Institute of International Education and the US Department of State

The Fulbright Program is known to be one of the most distinguished academic exchanges in the world. Every year, nearly 2.000 scholars are accepted to the Fulbright and Foreign Fulbright Programs.

As the United States Department of States the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs proudly declares “in addition to academic endeavors, Fulbrighters have a unique opportunity to make a valuable contribution to their host and home communities through participating in community activities abroad and sharing their experience upon returning home.”

Unfortunately, the contemporary health insurance regulations threaten the core principles and aims of the Fulbright Program. The health insurance is terminated upon the scholars’ completion of the academic training, which literally means the graduation day. This policy places the Fulbrighters at risk since most of us are not able to leave the host country on the afternoon of the day we receive our degree.

Being participants of a cultural exchange program, foreign Fulbrighters are given a “grace period” of 30 days upon the completion of the academic program. During this grace period, scholars are not covered with either financial grant or health insurance. In many cases, scholars are not covered by the university insurance either since they are no longer affiliated with the institution. Although opportunities for buying an extension of health insurance exist, many Fulbrighters do not use them because they are misinformed of the terms of their health plan, miss the end date of the coverage, or lack the experience dealing with the local health care system.

This policy puts all Fulbright scholars under serious health risks. The Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) regulation leave foreign Fulbrighters without any kind of health insurance during the grace period. It really jeopardizes the complete Fulbright experience.

We call the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the United States Department of State to review the terms of the health insurance policy to protect Fulbrighters against health risks during their entire stay in the host countries.

If you are a past, present or a future Fulbright scholar, please sign this message to support a better health insurance policy and a better Fulbright program!

Don’t forget! “Once a Fulbrighter, always a Fulbrighter.”

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The Change Health Insurance Policy for Fulbrighters petition to Institute of International Education and the US Department of State was written by Natalia Forrat and is in the category Health at GoPetition.

Petition Tags

health insurance Fulbright