Federal Law and Health Insurance
International students enrolled as J-1 Exchange Visitors, and any J-2 dependents, are required to have sickness and accident insurance, including coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains, for the duration of the J-1 program. This is a U.S. federal law. (U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Title 22 Section 62.14) Willful failure to have insurance is a violation of this law and could result in termination of J-1 status.
The UW ISHIP requirement may be waived only when a student meets certain eligibility criteria and has comparable health insurance that is valid in the U.S.
International students who hold a Graduate Research or Teaching Assistant appointment may be eligible to be enrolled in the Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan (GAIP). Students enrolled in GAIP do not need to be enrolled in ISHIP and do not need to submit a waiver request form. Please review this GAIP information.
Only international students who fit into one of the following categories are eligible for a health insurance/ISHIP waiver:
- Exchange or Visiting Students: Those students attending UW through an official exchange program sponsored either by a UW academic department or the UW Office of International Programs & Exchanges
- Government-funded Students Those students funded by their government, or the U.S. government
- Alternate Insurance: Students receiving health insurance benefits provided by the U.S. employer of a parent, spouse, or domestic partner
- Foreign Study: Students enrolled at UW while studying remotely outside the U.S.
- Employer Benefits: Students working in the U.S. and receiving health insurance benefits through their employer
Alternate Health Insurance Requirements
Eligible students who plan to request a waiver of ISHIP coverage must ensure that the alternate health insurance plan meets all minimum coverage and policy requirements.
J-1 Requirements for Minimum Coverage:
- Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
- A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
- Medical evacuation to the student’s home country in the amount of $50,000
F-1 Requirements for Minimum Coverage:
- Medical benefits of at least $200,000 per medical condition per policy year
- Medical evacuation to the student’s home country in the amount of $10,000
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
The insurance policy:
- May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions which is reasonable as determined by current industry standards
- May include provision for co-insurance (co-pay) up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness
- Shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participate
Any policy, plan, or contract secured to fulfill the above requirements must, at minimum, be:
- 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
- Be backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country; or
- Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor;
- Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or eligible Competitive Medical Plan (CMP) as determined by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Please Note: International students and any accompanying J-2 spouse and dependent(s) may also be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
How to Apply for a Waiver
To request a health insurance/ISHIP waiver, the student must submit an online ISHIP Waiver Request by 1pm of the tuition deadline date – the third Friday of the quarter.
Students will receive an email response within 3-5 business days of submitting the waiver request. Waiver requests submitted the week of the deadline, may experience longer wait times for the email response.
Approved waiver requests: The ISHIP premium fee will be removed from the tuition statement. Students who have already paid tuition charges will receive a refund of the ISHIP fee according to the payment method set up to pay tuition.
Incomplete waiver requests: Students will be notified via email with additional instructions for documentation or action needed.
For health insurance waiver inquiries, please email email@example.com.