Insurance Information for International Students                            

For some student groups, UC SHIP deadlines and coverage begin on different dates based on the dates that their academic programs begin. Make sure to check the information for your student group on the new students page. Examples of this are School of Law, FNP/PA, MPVM, and 1st year Veterinary students.

While you are in the United States, you will find that obtaining medical services and using health insurance to help pay for those services is different from what you are used to! In fact, the delivery of medical services and its complicated relationship to private health insurance in the United States is different from anywhere else in the world. People who come to the United States often find that dealing with medical issues here can be both confusing and costly.

Student Health and Counseling Services at UC Davis

Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) provides basic medical care on the UC Davis campus for all our students at low costs. Student Health and Counseling Services is conveniently located on campus at the UC Davis Student Health & Wellness Center. Information about our services is available on the SHCS homepage.

The University of California Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP)

For medical care that is not available at Student Health and Counseling Services, we have designed the University of California Student Health Insurance Plan, also known as "UC SHIP", to provide access for our students to high-quality, affordable medical services off-campus. Since you are a registered UC Davis student, you are automatically enrolled in UC SHIP, and will be charged a UC SHIP Fee each quarter.

Belonging to UC SHIP does not guarantee free medical care. However, it does mean that the cost of your medical care will be significantly reduced—you pay a portion of your medical costs and the insurance pays a portion of your medical costs. This is also true about virtually all health insurance plans in the United States. Detailed information about UC SHIP is available on the SHCS Insurance page.

If you are enrolled in UC SHIP, you will receive special help at Student Health and Counseling Services. Counselors at SHCS will help you make appointments with physicians if you need care beyond what SHCS can provide. These counselors will also follow up to make sure that your needed medical services were delivered. Our counselors will help you understand your UC SHIP health insurance benefits and will help you communicate with the insurance company if problems arise.

Insurance Services at the Student Health and Wellness Center will not be able to provide the same level of insurance support and counseling to you if you are not enrolled in UC SHIP. We will refer you to physicians outside SHCS if you need further care, but we will not make these appointments for you or follow up on your appointments. We will be unable to counsel you about your benefits on other health insurance plans or assist you in communicating with your insurance company if problems arise.

If you are a UC SHIP member, you will pay only $5 to $25 for purchases at the Student Health and Counseling Services pharmacy, and the UC SHIP insurance will cover the rest of your cost. If you are not a UC SHIP member, you will pay for the entire cost of purchases at our pharmacy (you may seek reimbursement from your own insurance plan, but you may find that purchases at our pharmacy are not covered).

Meeting J-1 and J-2 Visa Health Insurance Requirements

Federal regulations require all J visa holders to carry health insurance throughout the period of participation in the Exchange Visitor Program as a condition of maintaining legal status. The University of California Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) meets all J visa health insurance requirements, including coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation.

Your automatic enrollment in UC SHIP will begin on the first day of the quarter in which you begin school. If you arrive in the USA before school starts, you may need to obtain short-term health insurance coverage to meet J visa requirements for that period.

Should You Buy Health Insurance Before Coming to UC Davis?

There are several things to consider related to health insurance. Some UC Davis students who have other health insurance do not need UC SHIP. These students may submit a waiver application online at the SHCS website, describing their health insurance plan. If the information they provide demonstrates that their other health insurance is comparable to UC SHIP, their UC SHIP enrollment is waived, and they do not have to pay the UC SHIP fee.

These plans are not comparable to UC SHIP, and will not qualify you for a UC SHIP waiver:

  • plans that are owned, headquartered or operated outside the United States
  • travel plans
  • reimbursement programs from your home country or home government

If you have any of these plans or reimbursement arrangements and apply for a UC SHIP waiver, your UC SHIP waiver will not be approved. You will still be enrolled in UC SHIP, and you will still have to pay the UC SHIP Fee while you are a UC Davis student.

If you are planning to arrive in the United States before you begin school, a short-term travel plan may be useful to you to cover your health insurance needs until your UC SHIP coverage begins. UC SHIP coverage begins for UC Davis students on the first day of the term in which you begin school (first day of the quarter or semester).

What About Dependents?

The University of California Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) does provide coverage for Dependents of Graduate Students.  Beginning in Fall 2011, UC SHIP will also provide coverage for Dependents of Undergraduate Students.

To find out about available insurance policies for your dependents, please visit the Dependent Health Insurance webpage.

Questions?

If you have questions after reading the information about Student Health and Counseling Services and the University of California Student Health Insurance Plan, you may contact us: