Health and Safety

Binghamton University considers the safety of its students a top priority. We require participants in all Binghamton University-administered programs to attend a pre-departure orientation during which health, safety, legal and cultural issues and differences, as well as program specifics are discussed. In addition, we offer general pre-departure orientations for students participating in other SUNY and non-SUNY programs and provide all students with our Pre-departure Guide, which has a wealth of detailed health and safety information.  Also, all Binghamton students participating in any study abroad program, whether through the SUNY system or not, is provided with a predeparture packet which includes basic safety and health information including any current health advisories for international travel. 

Useful Websites

The following government websites provide valuable tips and information to help ensure that the study abroad experience is a safe one. We encourage all students and parents to carefully review their information:

New Information: Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs

What is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)?
• The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
• STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.
• STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Purpose:
Enrollment in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program makes your presence and whereabouts known, in case it is necessary for a consular officer to contact you in an emergency. During a disaster overseas, American consular officers can assist in evacuation were that to become necessary. But they cannot assist you if they do not know where you are.

Enrollment is particularly important for those who plan to stay in a country longer than one month, or who will travel to:
*A country that is experiencing civil unrest, has an unstable political climate, or is undergoing a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a hurricane.
*A country where there are no U.S. officials. In such cases, you should register at the U.S. embassy or consulate in an adjacent country, leave an itinerary with the Consular Section, ask about conditions in the country that you will visit and ask about the third country that may represent U.S. interests there.

If you are traveling with an escorted tour to areas experiencing political uncertainty or other problems, find out if your tour operator is enrolling your trip through the State Department's STEP website. If it is not, or if you are traveling on your own, you can enroll yourself at: https://step.state.gov/step/
In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare or whereabouts may not be released to inquirers without your expressed written authorizations. Remember to leave a detailed itinerary and the numbers or copies of your passport or other citizenship documents with a friend or relative in the United States.
Why should I enroll?
Millions of Americans travel abroad every year and encounter no difficulties. However, U.S. embassies and consulates assist nearly 200,000 Americans each year who are victims of crime, accident, or illness,
or whose family and friends need to contact them in an emergency. When an emergency happens, or if natural disaster, terrorism, or civil unrest strikes during your foreign travel, the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can be your source of assistance and information. By registering your trip, you help the embassy or consulate to locate you when you might need them the most. Registration is voluntary and costs nothing, but it should be a big part of your travel planning and security.
How can the embassy or consulate assist me while I am abroad?
U.S. consular officers assist Americans who encounter serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties. Although consular officers cannot act as your legal counsel or representative, they can provide the names of local attorneys and doctors, provide loans to destitute Americans, and provide information about dangerous conditions affecting your overseas travel or residence. Consular officers also perform non-emergency services, helping Americans with absentee voting, selective service registration, receiving federal benefits, and filing U.S. tax forms. Consular officers can notarize documents, issue passports, and register American children born abroad. Most embassies and consulates have web sites with more information.

Enrollment through this website is NOT considered proof of U.S. citizenship. If you apply for any American citizen services from the embassy or consulate while abroad, you will be asked by the consular staff to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a U.S. passport or American birth certificate.
How do I enroll?
First you will create an account by clicking on the "Create an Account" link and following the instructions provided. The account creation allows you to select a username and password so that you can access your travel data at any time. The account will also contain your personal information so that it can be saved and used again whenever you travel abroad. The personal information section will include basic information about yourself, and also for an emergency contact that is not traveling with you. Once you have created an account, you will view your profile and add trips or overseas residences to register with a specific US Embassy or Consulate. Click on the "Add Trip" button or "Add Overseas Residence" buttons to add this information. Follow through the pages, and complete as much information as you have available. There are very few required fields, but thorough information enables the US Embassy to help you more efficiently if needed. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure that you are enrolled correctly.

To Enroll:
https://step.state.gov/step/
For more valuable travel information go to:
http://travel.state.gov/

Health Insurance

It would be unwise to study abroad without being certain that you have health insurance that provides protection any place you travel.  The SUNY health insurance program is administered by the SUNY sponsoring campus. Purchase of the insurance is required unless you have comparable alternate overseas coverage and provide proof said coverage. In such cases, the SUNY health insurance may be waived, though students must still purchase the MEDEX policy. 

If you choose to waive the SUNY health insurance, you should  be sure to check with your own health insurance provider about what coverage and services they provide to you while you are abroad and what the claims submission procedures are.  Make sure you have gathered all the relevant information for your insurance policy--contact information, website, ID, policy and group numbers, claim procedures, etc.--so that you are prepared for any medical emergencies or needs while you are abroad.

There are two separate parts to the SUNY-sponsored insurance:

    1. HTH Worldwide Health Insurance provides coverage for medical treatment due to accident or illness.  If you have purchased the HTH Worldwide health insurance, it includes the MEDEX insurance.  Once you have been enrolled by Binghamton University in the HTH health insurance, you will receive an email from HTH with instructions for registering for and activating your personalized website and printing your health insurance ID card. This card is your proof of coverage. You will want to do this as soon as you receive the information, as there is much valuable pre-travel information available on the website.  If you have both the HTH and the MEDEX insurance policies (see below), you should carry both cards with you at all times when you travel. Please see the details about the HTH Insurance below.

  1. MEDEX provides coverage for medical, travel and security information and assistance worldwide. It is not health insurance, but rather insurance for medical and security assistance, evacuation and repatriation. You can print your MEDEX ID, which contains the MEDEX policy ID and group number and emergency contact information. Please see the details about the MEDEX policy below.

Highlights of the HTH Worldwide Health Insurance
• Covers up to $200,000 per accident or illness
• Covers 100% of reasonable expenses, with no deductible
• Covers 100% of prescription medications
• Covers pre-existing conditions
• Covers for mental health, pregnancy, and birth control
• Covers for chemical abuse and dependency
• $10,000 maximum accidental death and dismemberment insurance
• Insurance accepted in lieu of payment by Network Providers (payment will be required at the time of service by non-Network Providers, and you will then need to submit a claim for reimbursement from HTH)
• Coordination of treatment by HTH Worldwide case managers
• Global Health and Safety Services emergency assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a week
• Medical Evacuation planning and coordination

HTH Online Resources for Students and Parents: (http://www.hthstudents.com and http://www.hthparents.com)
• Print your HTH health insurance ID card
• Read information on your plan benefits and exclusions
• Search for a network doctor, hospital or pharmacy near your study abroad destination
• Read CityHealth Profiles™ (detailed information about vaccination requirements, emergency numbers, providers, and prescription drug practices in more than 1100 destinations)
• Read Security Profiles (detailed city information on security conditions )
• Drug translation guide (equivalent names of hundreds of brand name drugs in 24 countries
• Medical term and phrase translation guides in 10 languages
• Read featured articles on student and travel health
• Sign up to received customized recent health and security news by email

Contact and Plan Information for HTH Worldwide:
Group Name: SUNY Binghamton – Outbound
Policy Number: HM-1054-09 HTH Worldwide
Address:
For plan information:
Tel: 1 866 281-1668 (from inside the U.S.) Suite 100
1 Radnor Corporate Center
Tel: 1 610 254-8741 (from outside the U.S.) Radnor, PA 19087
Tel: 1 877 424-4325
For customer service for members:
Tel: 1 888 243-2358 (from inside the U.S.) Fax: 1 610 293-3529
Tel: 1 610 254-8700
Tel: 1 610 254-8769 (from outside the U.S.)
Email: studentinfo@hthworldwide.com

To obtain a claim form and filing instructions (for use when you have seen a non-Network Provider): http://isss.binghamton.edu/health/index.html

Note: MEDEX is responsible for coordinating all care covered under the SUNY HTH Worldwide health insurance. In the event of a need for any medical care, even minor care, please contact MEDEX Emergency Response Center first (see contact information below) to open a case file.

MEDEX Medical and Security Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance
MEDEX is not health insurance. Rather, MEDEX provides medical, travel and security information and assistance to travelers worldwide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Contact MEDEX whenever you have a travel, medical or security problem, whether it is minor or serious. MEDEX services range from pre-trip intelligence and contingency planning to real-time medical case management and complex emergency evacuations.

MEDEX Highlights:
• Emergency medical, travel and personal security assistance 24 hours a day anywhere in the world
• Customizable online MEDEX Member Center
• Medical assistance services (worldwide medical and dental referrals, monitoring of treatment, facilitation of hospital payments, transfer of insurance information to medical providers; medication, vaccine and blood transfers; dispatch of doctors and specialists, transfer of medical records, continuous updates to family, employer and home physician; hotel arrangements for convalescence, replacement of corrective lenses and medical devices)
• Travel assistance services (replacement of lost or stolen travel documents, emergency travel arrangements, transfer of funds, legal referrals and translation services, message transmittals, emergency pet housing or pet return)
• Worldwide destination intelligence (pre-travel information, travel and health information, real-time security intelligence)
• Medical evacuation and repatriation services (emergency medical evacuations, transportation for a family member to join a hospitalized member, return of dependent children, transportation after stabilization, repatriation of remains)
• Personal security services (political and security evacuation services, transportation after political or security evacuation)

MEDEX Online Resources for Students and Parents: (www.medexassist.com)
• Print your MEDEX ID card
• Review or print a pre-travel checklist
• Read or download MEDEX Travel Guides on a variety of topics
• Find the latest medical and security alerts
• FAQs: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Contact and Plan Information for MEDEX:
MEDEX ID: 50094470
Group: 803A Binghamton University

You can always call MEDEX collect at:
MEDEX Emergency Response Center (multilingual assistance coordinators 24 hours a day) Baltimore, MD: 1 410-453-6330
To open a case with MEDEX Emergency Response Center using their online form:
https://members.medexassist.com/Forms/Assistance.aspx
For a list of MEDEX phone numbers in a particular country or region:
https://members.medexassist.com/Forms/PhoneNumbers.aspx

Last Updated: 8/19/14