Health and Health Insurance for International Students

Medical care in the United States is very expensive. Therefore, the University requires all students to have adequate medical insurance while at UConn. In addition, if you are on a J-1 or J-2 visa, the U.S. government requires you to maintain insurance that meets specific coverage requirements.

Enrolled Students

Most full-time students are enrolled automatically in the UConn student health insurance plan (SHIP). Check your fee bill to verify that you were automatically enrolled in the UConn SHIP. Graduate students who have a Graduate Assistantships will not be automatically enrolled. See more information for Graduate Assistants below.

The University SHIP is effective from August 1 (Fall admits) or January 1 (Spring admits).

If you have health insurance through your family or your home country that you prefer to use, you must complete a Health Insurance Waiver online. ISSS strongly recommends that you enroll in the University sponsored student plan, as it offers comprehensive coverage and can easily be used to get medical care at Student Health Services. You must remember to print your insurance ID card online.

Students enrolled in a small number of programs are not automatically enrolled in the UConn SHIP. If you are not automatically enrolled in the UConn SHIP, it is your responsibility to enroll in an insurance plan to meet your medical care and accident costs.  Health care in the United States is very expensive, and you need to maintain health insurance for you and all dependents if you study here. We strongly recommend that you self-enroll in the UConn SHIP. To voluntarily enroll, please call Student Health and Wellness at 860-486-9239.

Graduate Assistants

UConn Graduate Assistants (GA) may purchase subsidized insurance through the Connecticut Partnership Plan as part of your Graduate Assistantship benefits. Visit the HR website for more information, and to enroll in Graduate Assistant medical insurance through the Connecticut Partnership Plan when enrollment opens. The Connecticut Partnership Plan is effective starting the first day of the month after you begin your GAship. Therefore if your GA begins August 23,  the plan becomes effective September 1. If your GA begins January 5, your plan becomes effective February 1. You should purchase a bridge insurance plan to cover you from the time you arrive, until your insurance becomes effective.  You may find suitable short term insurance plan from your home country or a U.S. provider online.

Students on J-1 Visas

If you are on a J-1 visa, you are required to have insurance coverage meeting requirements set by the U.S. Department of State for yourself and any J-2 dependents who have a Form DS-2019.  Your insurance plan must cover:  Medical Benefits Minimum – $100,000 per accident illness
Repatriation of remains  – Minimum $25,000
Medical evacuation to home country –  Minimum $50,000
Deductibles not to exceed per accident/illness –  $500

The UConn SHIP meets the J-1 visa requirements for insurance. If you are a J-1 student with a graduate assistantship and you have the Connecticut Partnership Plan, you must also purchase supplemental insurance to cover repatriation of remains and medical evacuation.

If you are on a J-1 visa and you choose not to enroll in the UConn SHIP or GA insurance plan with supplemental insurance, your insurance plan must meet the above benefit requirements, and must also be:

1) Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of “A−” or above; a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A−” or above; a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B + ” or above; a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of “A−” or above; a Moody’s Investor Services rating of “A3” or above; or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify
2) Backed by the full faith and credit of your home country government

If you obtain your own insurance, you are responsible to determine that it meets the above requirements. ISSS cannot verify this for you. Therefore, we strongly encourage all J-1 students to maintain the UConn SHIP, or GA plan plus supplemental coverage, if you have a Graduate Assistantship.

Insurance for Dependent Family Members

It is very important that your accompanying family members also have insurance coverage. Both the UConn SHIP and Connecticut Partnership Plan for GAs have options to enroll dependents at an extra cost. You should enroll your dependents at the same time that you enroll; it can be difficult to enroll dependents for benefits after you have already enrolled. .

If you are on a J-1 visa, your dependents must have coverage that meets the J visa requirements for the entire period covered on the Form DS-2019. This is also required if your family members have a DS-2019 but are not present in the United States with you.

If you have children enrolled in school, the school may provide you information about enrolling them in the State of Connecticut Husky Insurance program.  Please note that the Husky Insurance program is not intended for enrollment J-1/J-2 visa holders. This program is state-funded and intended to provide low income children with healthcare coverage; all international students and scholars are required to demonstrate in advance that they have sufficient financial resources to support their stay in the United States for themselves and all family members.

Affordable Care Act

All international students and scholars, including dependent family members, may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which is a law designed to support health care coverage of all individuals in the United States. For more information, please see U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and this article explaining the ACA to international students and scholars.

Insurance Vocabulary

Many terms used to describe insurance coverage may be new to international students. Please find below some helpful definitions from related to health insurance:

Benefits: The health care items or services covered under a health insurance plan. Covered benefits and excluded services are defined in the health insurance plan’s coverage documents.

Excluded Services: Health care services that your health insurance plan doesn’t pay for or cover.

Deductible: The amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay.

Copayment: A fixed amount you pay for a health care service after you have paid your deductible (if you have one).

Inpatient Care: Health care that you get when you’re admitted as an inpatient to a health care facility, like a hospital.

Hospital Outpatient Care: Care in a hospital that usually doesn’t require an overnight stay.

If you find an insurance term that you do not understand, please check the Glossary for further information.