Health Insurance

Since students are not normally residents or citizens of Spain, they are not eligible for national health insurance coverage there. Therefore, VWM participants are required to have medical insurance coverage from the US while studying in Spain. Wesleyan and Vassar provide different international medical and travel insurance policies linked to students’ American medical insurance coverage (the Wesleyan service is SOS, the Vassar service is On Call). These policies cover major medical needs in Spain, including emergency room visits, although as a rule they require you to pay up-front and be reimbursed later. Bear in mind that even major medical procedures in Spain cost a tiny fraction of what they would in the US, even without reimbursement. In order to encourage students to address any health concerns immediately, the program pays for local private insurance through a Spanish company called ADESLAS. This covers routine consultations. ADESLAS does not, however, cover emergency room visits (in Spain citizens rely on public health insurance for this). Pre-authorization rules for SOS and On Call can be arcane and program staff are not authorized to make these calls for students. Therefore, it is crucial program participants inform themselves fully through their study abroad offices about the nuts-and-bolts of each university´s international insurance coverage. Program participants should carefully review all descriptions of their college´s international coverage (including key items not covered: be aware for instance of whether your policy covers Covid tests), instructions for pre-authorization (students might well need to pay up-front and seek a reimbursement later, contingent on pre-authorization), and forms for reporting claims.

One key pre-departure step is to PRINT OUT and CARRY ON YOU AT ALL TIMES the Vassar and Wesleyan international insurance cards normally sent to you by email from the study abroad offices. This provides international contact information and our group membership number. You should keep a photocopy of this stored in a safe placed wherever you call home during the semester, whether during the Santiago or Granada orientation or in your Madrid homestay. You should also be sure you have the relevant contact information, pre-authorization, and claims instructions readily available to you in both printed form while you are in Spain and digitally, stored and/or easily accessible to you in the event of a sudden emergency on more than one of your devices. Emergencies are rare but when they happen it might well be late at night and program staff might be in another part of the city. The program staff will answer any questions about ADESLAS and will help you find your away to the right health care in Spain (general or specialized, emergency or not). However, any questions you have about your college´s international medical coverage should be addressed directly to your respective study abroad offices, since (again) program staff are not authorized to make calls for you to your college´s international provider.

Well before departure, read carefully the detailed information on the Health and Safety page (under Life in Madrid) on your college´s international insurance service, our local medical insurance in Spain, student medications, and students with special health needs. The Vassar and Wesleyan study abroad offices will update and/or link the most current pre-authorization instructions and coverage at that link. For more information, contact Vassar’s Office of International Programs or Wesleyan’s Office of Study Abroad.