
    • Collect call from outside the U.S.: (01-312) 935-1703
    • Email: medassist-usa@axa-assistance.us
  2. Carry the insurance card with you at all times
  3. If you require medical treatment while abroad, pay for medical costs up-front. Be prepared to pay in cash for any medical services provided while abroad. In the case that the medical cost is too high, contact CISI. CISI will facilitate direct payment to the hospital
  4. To file a claim, you must download and complete a Claims Form and send it with all receipts to the address indicated on the form.

Extending CISI Coverage

If you will spend extra time overseas before or after your program, you are strongly encouraged to purchase adequate insurance to cover that time. CISI will allow insured individuals to purchase up to 30 days of insurance beyond the dates of the University of Minnesota coverage. You will be able to add this coverage through CISI after you receive your insurance card.

Insurance for Personal or Non-University Travel

CISI insurance does not cover personal or non-University travel. The University of Minnesota does not endorse nor recommend any insurance company for personal travel or non-University related travel; however, the University recommends adequate insurance for international travel.

Benefits of a travel medical insurance plan for the time you will be out of the country may include doctor visits, emergency room care, prescriptions, emergency dental coverage, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, and accidental death or dismemberment benefits. Travelers should consider their non-medical travel insurance needs as well, such as travel and liability insurance.

Choosing Travel Medical Insurance

You should start by contacting your U.S. health insurance company to understand any international benefits you might already have and inquire about additional options for international insurance packages. When traveling abroad, do not cancel your U.S coverage!

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the dollar limit of the amount of coverage provided for various services?
  2. Does the plan include:
    • hospitalization?
    • ambulance costs?
    • emergency room expenses?
    • visits to the doctor?
    • prescriptions?
    • medical evacuation?
    • repatriation of remains?
    • security assistance/evacuation?
    • other non-medical benefits such as baggage loss or trip cancelation?
  3. In the case of a serious illness or accident, is there coverage for a family member or close friend to travel to the country to be with me?
  4. Do I need to pay expenses up front and then submit receipts to the insurance company for reimbursement?
  5. What documentation of expenses is required? Does the bill need to be in English and the amount of the charges in U.S. dollars?
  6. Does the plan exclude any coverage that I need (e.g., adventure sports, pre-existing conditions, special medical needs)?
  7. Are there multilingual staff members available for translating if needed while I am abroad?

Finding an Insurance Provider

While there are many insurance plans available for travel abroad, this list is a sample of options to illustrate the breadth of coverage options and range of limits. Inclusion in this list does not indicate endorsement, as the policies have not been officially reviewed nor approved by the University.

Additional Resources


If you are an insurance provider with plans for international travel medical insurance or related resouce and are interested in being added to this list at the next update, please email stsantir@umn.edu. Inclusion on this list is by reference or request and the University does not review resources or policy options, or vouch for the services provided by any organization on the list.

If you are a traveler who has feedback on any of the policies listed here or recommend an addition to the list at the next update, please email stsantir@umn.edu.