International Student Health Insurance changes; requirements revised for 2017-18

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State is moving to United Healthcare Student Resources as the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) carrier for the 2017–18 academic year. In addition, the international student health insurance requirements for the 2017–18 academic year have been revised. The new requirements mandate that all international students and their accompanying dependents submit proof of health insurance that meets specific criteria, or purchase the Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan.

The new requirements were put in place to ensure students have adequate health care coverage at the campus they attend. Many students arrive at Penn State uninsured or underinsured, and are not covered to receive health care services. Health care services can be very costly and unexpected expenses can be disruptive to a student’s academic progress.

The most significant change will include a requirement for all plans to either be filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance or be a sponsored plan that meets waiver standards and is approved by the Penn State Student Health Insurance Office accompanied by a letter of financial guarantee directly from the plan sponsor. These changes will eliminate short-term plans as acceptable coverage. In addition, the Penn State SHIP will be the only United Healthcare product available to Penn State students as part of the new agreement with United Healthcare Student Resources. As some plans currently accepted will no longer meet the new criteria, it is important for returning students to check with potential health insurance carriers in advance of purchasing coverage.

International students must enroll or waive Penn State SHIP coverage through the First Student website by Sept. 5, 2017. After this deadline, students will incur a $50 fee on their student account for first-time late offenses, and a $100 fee for subsequent late offenses. To waive coverage, international students must provide proof of an alternate insurance plan that meets all of the following criteria:

1. U.S. carrier or entity is approved to do business in the U.S. and compliant with all guidelines of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

2. Carrier has a filed and approved health insurance policy with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Insurance or has a sponsored insurance plan that meets the waiver standards and is approved by the Student Health Insurance Office, together with a letter of financial guarantee directly from the plan sponsor

3. Coverage for 100 percent of preventive and contraceptive care (preventive examinations, immunizations, and screening tests, as required by the PPACA and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for student health insurance plans)

4. Coverage for pre-existing conditions with no waiting period

5. Deductible no greater than $500

6. Coverage for all essential benefits for accident and sickness, including prescription drug coverage, without limitation

7. Pregnancy as any other illness or injury

8. Inpatient and outpatient mental health/substance abuse as any other condition

9. No exclusions for injury or illness as a result of alcohol, drugs, or attempted suicide

10. Worldwide coverage

11. $3,000 in-network out-of-pocket maximum

12. $15,000/$30,000 out-of-network out-of-pocket maximum

OR U.S. employer-sponsored health insurance in place of standards 1 to 12

AND Medical evacuation ($100,000)/Repatriation ($50,000) minimum limits

About the Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan

The Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan offers students comprehensive health insurance at a competitive price with a wide network of providers across the United States. The plan is offered through First Student College Student Health Insurance, underwritten by United Healthcare Student Resources.

The Penn State SHIP is available to graduate students enrolled in one or more credit hours at an annual premium of $3,418, and undergraduate students enrolled in three or more credit hours at an annual premium of $2,444, and their eligible dependents. The Penn State SHIP is available to students at all campuses, with the exception of World Campus students.

To learn more about Penn State SHIP coverage for graduate and undergraduate students, please reference:

Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan changes and new rates for graduate and professional students  

Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan changes and new rates for undergraduates

Additional plan details including rates, dependent information, and enrollment deadlines can be viewed by visiting the UHS website.

Questions about Student Health Insurance can be directed to University Health Services office of Student Health Insurance at

Last Updated September 01, 2017