All AFS participants are covered under the AFS Participant Medical Plan. This coverage is comprehensive and will cover any medical need that may arise during the student’s program. There are however certain “uncovered” items that are as important for Liaisons to be aware of. Pre-existing conditions are not covered under the AFS plan and natural families have been informed in advance that they will be financially responsible for all medical costs related to these conditions. (For more information, please see AFS Medical Plan)
- Routine eye exams are not covered.
- Glasses and contact lenses are not covered.
- Routine physical exams including those needed for athletic participation and immunizations are not covered
- Dental care, except as the result of injury is not covered.
All dental and eye problems must be reported to the National Service Center before any medical procedures are performed to ensure that arrangements for payment are made in advance with the natural family.
Going to the Doctor
If your participant needs to see a doctor, please ensure that the participant brings his or her Medical ID card to the appointment. The Medical ID card contains the participant's ID number and the insurance billing information for Global Medical Management, Inc. Please be sure the doctor knows to submit the bill to Global Medical Management, Inc. and does not send the bill to AFS. Sending the bill to AFS will delay payment.
Colds, sore throats, flu, upper respiratory infections, sprains, and uncomplicated childhood diseases need not be called into AFS unless, even after seeing a doctor, it appears to linger for an unusually long period of time.
This one-pager provides tips for communicating with medical providers and the insurance administrator. We recommend sharing it with host families proactively as well as when they are in need of guidance on medical processes for AFS students.
Global Medical Management, Inc.
880 SW 145th Avenue, Suite 400
Pembroke Pines, FL 33027
Please note some participants may be reluctant to seek care from a medical doctor, or to take medications that are common in the U.S., including pain relievers and cough medicine. They may have a distrust of physicians in general, or feel that it is better to heal oneself in time through non-medicinal measures, such as more rest, or eating a healthy diet. If you feel it is necessary to take your participant to the doctor, keep in mind that this may be a less routine occurrence for him or her than in would be for you, or the typical U.S. student. As such, he or she may need additional support and encouragement in the process.
AFS has written authorization from natural parents to act on behalf of AFS participants in the event of serious illness or accident where authorization for treatment or surgery is required. Both the participant and natural parents have signed an AFS Participation Agreement, which is kept in the national office of the participant’s home country. The AFS Participation Agreement contains the following clause:
Should any medical emergency arise, if time permits, AFS will communicate with us through the National Office and request permission for surgery or other necessary treatment; however, if in the sole judgment of AFS, time and circumstances do not permit communication with us, we authorize AFS to consent to medical treatment, the administration of x-ray examination, anesthetics, blood transfusion, medical or surgical diagnosis or treatment and hospital care which is deemed advisable by, and is to be rendered under the general or special supervision of any physician and surgeon.
In addition, natural parents have signed a separate authorization form containing the same clause, which is kept in each participant’s record in Global Link. If participants or host families do not have a copy of this form, and it is requested by a doctor or a hospital contact the National Service Center.
Serious Illness and Hospital Admittance
Serious illness and hospital admittance must be reported immediately to AFS National Service Center staff or the AFS Duty Officer (if after hours). The information will be conveyed to the participant’s natural family via the AFS Partner Office in the participant’s home country.
If an AFS participant is admitted to a hospital, this must be reported to an AFS office immediately in order to inform natural parents in the partner country. It is important to have the following information when making the report:
- Name and country of participant
- Date of accident or commencement of illness that led to hospitalization
- Date and approximate time of hospitalization
- Name, address, and phone number of hospital
- Name and telephone number of attending physician
- Diagnosis of illness/injury and prognosis for recovery
- Treatment (what medication is being given, what other tests are planned)
Automobile accidents must be reported to the AFS National Service Center as quickly as possible. Even if there is no apparent injury, the AFS participant must be seen by a physician. The accident form, which can be found here and in the Host Family Handbook, should be completed and forwarded to the National Service Center. The National Service Center must be called if there is a medical emergency.
In case of a medical emergency involving an AFS participant, call 1-800-AFS-INFO (800-237-4636) and press 9. AFS-USA has power of attorney to act on the behalf of the participant in the case of medical emergencies.
Participants should have all required immunizations prior to traveling to the U.S.
However, complete records are not always included in the application. If the school informs the student of a missing immunization, the first step is t o ask your Local/ Team contact for Health Form Addendum. If the immunization is missing from the Addendum, please contact the National Service Center so the Support staff can request complete records from the partner country. If the Support staff confirms that there is no record, the participant will be required to get the immunization with payment being the responsibility of the natural family. It is often very much appreciated if a participant can receive this service from a free or discounted clinic.
Prescription Drug Reimbursements
Participants or host families are expected to pay for prescription drugs up-front and then request reimbursement. The Medical Claim Form must be completed and sent along with the original receipt s to GMMI. Copies of receipts should be kept on hand. Host families should not send these claims to AFS as this reduces processing efficiency.
To download a medical claim form click here.
Finding a Provider in Network
Using a service provider that is in network can eliminate requests for up-front payments for services and reduce the frequency of balance billing. To search for a network provider in your area access the GMMI website and login using the following username and password.
AFS's Insurance Administrator, GMMI, frequently negotiates discounts with service providers. Sometimes, those providers attempt to collect the remaining balance from host families. This is called "balance billing" and is illegal in some states. Host families should never pay these balances. Instead, the families should contact the service provider directly to request an end to the balance billing. If this does not prove effective, host families should then contact GMMI for assistance.