Health Insurance for Visiting International Students

Before You Leave Home

UW-Madison does not require you to take a physical examination or receive any specific vaccinations before arrival. You are advised to bring medical records of any existing medical condition and a record of previous immunizations.

Health Service on Campus

University Health Services (UHS) provides all enrolled UW students with primary physical and mental health care and disease prevention services. Services include visits to UHS doctors and nurses, most diagnostic laboratory studies and x-rays.

Services NOT provided by UHS include hospitalization expenses, medical care for family members, emergency room services, eye refractions and dental care (among others). You will receive more information about UHS during orientation.

Health Insurance is Required

UW-Madison requires health insurance for international students and their dependents. Since you are a student who will come to UW-Madison on an F or J visa, you must meet these requirements for yourself and for any dependents accompanying you. Please read the important information below to learn how to become compliant with these health insurance requirements.

Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) for International Students

The Student Health Insurance Program is UW-Madison's approved health insurance coverage which is required for all international students and visa dependents.

At the international student orientation, SHIP representatives will provide details about the program, forms to complete, and payment information. In addition, benefits and prices of the SHIP policy for international students are listed on their website.

How do I enroll in the Student Health Insurance Program?

Enroll online at the SHIP website or by visiting the SHIP office at 333 Campus Mall. We strongly encourage you to enroll online to avoid lines at the SHIP office. You do not need to purchase SHIP before you depart for Madison, but may do so by enrolling online. You must be enrolled in UW-Madison classes before you can purchase SHIP.

When is the insurance compliance deadline?

Students must register at the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Office no later than September 15 in the fall or February 14 in the spring. Summer students should enroll as soon as they arrive on campus. You can register either by purchasing SHIP insurance OR by filing an approved waiver application. Failure to register by deadlines will result in a $50.00 late fee in addition to any required SHIP premiums.

How do I pay for the Student Health Insurance Program?

You can pay for SHIP for the entire year or by semester, using a credit card (MasterCard or VISA), traveler’s checks, or U.S. personal checks.

When does the SHIP policy start and end?

Policies typically run from August 15 through January 14 and January 15 through August 14. Fortunately, SHIP will cover you from the moment you arrive in Madison (on or after August 15), even if you don’t enroll until a few days later.

Summer policies depend on which sessions you attend.

I already have health insurance at home that I wish to use. Do I have to purchase SHIP insurance?

It is possible (although it is not guaranteed) to obtain an exemption from purchasing SHIP, called a “waiver.” To obtain a waiver, you must meet all requirements established by UW-Madison. If you plan to apply for a waiver, it is best to do so immediately and definitely before purchasing other insurance (even insurance that is recommend by your home university).

How do I apply for a waiver?

Waiver forms are available on the SHIP website. Include the beginning and ending dates of your insurance coverage and attach a description in English and U.S. dollars listing all benefits of the coverage and all exclusions (exclusions are services not provided by the coverage).

If you see your insurance plan listed on page 2, section D of the waiver form, submit the waiver application and any additional required documents by the deadline and make sure that your home country insurance plan will cover all your needs while in the U.S. Even if your waiver is approved, you will still have access to all the services provided by University Health Service listed above.

Send the waiver form and supporting documents directly to SHIP at the address or fax number below. After reviewing the information, they will inform you whether the waiver has been approved or whether you will need to purchase SHIP.

If you DO NOT see your insurance plan listed on page 2, section D of the waiver form, you will not be able to file a waiver form and you will need to plan on purchasing SHIP health insurance.

For more information on SHIP insurance or waivers: Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP), University Health Services, 333 East Campus Mall, Madison, WI 53715, Phone 608-265-5232, Fax: 608-265-5668, Email: