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Health Insurance for International Scholars

COVID-19 Updates:

SHIP Office Closed to Visitors
We regret to inform you that due to recent developments in the situation concerning the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the SHIP Office will be closed to visitors until further notice. SHIP staff will continue to respond to emails ( and phone calls (608-265-5232) during this period. If you were planning on visiting our office, please call or email for guidance regarding alternative means of enrollment and payment, or for assistance with any other inquiry you have. If you are unable to reach a member of SHIP staff when you call, please leave a message and you will receive a call back as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

SHIP Benefits
In addition to primary care services at UHS, SHIP will cover all member costs for COVID-19 testing (when prescribed) and antibody testing (when prescribed) at all facilities, including emergency room, urgent care, office visits, and telemedicine. SHIP will cover treatment based on the specific plan benefits. SHIP will cover treatment based on the specific plan benefits.  Call Wellfleet (the SHIP claims administrator) at 1-833-343-5338 if you have additional coverage questions about Coronavirus.  This dedicated hotline is open Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 AM to 6 PM, and Friday, from 7:30 AM to 4 PM.

SHIP is also waiving early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions for maintenance medications for at any in-network pharmacy.
For questions about prescriptions please call 1-866-818-6911.  Please also note that many pharmacies – including CVS and Walgreens, offer various home delivery options.

SHIP members (primary members and spouse/partners) who cannot access UHS for primary and preventive care at this time, should refer to our Find In-Network Providers page to locate an alternative SHIP provider that is in-network. In addition to allowing members to seek primary care at an in-network provider, the preventive care benefit has been temporarily enhanced so that eligible preventive services can be received at an in-network provider. Please note that in-network member cost sharing still applies where applicable (as detailed in the plan benefits).

If you have difficulty locating an in-network provider, or have any other questions about SHIP, please contact the SHIP office at 608-265-5232 or email

Free COVID-19 testing is also available at the Alliant Energy Center with drive-thru, walk-up, and bike-up access. More information is available on Public Health Madison Dane County’s website. UHS will offer no cost, unlimited testing to students starting in August.

For the latest information related to COVID-19, please visit the UHS COVID-19 FAQ page.

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. J-1 scholars must register in person by visiting the SHIP office at 333 East Campus Mall, 7th floor, between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

Please bring a copy of your current DS-2019 forms and passports for both you and your visa dependents.

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

Enrolling in SHIP

To enroll, visit the SHIP office at 333 East Campus Mall, 7th floor, between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Payment is accepted by VISA, MasterCard, Discover, check, or exact cash. Full payment is required upon your enrollment. You can also contact the SHIP office by phone or email if you want to determine the exact SHIP premium in advance.

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. 


To request a waiver, visit the SHIP office at 333 East Campus Mall, 7th floor, between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
Waivers will only be approved for J-1 scholars and visa dependents who meet one of the qualifying criteria listed on the 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.