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Health Insurance for International Scholars

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.

SHIP Office
333 East Campus Mall,
Madison, WI 53715-1381
In-Office Hours: 9 am–5 pm, Wednesday only (5th Floor)
Phone Hours: 9am–5 pm, Monday–Friday
Phone: 608-265-5232; Fax: 608-265-5668

Compliance Deadlines for International J-1 Scholars

The Student Health Insurance Plan office is responsible for ensuring that J-1 scholars have UW–Madison approved health insurance coverage. All J-1 scholars and their visa dependents must show compliance with the health insurance requirements of UW–Madison at the SHIP office.

The SHIP office must receive a completed enrollment application and full payment, or an International Scholar Waiver Application (pdf), on or before the posted deadlines.

Enrolling in SHIP

The SHIP office has temporarily moved to the 5th floor of 333 East Campus Mall.  In-person assistance is available Wednesdays only, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The easiest way to enroll is to call one of the following dedicated SHIP office credit card payment phone numbers between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Phone payment is accepted by VISA, MasterCard, or Discover.

There is no online enrollment for international scholars.  If you are unable to make payment by credit card over the phone, please contact the SHIP office for guidance.  You can reach the SHIP office at 608-265-5232 or by email:

Important: SHIP coverage is comprised of 12 billing cycles that run from the 15th of a month through the 14th of the next month.

  • At the beginning of your SHIP enrollment you will be required to pay for the monthly billing cycle in which the later of your DS-2019 start date, arrival date, or visa transfer date falls.
  • At the end of your SHIP enrollment your coverage will terminate on the 14th of the month following your DS-2019 end date or verifiable departure date.

SHIP Premiums are payable on an annual (12 months) or half-yearly (6 months) basis

  • Annual SHIP coverage is effective August 15 and terminates August 14
  • First Half Yearly SHIP coverage is effective August 15 and terminates February 14
  • Second Half Yearly SHIP coverage is effective February 15 and terminates August 14
  • Note: If you arrive during the First Half Yearly period you have the option to pay a partial premium through the end of that period – February 14, or through August 14.
  • Premiums are pro-rated for J-1 scholars who are in the United States for a shorter period (subject to a one month minimum requirement).

Please refer to the table below for specific examples of how the start and end date of your compliance period can affect your SHIP premium. 


All completed Waiver Applications must be submitted along with a copy of the front and back of the health insurance ID card and/or written verification of coverage by email to:

Waivers will only be approved for J-1 scholars and visa dependents who meet one of the qualifying criteria listed on the International Scholar Waiver Application (pdf). All other applications will be denied.

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.

Failure to Comply

J-1 scholars who fail to purchase SHIP or file a qualifying waiver by the compliance deadline may be automatically enrolled in SHIP.

J-1 scholars 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.

J-1 scholars who file a qualifying waiver after the compliance deadline will be charged a $100 late fee in addition to any required premiums.

J-1 scholars who fail to meet the compliance deadline will be considered non-compliant with the health insurance requirements of UW–Madison. Failure to maintain compliance with the UW–Madison insurance requirement can jeopardize your J-1 program status. Visa requests (such as visa extensions or travel visas) may also be denied by the International Faculty Staff Services office until health insurance compliance is achieved.

Outstanding balances must be paid by VISA, MasterCard, Discover or exact cash. If the outstanding balance remains unpaid, the account will be referred to a collections agency.