The University System of Georgia Board of Regents last week awarded a contract to HTH Worldwide Inc. to provide health insurance and online health and security information to the 14,000 international students enrolled in colleges throughout Georgia.

The agreement reflects the realization by campuses state-wide that international students need better information and access to healthcare during their stay in the United States, according to Richard Sutton, a senior adviser for academic affairs and director of international programs for the University System of Georgia.

HTH Worldwide’s services include insurance coverage, as well as online applications that translate prescriptions into other languages and allow program participants to view their claim status on the Web, Elaine Del Rossi, HTH’s chief sales officer, told GlobalFax.

The simplicity and wide coverage of the insurance plans are also attractive to international students who often don’t understand the concept of health maintenance organizations (HMOs) or preferred provider organizations (PPOs), she explained.

Prior to the agreement, the 34 campuses that make up the Georgia’s university system had no single insurance vendor or recommended plans for international students, which often led to confusion about adequate levels of coverage, said Dr. Sutton.

“This is really an initiative of our campuses, who felt that the bargaining power of the university system would be more effective in negotiating with an insurance company for a broader level of services at a lower premium,” he said.

HTH Worldwide has signed similar agreements in the past year with the State University of New York and the North Carolina university system, noted Ms. Del Rossi.

“This is indicative that more and more state systems are seeing the economy of setting up a generalized system to offer insurance coverage to international students,” she said.

Generally, 80-90% of incoming international students will choose an insurance provider endorsed by their university of study, Ms. Del Rossi added.

HTH Worldwide’s services will extend to University System of Georgia faculty, administrators and students who take part in overseas travel or exchange.  The company also provides insurance for business or pleasure travelers or for employees of U.S. companies on a long-term assignments overseas.

For additional information, contact HTH Worldwide at (610) 254-8710 or contact Dr. Sutton at (404) 651-3747.