The information on this page applies to circumstances such as understanding coverage between academic quarters, leaving the UW for OPT employment, or graduation.
Medical gap insurance is a supplemental health plan that acts as a cushion for international students who need coverage when ISHIP is not active – usually Early Fall start or the 2 weeks between Summer and Autumn ISHIP coverage.
Students Who May Purchase GAP Insurance
- New or Early Fall Start Students: International students who are new to UW and plan an early arrival in the U.S. or students enrolled in Early Fall Start classes who need coverage before Autumn ISHIP coverage begins.
- Continuing Students-Summer Quarter: Continuing international students who did not purchase Annual coverage and who do not plan to register for Summer quarter classes.
- Graduates/OPT: Students who have graduated and entered Optional Practical Training (OPT) and are no longer eligible for ISHIP.
GAP Coverage Considerations
- Many short-term medical plans have preexisting condition clauses that exclude coverage for things such as pregnancies, preventative services, and chronic conditions.
- Insurance companies offer a variety of plans from which to choose. Consider personal and family health needs and carefully weigh them against each insurance option.
- Students with current medical needs should inquire specifically whether the plan will cover the services they require.
- Students in OPT should make certain the company covers OPT period. Some insurance companies only cover students who are currently registered in classes.
- As an international student, it is required to have emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage. Please ensure the plan includes these two benefits.
- The UW considers the following insurance coverage minimums as a good basis for an adequate insurance plan:
- Insurance plans that provide a monetary minimum of $200,000 or more per medical condition per policy year, medical evacuation (at least $10,000) and repatriation of remains (at least $7,500).
GAP Coverage Companies
The following list includes major companies that provide short-term medical “GAP” coverage. The UW maintains no association with the companies listed and cannot provide insurance counseling for their medical plans. Students are responsible for procuring and maintaining suitable health insurance and for any required correspondence.
After graduation, students who elect to stay in the U.S. and pursue Optional Practical Training (OPT), are no longer considered currently registered at the UW and are no longer eligible for ISHIP coverage.
There are a number of insurance options to be aware of during an OPT period.
- Some employers offer medical insurance to employees working OPT. Make sure to inquire with the OPT employer to verify if this is an option and determine when medical coverage begins.
- Students who graduate at the end of Autumn, Winter, or Spring quarters, may enroll in the Annual ISHIP coverage during the registration period which will extend medical coverage to the end of summer quarter regardless of early graduated status.
- Students who are not eligible for employer-sponsored insurance and did not choose the Annual ISHIP option will need to acquire medical coverage from an outside company.
A hardship withdrawal occurs when a student is incapable of completing coursework because of a physical and/or mental debilitation, or unusual/extenuating circumstance beyond their control and seeks a withdrawal after the quarterly registration period.
Although students may receive a refund of many of the costs incurred at the UW if Hardship Withdrawal is approved, the ISHIP premium fees are subject to the agreement between the UW and the insurance carrier. In this case, fees may not be refundable if the ISHIP Office is notified after the UW has paid the insurance carrier the premium fees for the student coverage.