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SHIP for International Students
Health insurance compliance
All international students and visa dependents are required to have UW–Madison approved health insurance coverage. You must enroll yourself and any visa dependents in SHIP or file a qualifying waiver by the compliance deadline unless you qualify for an automatic waiver (see “Automatic Waivers” section below).
Safeguarding your health
Medical treatment in the United States can be very expensive, and quality insurance coverage is essential. SHIP is a comprehensive health insurance plan that is specifically designed to safeguard the health of UW–Madison students. By administering the plan locally at University Health Services (UHS), we keep costs as low as possible—ensuring that the plan is tailored to the needs of our members.
Most services at UHS, including primary, urgent and preventive care, are fully covered for SHIP members with no out-of-pocket expense. (Please note that UHS is not open evenings and weekends and does not provide hospitalization, emergency room care, pediatric care, or specialty care for complex problems).
In addition to the medical and mental health services provided by UHS, SHIP members are protected by a nationwide network of hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical services.
It is also important to note that SHIP is not motivated by profit, which enables us to pass on any plan savings to our members.
The health care system in the United States can be overwhelming, and the SHIP Customer Service team is here to assist you with any benefits or claims issues that you may encounter. Our Frequently Asked Questions page also contains important information about SHIP and health insurance in general.
Compliance Deadlines for International Students
The SHIP office must receive a completed enrollment application and full payment or a Waiver Application [PDF], on or before the posted deadlines.
Annual and Fall Compliance Deadline: September 14
- Open enrollment is July 15-September 14
- Annual SHIP coverage is effective August 15 and terminates August 14
- Fall SHIP coverage is effective August 15 and terminates January 14
Spring/Summer Compliance Deadline: February 14
- Open enrollment is December 15-February 14
- Spring/Summer SHIP coverage is effective January 15 and terminates August 14
Summer Compliance Deadline (Newly Eligible Students Only): Within 31 days of the first day of class
- Summer SHIP coverage is effective from the first day of class and terminates on August 14.
Enrolling in SHIP
The enrollment deadline for Fall enrollments has now passed (see "Failure to Comply" section below).
SHIP will accept Spring/Summer enrollments from registered students beginning December 15, 2019.
Waivers will only be approved for international students and visa dependents who meet one of the qualifying criteria listed on the Waiver Application [PDF]. Please read the Waiver Application carefully to ensure that you understand the requirements and do not purchase insurance which does not meet the SHIP waiver requirements. If you do not qualify for a waiver, you are required to enroll in SHIP.
You do not need to file a Waiver Application if you are employed at UW–Madison and are receiving health insurance benefits that are effective on or before September 1, 2017, for fall, or February 1, 2018 for spring. If you meet these criteria, the SHIP office will file an automatic waiver on your behalf.
If you are employed at UW–Madison and are receiving health insurance benefits, but are registered for summer classes only, you must file your own Waiver Application with the SHIP office.
Dependents of UW–Madison employees who are also international students must file their own Waiver Application with the SHIP office.
Failure to Comply
International students who fail to purchase SHIP or file a qualifying waiver by the compliance deadline will be automatically enrolled in SHIP.
International students who make payment after the compliance deadline will be charged a $100 late fee and required to pay SHIP premiums from the beginning of the initial compliance period.
International students who file a qualifying waiver after the compliance deadline will be charged a $100 late fee in addition to any required premiums.
International students who fail to meet the compliance deadline will be considered non-compliant with the health insurance requirements of UW-Madison and an academic hold will be placed on the student's academic record. An academic hold prevents students from adding classes, dropping classes or obtaining a copy of their transcripts or diploma.
An academic hold will not be removed until the international student is compliant. Outstanding balances must be made by VISA/MasterCard/Discover or exact cash. If the outstanding balance remains unpaid, the account will be referred to a collections agency.
- Pay an outstanding balance at the SHIP office -- 9 am to 5 pm, Monday - Friday
- Pay an outstanding balance by telephone (608) 265-5232 -- 9 am to 5 pm, Monday - Friday (MasterCard/VISA/Discover)
- 2019/20 International SHIP Summary of Benefits and Coverage [PDF]
- International SHIP Plan Document
Includes Qualifying Events, and Terminations & Refunds policies
- Waiver Application [PDF]
- SHIP Continuation
Just present your SHIP card to receive these discounts