International Student Health Insurance Requirements

Effective Fall 2017 Term:  Important updates to the UH-System policy regarding health insurance requirements for international students

International Students With “Non-F” or “Non-J” Visa Status

The University of Houston will no longer require international students with “non-F” or “non-J” visa status to show proof of health insurance.

The university WILL NOT add the health insurance charge to your university financial account and will not automatically enroll you in the Student Health Insurance Plan.

You may voluntarily enroll the UH System - endorsed Student Health Insurance Plan during the posted open enrollment period.  Go to then click on the “Enrollment” tab.

International Students With “F” or “J” Visa Status

International students with “F” or “J” visa status are required to be covered under the UHS Student Health Insurance Plan or have equivalent health insurance coverage, regardless of the number of credit hours taken.  At the time of registration, the student will automatically be enrolled in the mandatory UHS-endorsed Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and will be charged for the coverage period on their student financial account.

It is the responsibility of F and J visa international students with an Authorized Medical Withdrawal or a SEVIS Authorized Reduced Course Load to carry health insurance that is equivalent to that offered by the UHS Student Health Insurance Plan.

Each UHS University shall establish guidelines to ensure compliance with the mandatory health insurance requirements. These guidelines shall include a process which requires automatic enrollment in SHIP for students in F or J visa status. A student may receive a waiver of this requirement if the student’s alternative coverage meets the requirements outlined in this policy.

Important Information

It is the responsibility of each student to inform the University of their current visa status. Visa status changes that may affect or reverse a student’s waiver or enrollment in the mandatory SHIP must be posted to the student’s university account no later than the posted semester deadline.

Submit your status changes as early as possible and follow-up with the appropriate department(s) to ensure all changes are POSTED timely and accurately.

A student enrolled in an approved distance education program and is residing outside of the United States for the full coverage period should have their student account updated prior to semester waiver deadline to avoid being charged. Contact the Online and Distance Education Department if you require assistance.

Contact International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) if you have any questions about your international status.

International Student Waiver Qualifications

An international student may request a waiver of this mandatory health insurance fee in the following instances with proof of acceptable alternate insurance.

  • The student is sponsored by the U.S. government, the government of the student’s home country is recognized by the U.S. or by certain international, government-sponsored or non-governmental organizations, if the sponsor has provided a plan equivalent to the SHIP or a letter guaranteeing payment of all health care expenses.
  • The student is enrolled in an employer-provided group health plan which is equivalent to the SHIP.

International Student Waiver Process

In order to be approved for a waiver of enrollment in the mandatory SHIP, an alternate health coverage must meet or exceed the requirements as set forth below and be submitted each coverage period/semester by the waiver deadline date.

The waiver deadline is the official reporting day as posted on the Academic Calendar.

If medical evacuation and repatriation that equals the amounts as compared to the SHIP are not included in an otherwise acceptable policy, a rider must be purchased.

NOTE: The university must submit an enrollment list to Academic HealthPlans to activate your insurance account each term. During the waiver period, allow approximately 2-3 business days after the health insurance charge has been posted to your university account for your insurance account to be activated.

Minimum Requirements

International students that are subject to this policy must have health and medical evacuation/repatriation coverage that meets or exceeds the requirements below.

  • Medical/preventative care benefits equivalent to the UHS-endorsed Student Health Insurance Plan with no annual limits. 
  • Contains no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
  • Imposes no provisions for co-insurance that exceed 25% of the covered benefits.
  • Medical evacuation coverage amount is no less than $50,000.
  • Repatriation coverage amount is no less than $25,000.

International students that are subject to this policy must have health and medical evacuation/repatriation coverage that meet or exceed the following SHIP coverage period:

  • Fall:  August 1st – December 31st
  • Spring/Summer:  January 1st – August 31st
  • Summer Only: June 1st – August 31st

International “J” Student Visa Holders must have a policy whose deductible does not exceed $500 annually.

International “F” Student Visa Holders must have a policy whose deductible does not exceed $1,500 (individual)/$3,000 (family) annually.

Individual plans, travel plans, or plans that require individuals to pay for treatment before being reimbursed will NOT be accepted for waiver approval.

Submitting a Waiver

If your alternate coverage meets the above minimum requirements, use the link below to submit electronic copies of the following documents with your online waiver request:

  • A scanned copy of the front and back of your health insurance ID card indicating the student as a covered member.
  • A scanned copy of your complete policy, including coverage amounts, exclusions, and limitations in English using US dollars.
  • A scanned copy of your medical evacuation and repatriation coverage (if you have this coverage).

Online Waiver Submittal

Fall 2017 Waiver Period: August 1, 2017 – September 6, 2017
Notification of acceptance or rejection of this request will be sent to your University email within seven business days. Late submissions will not be accepted.