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Malpractice and Health Insurance
This webpage will guide you through the process of acquiring the health and Malpractice Insurance.


Q1: What is this insurance all about and how will it help me?

This insurance protects against law suits that patients may file against health care professionals for any harm done to them in negligience or intentional wrongdoing. It will bear the cost of attorney, and claims. However if you have malpractice insurance coverage, this does not mean that you have infinite coverage or that, whichever company you purchased it from will unrestrictably cover all the costs incured. There are LIMITS to the extent of coverage that the company provides. For example at most University websites you will find that they require that you provide evidence of coverage for '$1000000 per incident / $3000000 in aggregate' or $1millinon / $3million. These are the limites of your liability/coverage.
For instance if you plan on doing an elective at the Cleveland Clinic and you purchased a Malpractice insurance coverage for a period of 4 weeks with a liability limits of $1million/$3million. This means that in a single event of harm that you might do to a patient and if he/she sues you for it, then the company will bare the costs at the maximum of $1million and not more than that. Example: if a patient sued you for xyz harm and the total costs involving the attorney and the patient claim came out to be 1 million and 50 dollars then out of this amount 1 million will be paid by the company that you purchased your malpractice insurance from while the remaining $50 will come from your pocket and so forth ! On the other hand $3million in aggregate means that the company will not bare any expenditure more than $3million in total for the period that you have purchased the insurance(in this example 4 weeks). In other words this means that the company will cover for you for a cost of $1 million/event for atleast 3 times if you are sued in a period of your coverage (4weeks). If you are sued the 4th time you are on your own provided that the company has already covered for you and paid $1million every time on three occasions before you screwd up !
All this might sound scary but the question is: Are you really that crazy that you will get sued 3 times in a 4 week period or so? NO, will you ever get sued? My guess is NO. In real life Patients are VERY nice and POLITE mostly, and as a student I dont think that you can do any harm to the patient while taking history, feeling pulses, ascultating heart or lung. SO
The bottom line is that as a student there is hardly anything that can do to harm the patients and therefore PRACTICALLY speaking there is a 1 in million chance that you will ever need help from your company to save you. Unfortunately, proof of malpractice insurance is of mere theoretical requirement. I wish these big Universities ever realize this fact and spare international students from this requirement- but thats too good to be true and most places will require you to acquire one as a compulsion ! Therefore, you will have to purchase it for most places that require it in order for your application for electives to be complete.
The companys listed below are Professional liability insurance companies. Your goal should be to save as much money on that as possible !

Q2: Where can I buy it from and how do I pay for it?
Malpractice or liability insurance is difficult to purchase from overseas. Whichever company you choose to purchase your malpractice insurance from, be sure that the company will provide coverage for you 1) IN UNITED STATES, and the coverage is 2) FOR MEDICAL STUDENTS and not staff surgeons nurses or any other medical related professional. If you purchase the insurance under the wrong category, then if incase the need arises and for some reason you require the company to pay for you if you get sued or something, the company will refuse to cover you (even if you purchased coverage from them) if your insurance status was not for medical student but otherwise such as nurse, physician/surgical assistance etc.    

There are two companies at present that are US based that I am aware of that can offer relatively affordable malpractice insurance coverage for limited periods to foreign visiting medical students. These companies will require that you pay them via a cheque in USD (which can only happen in 3 situations 1) if you have an account in a US based bank, 2) If you have a foreign currency A/C at home country where you can carry out transactions in USD, or you know someone in USA who has an A/C in a bank in United states and is willing to help-that is can write a cheque for you in USD. If the company accepts credit cards and you have one then things will be easier, not many companies accept credit cards.

If unfortunately, none of the above options are available to you then the final way is to have a money order payed in USD prepared from your bank branch in your home country. Make sure with your bank in home country that the money order can be drawn on a bank in USA (this means that a bank in US (with whom your home country bank has an affiliation) will cash your “money order” when the elective coordinator or the related personnel will deposit in there account) .

Most elective coordinators might not be familiar with the term “money order”, but it is equal to a cheque drawn in USD and is acceptable in every US bank.

  1. Academic Medical professional insurance company


  1.  Pro-liability ( This one will require you to provide an official US address where they will mail you the official document, Or you may be able to request a digital version)

    While there are certainly a few more, but their policies are through the roof in terms of expenses as they ask that you pay them for a minimum of 1K+ for an entire year even if you are pursuing your electives for a short period only. 

Remember, these are mere paper formality, your preference should be the minimum to spend on the purchase of this insurance.


Purchase of this insurance is cheaper and relatively more easier to obtain. You can purchase health insurance from a US based company or even your local travel health insurance can suffice, BUT in the latter case the coverage provided must be in US dollars. The minimum requirement for coverage for most medical institutes for maximum per incident should be $50,000 to $100,000, depending on the University.
 By $50 000 limit for example, it is referred to the Maximum possible coverage for a medical event that the company will provide. This means that if something happens to you & you require medical assistance, the company should pay AT LEAST to the maximum of $50 k to cover for your medical expenses. If your medical expenses top that then the additional amount after the 1st $50K  will have to come from your pocket but the insurance will cover initial expenses up to $50k. Other amounts that you see on your company’s brochure are for other events specifically. The cutoff amounts for different events mentioned on your insurance brochure are the maximum amount that the company will pay in that particular category of medical expense.
 In most situations having a proof alone of health Insurance coverage will suffice. Avoid discussions with the elective coordinators on the limits for coverage & do not volunteer details unless prompted.

Some places like Johns Hopkins strongly recommend that you purchase the health insurance from their institute, in which case it can be pricy.
See below a list of companies that provide health Insurance Coverage.
This website can help you find an affordable health insurance; rates may vary based on the state/city of your elective. You should know the zip code of the area of the institute where you will be doing your elective. Usually the elective coordinator’s signature has the zip code along with the address for that particular institute
Do a good search, and make sure you buy the CHEAPEST possible (unless you want otherwise), so that you can have more money to spend during electives.

Hope this article was helpful.
Questions feedback and comments can be addressed to

Jahanzaib Idrees,