International Health Insurance

International Student Health Insurance

Overview

All international students who are on a F1 or J1 visa are required to have the Texas A&M University System Student Health Insurance Plan (SSHIP) while enrolled at a Texas A&M University System school. To learn more about the plan please review the information at Academic Health Plans. Please see Waiver Review Deadlines and Terms below for options of waivers to the insurance requirements. Since the plan is mandatory it will be charged to your tuition and fee billing statement. Check your student billing statement frequently as charges can appear even after you have paid your bill in full.   

Premium cost for the fall 2018 semester is $834. Coverage dates for fall 2018 are September 1-December 31, 2018. You will see an itemized charge for this amount on your billing statement for fall 2018. 

Please note: International students new to WTAMU  for fall 2018 will not be covered under the medical plan until September 1st.  You must have other medical insurance coverage in case of illness prior to September 1, 2018 if you are present in the U.S. until the university plan becomes active.

If you continue your enrollment during the spring 2019 term, the cost will be $1,662. Coverage dates for spring 2019 are January 1-August 31, 2019. Coverage is valid in the US as well as in your home country. 

Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT): If you graduate in December and wish to maintain insurance coverage with AHP, you must make payment arrangements for continued coverage directly with the company. You may complete an insurance continuation form at the AHP website by clicking on the enrollment tab.  

Waiver Of The Health Insurance Requirement

Waiver Requirements

Students will be automatically enrolled in the mandatory insurance plan and charges will be applied to their billing statements unless they: 1) Meet one of the waiver criteria; 2)  Apply for the waiver ; 3) Are notified they have been granted a waiver. Please do not submit a waiver request if you meet one of the waiver requirements are listed below:   

  1. Student is sponsored by the United States government;
  2. Student is sponsored by a foreign government recognized by the United States or certain international, government-sponsored or non-governmental organizations, and covered under a health plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If the health plan does not include medical evacuation and repatriation, a rider must be purchased providing coverage at equal limits to the SSHIP;
  3. Student is enrolled in an employer-provided group health plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act.  If the health plan does not include medical evacuation and repatriation, a rider must be purchased providing coverage at equal limits to the SSHIP;
  4. Student is enrolled in only distance learning programs; or
  5. Student is involved in intercollegiate athletics and coverage for all medical insurance is provide through a policy as part of the current sports accident medical policy approved by System Risk Management.

Waiver Process

Applications for waiver from automatic enrollment in SHIP are subject to Texas A&M University System Regulation #26.99.01. All requests will be subject to review and approval by the SHIP insurance provider for compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

To apply for a waiver you will need to create a new waiver account first. To create the account, do the following:

  1. Have your student ID, a scanned copy of your insurance card and benefit policy, including exclusions.
  2. Go to the insurance waiver website and review the waiver criteria.
  3. If you meet the criteria, create a new waiver account.
  4. Select the 'New Student Registration' link and provide the information requested. Upon completion select  "Register"
  5. Next, on the waiver link found under "Submit Waiver" on the waiver Home Page.
  6. Enter all information and attach the scanned copies of your documents. Click the 'Submit' button.

Once your waiver is submitted and your proof of documents are received by AHP, you will be notified via email within 5-10 business days of your waiver request. If your student account has already been charged, it may take up to 10-14 business days once the waiver has been approved to remove the charges and/or process a refund. If your tuition is due before your waiver application is processed, pay the fee and if your waiver is approved, a refund will be processed through your student account at a later date.

If the alternate health plan does not include medical evacuation and repatriation, a rider must be purchased providing coverage at equal limits to the SHIP. This can be purchased through AHP.

Waiver Review Deadlines and Terms:

The spring 2019 waiver process opens 11/30/2018 and will end 02/01/2019. Waivers will not be accepted after the end date. 
Please note:  If you are granted a waiver in the fall semester, the waiver is valid for the full academic year. If you met waiver requirements for fall, you do not need to re-apply for the waiver for the following spring semester. 

Graduate Assistantships

All graduate assistant students working at least half time  (50% FTE), taking graduate courses, and in a 4 1/2 month contract are eligible for the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan offered by the state. There is a 60 day waiting period beginning with the first day of employment before the state will contribute funds towards the insurance plan. You must complete your benefits information in Workday and assure that you have signed up for the Graduate Student Employee (GSE) plan. Your department can assist with this process. Once this is done, your information is submitted to the TAMU System Benefits office. TAMU System Benefits will then notify the insurance company who will then notify the ISS office that coverage is active. ISS will then request a billing adjustment to your statement if all of these steps have taken place. This process of reversing the charge can take up to 3 weeks.

Graduate Student Employees – If your assistantship is active fall, spring and summer (year around) and you are currently enrolled in the Graduate Student Health Plan AND will continue the assistantship the following fall, spring and summer semesters or until you graduate, you are not required to apply for a waiver of SSHIP.

Graduate Student Employees without year around appointments – If your graduate assistantship is NOT a year around assistantship, Example: Fall only; Spring only; or Fall & Spring assistantship but not summer, there will be a break in your insurance coverage. Having a break in your insurance coverage can be costly (more than the actual insurance premium) if you become ill or are injured.  ***Please contact the International Student Services office so that we may put you in contact with AHP about summer coverage options if you plan to stay in the U.S. over the summer break. You are not required to apply for a waiver of SSHIP as long as your coverage is continuous (including summer). 

New Graduate Student Employees for fall 2018 - As an employee of the university, you can sign up for insurance coverage as part of your benefits of employment. However, the insurance benefits do not begin immediately. There is a 60 day waiting period  before the coverage begins. You may be able to sign up for immediate coverage at the rate of $150 per month for two months until the coverage begins as part of your employment benefits. To sign up for this option, Please contact the International Student Services office so that we may put you in contact with AHP. Payment of the insurance premium will be deducted from your monthly pay to manage this cost. 

Removal Of Insurance Fees From Tuition Billing Statement
International Student Services will receive a list of covered graduate students or students who have been approved for a waiver of the insurance directly from Academic Health Plans each semester. Once the ISS staff receives this information, a message will be sent to the business office to remove the fee from your billing statement. Please allow at least 7-10 business days for removal of these fees since these are done on an on going basis for several weeks at the beginning of each term.

Using Your Benefits

 To Access your benefit information:

  •  Your BlueCross BlueShield (BCBSTX) ID Card will be mailed to your address on file.
    If you do not receive your card by September 30 (fall semester) or February 30 (spring semester) please contact ISS.
  • Create an online account at Blue Access for MembersSM (BAM)
    • You will need your Identification (ID) Number (not the same as Buff ID) and Group Number from your insurance card to register. If you do not have this information please call the ISS during business hours and ask to speak with Giselle Alvarado.
  • Blue Access for MembersSM (BAM) allows you access to the following:
    • Request a new/temporary ID card or print out an Emergency Coverage Letter 
    • View Coverage
    • Access Claims
    • Find a doctor, hospital, or pharmacy
  • Review your brochure and other resources at AHP-West Texas A&M University

To change your address with BlueCross BlueShield you will need to do the following:

  • Notify the ISO of your address change by submitting the Address Change Request Form
  • Notify Academic Health Plans via e-mail at support@AHPCare.com. You will NOT be able to change your address through the BlueCross BlueShield website. You will need to contact AHP as indicated above.
    The e-mail should include:
    • First and Last Name
    • Identification (ID) Number from your card 
    • Buff ID (WTAMU Student ID)
    • Campus: West Texas A&M University
    • Updated address

J2 Dependent Insurance

All J2 dependents must have adequate health insurance at all times. The insurance requirements are established by the U.S. Department of State and the federal regulations. See Regulations.

During the transition period, J2 dependents are eligible to purchase the dependent insurance through AHP. Any alternative health insurance coverage must meet all the minimum benefit levels of the J regulations and include maternity and mental health coverage. See the J minimum health insurance coverage.

WTAMU Student Medical Services (On-campus Clinic)

 Who's Eligible for Care?

Student Medical Services provides high quality, confidential, holistic health care services to our diverse student population while minimizing costs. We are committed to maintaining the physical and mental well being of our students to enhance educational experience and overall academic success. Dependents and/or spouses of enrolled students are not eligible for services unless enrolled as a student. Faculty and staff of WTAMU are not eligible for services.

To schedule an appointment please visit the Student Medical Services website.