Some Frequently Asked Questions about Waivers of International Student Health Insurance
Health care in the United States is expensive and the individual is responsible for paying their medical costs. The government does not pay for it. Having health insurance protects the individual by helping pay the medical expenses if he/she should become ill or be involved in an accident and it also helps you stay healthy by allowing you to get the preventative care you need. For these reasons, all international students in F-1, J-1/J-2 and M-1 status who attend one of the 11 schools in the North Dakota University System (NDUS) are required by NDUS to have the state-mandated student health insurance policy through UnitedHealthcare StudentResources (UHCSR). With the following in-network benefits of a $100 deductible, cost-sharing at 80/20, and a $5,000 out of pocket maximum per year for an individual student, you will find that the policy is excellent and is a good balance of low out-of-pocket costs and good benefits. In addition, the UHCSR plan also covers medical services at Student Health Services at 100% with no deductible, so it is often less expensive to have the student insurance plan and utilize campus healthcare options. Despite the high quality and many benefits of the student plan, some students wish to substitute utilize another policy that is comparable to the student plan. Under NDUS Policy/Procedure 505, students may be eligible for a waiver of this insurance requirement if they are able to provide proof of comparable coverage. If you wish to have your request for a waiver considered, please fill out the waiver form completely and submit to the NDSU Office of International Programs for review.
Waivers are granted in only a few exceptional situations, as listed below and on the form.
Waiver Deadline and Requirements: Fall 2014
To qualify for a waiver, you must submit your request prior to the Fall 2014 deadline (September 3) and also demonstrate your comparable coverage was already in place as of the first day of the Fall 2014 semester in order to qualify. Comparable coverage must also be in place throughout the entire insurance period until at least December 31. If your situation remains the same for Spring 2015 and you wish to submit a waiver request for the next cycle (Spring/Summer 2015), please submit the waiver form again for Spring once you are registered for the Spring 2015 term.
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Waivers of International Student Health Insurance
General Waiver Information
Students NOT required to fill out a waiver form
- If you are a student from Canada or Norway, you are not required to purchase the insurance as per NDUS Policy 505. The waiver is automatic and student health insurance will not be charged to your account. If you have a policy from your home country, please note insurance policies based outside the U.S. may only cover costs up to what is usual and customary in your home country, and this may lead to unexpected additional costs for medical expenses incurred while in the United States. If you opt to choose the policy through United Healthcare, or would like more information regarding the benefits of having a health insurance policy based in the United States, please contact your international student advisor.
- J-1 scholars who have already purchased the required plan upon arrival. If you have been charged student health insurance on your account, please contact Faculty Immigration Assistant Tabitha Thomas at Tabitha.Thomas@ndsu.edu to have the charge waived or to be advised on the required coverage for your family members.
- Students otherwise required to purchase the policy, but the student is withdrawing and/or transferring out of NDSU within 31 days of the start of the Fall 2014 semester (prior to September 25, 2014). Students transferring after this date may not be eligible for a waiver/refund.
- Other situations - please email Sara.J.Johnson@ndsu.edu with the required information below prior to the deadline (date to be announced later).
- Any non-immigrant student not in F-1 or J-1 status (For example students that are in the following visa statuses: H-1B, H-4, TN, TD, etc.). Please submit a copy of your approval notice or visa.
- Any student who can show evidence of a change in visa status to permanent resident or U.S. citizenship/naturalization. Please provide a copy of your greencard/U.S. passport.
- Distance learning students who are studying from their home country/outside of the United States for the duration of their program.
What are some examples of situations where a special waiver may be allowed?
As long as the policy to be substituted meets the test of comparable coverage as per Policy 505, waivers may be considered in the following situations including but not limited to:
- Students with employer insurance such as F-1 students on OPT or J-1 students on academic training. (Please note: J-1 students on academic training must meet additional approval from NDSU and certain U.S. State Department requirements. Please consult with your international student advisor for more information if you are a J-1 student who wishes to substitute an employer policy.)
- If your spouse/parent has employer insurance and you are insured under them.
- Students who choose to purchase a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov – the plan must be at least a “Platinum” metallic level plan to be considered comparable. But please note comparable Platinum level plans on the Marketplace will be much more expensive than this UHCSR plan so it is generally not recommended to find coverage on the Marketplace due to cost.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Waiver Form
How do I know if my insurance company is licensed in the State of North Dakota?
On the following link, you can find a list of insurance companies licensed to do business in the State of North Dakota: http://www.nd.gov/ndins/consumers/health/insuranceplans/
What if I have questions about the coverage requirements of the plan I want to substitute?
Please consult your plan materials or contact the benefits specialist in the HR department of your employer.
What if I am on OPT and am no longer located in Fargo?
If you are on post-completion Optional Practical Training and are permanently no longer located in Fargo and will not be returning to Fargo, we can offer exceptions to some of the waiver criteria. If your policy is comparable on most criteria, except the following since they are specific to NDSU and Fargo/North Dakota, a waiver still may be possible. The criteria that your policy would not need to meet are: #1 (Is your insurance company located in the state of North Dakota?); #2 (Are providers local to your NDUS campus in-network under your PPO?); #4 (Is there 100% coverage at Student Health Services with no deductible?)
My insurance does not have unlimited medical evacuation/repatriation of remains benefits. Where do I purchase a supplemental policy?
One suggestion is the International SOS plan which has an aggregate limit of a maximum of 1 million dollars in benefits for medical evacuation/repatriation of remains. Currently the price is approximately $70. http://www.internationalsos.com. You are responsible for continuing to purchase a supplemental policy throughout the duration of my studies and as long as this waiver is required to be in effect. How to purchase: Click on the above hyperlink and "Get a Quote." Fill in the answers for the drop-down menus: I live in (your home country); I am traveling for (education or teaching); and I want coverage for (a single trip). And select dates from the current date/tomorrow's date to one year from that date for 1 year of coverage. Then in the "Select My Plan" section, enter the following information: Primary Destination (United States), Your age, Your citizenship, Residence Country (United States), Residence State (North Dakota). Then, click "See Plans and Prices" and choose the "Visitor USA" column (price should be $68). You will receiving a confirmation email shortly after payment and you should enter your member information on the waiver form.
What happens if I lose my coverage that is comparable?
Willful failure to comply with the conditions of the waiver conditions set forth may jeopardize my legal immigration student status. If for any reason you lose your comparable health insurance coverage to reasons beyond your control (including due to becoming unemployed), you agree to contact the Office of International Programs immediately to get added to the NDUS designated health insurance plan. Please note that in order to ensure no gap in coverage, the Office of International Programs reserves the right to determine the start date of the designated United Healthcare health insurance plan and when the plan will take effect. Failure to inform our office of any unapproved changes in your insurance situation may affect your legal F-1 or J-1 status. If you decide in the future you no longer want a waiver and instead choose to have the UnitedHealthcare student plan, please do not cancel your current insurance plan until you visit with your international student advisor so that we may advise you on when you are eligible to be added to the student plan.
Click here to download the Fall 2014 Waiver Form.