It is the responsibility of international students who are required to maintain health insurance to ACTIVATE their enrollment in the Student Health Insurance Plan or submit a WAIVER for each coverage period no later than the posted deadline.
Students holding comparable coverage may be eligible to waive enrollment in the Student Health Insurance Plan.
- You are encouraged to complete your waiver request as soon as possible. Any additional information that may be requested must be submitted prior to the posted deadline.
- Late submissions will not be accepted.
- If you DO NOT submit a waiver or if your waiver submission is not approved, you will be automatically enrolled in SHIP and the cost of the insurance coverage will remain posted to your university financial account.
The University of Houston will submit your eligibility to request a waiver of the Student Health Insurance Plan to Academic HealthPlans, the third-party plan administrator, throughout each term’s Open Enrollment Activation and Wavier period.
During the ENROLLMENT ACTIVATION and WAIVER period, uploads from the university will be processed daily at approximately 6:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 10:00 PM. After the health insurance charge has been posted to your university account, allow approximately one (1) hour after the next scheduled upload before attempting to submit a WAIVER.
The Student Health Center facilitates the reporting and communication functions on behalf of the university. The Student Health Center does not accept or review waiver submissions.
The waiver department at Academic HealthPlans will audit all submitted waiver request documentation based on the University of Houston System Policy for International Student Health Insurance Requirements.
The waiver submission process is to determine if a student has acceptable alternate insurance. The waiver department is unable to accept waiver submissions solely for the purpose of self-reporting remote/online learning or changes in a student’ visa/residency status.
Questions about your visa status and why you are considered to be an international student or studying outside of the United States should be directed to the International Student and Scholar Services Office.
Questions about your residency status should be directed to the Office of the University Registrar.
Wavier Submission Minimum Requirements
An international student may request a waiver of this mandatory health insurance fee in the following instances with proof of acceptable alternate insurance.
- The student is academically sponsored by the U.S. government, the government of the student's home country is recognized by the U.S. or by certain international, government-sponsored, or non-governmental organizations if the academic sponsor has provided a plan equivalent to the SHIP or a letter guaranteeing payment of all health care expenses.
- The student is enrolled in a verifiable employer-provided group health plan which is equivalent to the SHIP.
- If medical evacuation and repatriation that equals the amounts as compared to the SHIP are not included in an otherwise acceptable policy, a rider must be purchased.
NOTE: Unacceptable sponsorships include, but are not limited to:
- A student is self-sponsored
- A student is sponsored by an individual
Types of alternate health insurance plans that will automatically be denied without further review include, but are not limited to:
- An individual/family plan obtained directly from HealthCare.gov, other government service organization that does not academically sponsor the student or an insurance company.
- A Travel Plan or Study Abroad Plan.
- A Healthcare Spending Account.
- A Healthcare plan that does not cover the full requirements listed in the waiver criteria.
- An insurance plan/coverage through most foreign National Health Services programs.
- A Healthcare plan with documentation that is not provided in English or with US dollars.
- A Student Health Insurance Plan from another university or college if the University of Houston holds the student’s I-20. Students submitting a Student Health Insurance Plan from another university/college must include official documentation of which university/college holds their active I-20 before their alternate health insurance plan can be considered.
Online Waiver Submission Periods
The Official Reporting Day listed for the regular session for each term is used as the posted deadline date for all sessions within that term.
- SUMMER 2023
May 26, 2023 (8:00 am CDT) – June 8, 2023 (5:00 pm CDT)
- FALL 2023
July 24, 2023 (8:00 am CDT) - September 6, 2023 (5:00 pm CDT)
- SPRING 2024
December 18, 2023 (8:00 am CDT) - January 31, 2024 (5:00 pm CDT)
- SUMMER 2024
May 27, 2024 (8:00 am CDT) - June 6, 2024 (5:00 pm CDT)
In order to be approved for a waiver of enrollment in the mandatory SHIP, an alternate health insurance plan must meet or exceed all minimum requirements and be submitted each coverage period by the posted waiver deadline.
- Medical/preventative care benefits equivalent to the UHS-endorsed Student Health Insurance Plan with no annual limits.
- Contains no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
- Imposes no provisions for co-insurance that exceed 25% of the covered benefits.
- Medical evacuation coverage amount is no less than $50,000.
- Repatriation coverage amount is no less than $25,000.
- International "J" Student Visa Holders must have a policy whose deductible does not exceed $500 annually.
- International "F" Student Visa Holders must have a policy whose deductible does not exceed $1,500 (individual)/$3,000 (family) annually.
International students that are subject to this policy must have health and medical evacuation/repatriation coverage that meets or exceeds the following SHIP coverage periods:
- Fall: August 1 st – December 31 st
- Spring/Summer: January 1 st – August 31 st
- Summer Only: June 1 st – August 31 st
(You DO NOT want the student health insurance plan)
- Have a scanned copy of the following documentation ready to upload:
- A scanned copy of the front and back of your health insurance ID card indicating the student as a covered member.
- A scanned copy of your complete policy, including coverage amounts, exclusions, and limitations in English using US dollars.
- A scanned copy of your medical evacuation and repatriation coverage (if you have this coverage).
- Go to Academic HealthPlans: Enrollment Activation and Waiver
- Select the 'Click Here to Waive' link.
By clicking the "Click Here to Waive" link, you confirm that you have read and understand the University of Houston System Policy concerning F and J Visa International Health Insurance Requirements.
- Once you log in using your CougarNet ID and Password, select the WAIVE button from the "I Already Have Insurance" section.
- Complete the waiver form and attach an electronic copy of the front and back of your medical insurance card and your full policy document.
- Select the 'Submit Waiver' button at the bottom of the waiver form.
- You will receive a waiver status email within 7-10 business days.
Once you have successfully submitted your waiver request you will receive an on-screen confirmation and an automated email confirming receipt of your request. Please make sure you receive this submission confirmation email, and print it for your records. Should there be any problems with your waiver, you will need this confirmation email which contains your waiver request ID number.
QUESTIONS: Contact Academic HealthPlans Customer Service at 1-855-824-9683 or by using the AHP Help contact form.
The Student Health Center facilitates the reporting and communication functions on behalf of the university. The Student Health Center DOES NOT accept or review waiver submissions.
The waiver department at Academic HealthPlans audits all submitted waiver documentation based on the University of Houston System Policy for International Student Health Insurance Requirements .
It is the responsibility of the student to submit an acceptable alternate health insurance plan that meets or exceeds the Waiver Submission Minimum Requirements prior to the posted deadline.
If the waiver department determines during the audit of a student's waiver submission documentation that the alternate health insurance policy does not meet the minimum requirements, documentation cannot be verified or that additional information is needed to verify the waiver submission, the waiver will be denied and no further review of the currently submitted documentation will be completed at that time.
The student will be sent an email that will include the reason for the denial and instructions about how to submit additional information by the posted deadline, if applicable. It is the responsibility of the student to submit additional information for consideration should they believe that their alternate health insurance plan does meet the waiver criteria.
There is no exception to the university policy or the waiver submission minimum requirements.