Health insurance for Indian students studying abroad is important especially as health care may work differently in other countries than in India. While in India, the concept of health insurance is not as established as that in the US or Europe, Indian students studying abroad are mandated to purchase an insurance cover. What doesn’t come as a necessity in India, is a criteria for admission to most institutes in Europe and US. Keeping this in mind, for many Indian students, buying an insurance cover is an added cost to their tuition fees. Recently, when Irelend raised the cost of insurance cover for full time foreign students in the country, Indians didn’t take it as a surprise move.
Sameer Nambiar, an aspirant to Irish University, said, “In India, insurance can be bought at 1/3rd of the cost of what you pay if you were to buy it in the US or any other country in Europe. I have been advised by peers to take an international insurance plan from India, which will be acceptable in Ireland as well. “
According to Anupurna Sarma, “Some Irish universities mandate that students buy the university plan for insurance whereas others provide a set of minimum requirements of insurance covers for admissions. Hence, the basic insurance cover did not suit every student studying in Ireland. Many universities here are providing insurance covers in alliance with the institute’s health plan and is added in the tuition costs of the student. Thus, a termination of the basic cover for full time students may not affect everybody.”
Earlier, the Irish government required students to take the basic cover that cost approximately €40-€150, thus making the mandatory health cover in the country one of the cheapest across the European Union for non-EU students. In most EU countries, even the basic health covers offered by institutes is relatively expensive as compared to the basic cover offered in Ireland earlier. However, as pointed out by students in Ireland, a university-associated health cover is usually favoured by them. Aditi Nariani, another student from Irish University said, “Even if the university doesn’t insist on a particular type of health cover, it is favourable to buy the policy in line with the institute’s health plan. In India, medical costs aren’t as high as those in UK and US. Besides, paying huge medical bills factoring in the exchange rate is much heavier than paying a monthly installment towards health cover.” For many Indian students abroad, this may also be a major factor channeling their opinions regarding insurance in favour of high valued medical covers in Ireland and other countries.