International Student Health Insurance

Waiver eligibility

The UW ISHIP requirement may be waived only if you meet certain eligibility criteria and have comparable insurance that is valid in the U.S.

Eligibility requirements

Only students who fit into one of the following categories are eligible for an insurance waiver:

  • Exchange or “Visiting” student attending UW through an official exchange program sponsored either by a UW academic department or the UW Office of International Programs & Exchanges
  • Student funded by his or her government, or the U.S. government
  • Student receiving health insurance benefits provided by the U.S. employer of his or her parent, spouse or domestic partner
  • Student enrolled at UW but doing research outside the U.S
  • Student working in the U.S. and receiving health insurance benefits through his or her employer

The insurance must 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). (J-1 students must meet minimum insurance requirements below set by the U.S. Department of State.)

How to apply for a waiver

To request an insurance waiver, submit a waiver request by 1:00 p.m. of the tuition deadline (third Friday of the quarter).

If you hold a graduate Research or Teaching Assistant appointment, you may be eligible for the Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan (GAIP). If you enroll in GAIP, it will automatically replace ISHIP and you do not need to submit a waiver request form. For health insurance waiver inquiries, please email

J-1 Insurance Requirements

As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you and your J-2 dependents are required to have sickness and accident insurance, including coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains, for the duration of your 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 your J-1 status.

Minimum coverage must provide:

  • 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 your home country in the amount of $50,000

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:
    A. an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above;
    B. a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims- paying Ability rating of ‘‘A-” or above;
    C. a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of ‘‘B+’’ or above;
    D. a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of “A-“ or above;
    E. 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.

Be aware that you and any accompanying J-2 spouse and dependent(s) also may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

If you are eligible and plan to waive the UW ISHIP coverage, you must ensure that your alternate health insurance plan meets all minimum requirements above.