Take care of medical issues before arriving to the United States.
The insurance provided by the Fulbright will not cover the costs of pre-existing medical conditions and medical care in the United States is very expensive.
Medical Records/Allergy List
Please bring a copy of your medical records, especially information on any chronic illness and treatment. A list of medications (the scientific name, not brand name) and any allergies will help greatly in the event of any problem.
Bring prescriptions for both glasses and contact lenses–It’s also a good idea to bring backup pairs of both in case one breaks or gets lost. Remember–eye exams and glasses are VERY expensive in the U.S.
Dentists in the United States are usually much more expensive than other countries. (For example, a cleaning can cost $80-90, a small filling can be $250 and more extensive procedures can easily go to $600-$1,000.) We highly recommend that you go to your dentist before you come here and fix any problems first. If you are already here and need a dentist, please see your supervisor who will help you find a reliable one. Please note that your insurance probably will not cover the costs.
Insurance–extremely important here!
Be sure to print your insurance card before you arrive and carry it with you at all times in the US. If you don’t have your card with you, you may be stuck with a very large bill that you will have to pay on your own, or you may be denied service if it’s not an emergency. Even with your insurance card, you will likely have a co-pay and you will likely have a bill for a portion of the cost. This bill may arrive a month or two after the service. You are responsible for the bill.
Olin Health Center
Olin Health Center is the student health clinic on campus. Unfortunately, Olin usually does NOT take the FLTA insurance. It is best to use other health care providers that take your insurance so you will not get a large bill.
When you need to be seen by a doctor quickly (fever, minor injury, etc…) you can go to an Urgent Care facility. Lansing Urgent Care has 2 locations close to MSU: the Okemos and the Frandor locations. The copay at urgent care is MUCH less than what you will at the ER.
Hopefully this won’t be necessary, but for major emergencies (accident, severe blood loss, suspected heart attack, etc..,) you should call 911 for ambulance service to McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital. If it’s not a major emergency, go to Urgent Care, or if possible, wait until you can go to Olin. If it’s urgent but not life-threatening, please also call the coordinator.
How do I decide if I need the ER, Urgent Care, or a doctor visit?
This can be difficult for everyone–not only FLTAs. Sparrow (one of our health service providers here in the greater Lansing area) has created this basic guide: http://www.sparrow.org/emergencyguidelines
Use the IIE FLTA portal to find your insurance portal. There you can find a list of doctors that will take your insurance. Expect to spend some time calling doctor’s office and 1. verifying that they do take the insurance, and 2. scheduling an appointment.
In the US, we feel talking about problems is good for your mental health. If you are feeling any stress, loneliness, etc. you may always talk to any of your supervisors, or you can call the Listening Ear at 517-337-1717 (open 24 hours a day and confidential.) As MSU faculty, you also have the ability to use the Employee Assistance Program. They provide 6 free sessions per “event/situation.” They are an excellent team that can help with anything from trying to quit smoking, to dealing with culture shock, to dealing with bigger issues.
Unfortunately, sometimes an FLTA learns of very bad news from home, such as a serious illness or death of a friend or family member. If this happens, notify the coordinator immediately. Grief is often magnified by being far from home. The coordinator will help you identify what you need and put you in touch with many resources available in the community.
Basic Information and Prevention
Read our health pages for some basic information.
Exercise facilities: MSU has great facilities and resources to get active, stay in shape and stay healthy. Check out the main IM facilities for classes ($3) free swimming, and sports.
MedicineNet is a website that is edited by licensed doctors. It has a lot of good information to stay healthy or to check your symptoms.
The vaccine recommendations taken from the MSU website:
Hepatitis B: A one-time series of three doses of vaccine.
Tetanus/Diptheria/Pertussis Booster (Tdap): One dose of Tdap at age 11. This recommendation is particularly important due to recent outbreaks of Whooping Cough (Pertussis) and teh dramatic rise of the disease in Michigan and elsewhere in the U.S.
Meningococcus: One dose of vaccine at age 11 or 12 and a booster at age 16, doses should be at least 2 months apart.
Varicella (Chickenpox): A one-time series of two doses of vaccine for anyone who has not had chickenpox disease or previous vaccination.
Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR): A series of two doses of vaccine on or after the first birthday is recommended.
Influenza: Vaccination yearly in the fall. Recommended for everyone over age 6 months who does not have a contraindication to the vaccine. It is especially recommended for young people with certain health risks, such as asthma or any chronic disease. Influenza disease is very easy to get in a classroom or crowded living situation. Influenza vaccine is available as a nasal mist or as an injection.
Hepatitis A: A series of two doses of vaccine for some adults with certain health conditions or occupations. Students may want to consider this if they plan to have an international travel experience.
Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine (for women and men): A series of three doses of vaccine for prevention of cervical cancer and genital warts.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPV): A one-dose of vaccine for those under the age of 65 who have any of the following conditions:
Long term health problems, such as: asthma, heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, alcoholism, cirrhosis, leaks of cerebrospinal fluid, or cochlear implant.
A disease or condition that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as: Hodgkin’s disease/lymphoma or leukemia, kidney failure, multiple myeloma, nephritic syndrome, HIV infection or AIDS, damaged spleen, or no spleen, organ transplant.
Is taking a drug or treatment that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as: long-term steroids, certain cancer drugs, radiation therapy.
Is a smoker.