International Student Health Insurance

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Health insurance mandatory for all international students

Washington state law requires that international students maintain adequate health insurance while attending the University of Washington. All matriculated international students in F-1 or J-1 status at the University of Washington Tacoma are required to enroll in the University of Washington International Student Health Insurance Plan (ISHIP) for each quarter of enrollment.  The insurance is provided by the LifeWise Assurance Company. Go to LifeWise's website for more information on ISHIP for UW Tacoma students:

Keep in mind that health care costs are very expensive in the United States, and individuals are responsible for paying all health care costs not covered by insurance. A good insurance policy gives you access to excellent medical facilities and provides protection against the very high costs of health care.

Enrollment process

When you register for classes, you will be required to select insurance, and the insurance costs will be added automatically to your student account. Insurance ID cards are mailed to students' U.S. mailing address 1-2 weeks after the start of coverage or registration to classes which ever date is later. Always list an up-to-date mailing address in the U.S. available in your MyUW. If you have not received your insurance ID card, please call Lifewise Customer Services at 800-971-1491. You can also contact our Insurance Counselor at 206-543-6202 or if you have any questions about your insurance plan. To learn more about missing insurance card, visit info on this page:

IMPORTANT: MAcc and MCL Students

Since Master of Accounting and Master of Cybersecurity and Leadership are both fee based programs, students in these programs will NOT be automatically enrolled to ISHIP. If you are enrolled in one of these programs and wish to enroll in ISHIP, email: by 3rd Friday of each quarter. Mention your full name, date of birth and student ID number in the email. If you wish to add your dependents, include their full name and date of birth in the email.  

Cost for coverage

The premiums per quarter for coverage of the student only $385. Dependent coverage is an additional cost. More details on rates and coverage is available on ISHIP website here:

Annual coverage vs. Quarterly coverage

You have option to purchase annual coverage or quarterly coverage at the time of quarterly class registration.

Tip: If you are planning not to register for summer quarter but plans to remain in the U.S., consider purchasing annual coverage at the time of spring quarter class registration. 

Tip: If you are planning to apply for in post-completion OPT, consider purchasing annual coverage at the time of your final quarter class registration. 

Plan dates

Please review the details of the plan carefully, including the effective dates of coverage.  If you arrive in the U.S. before the effective date of the UW insurance plan, you should buy supplemental insurance during this uninsured period. You can purchase coverage from another insurance company (see below for suggested alternate companies).

2020-2021 Dates of Coverage
Autumn Quarter September 1, 2020 – January 3, 2021
Winter Quarter January 4, 2021 – March 28, 2021
Spring Quarter March 29, 2021 – June 20, 2021
Summer Quarter June 21, 2021 – August 31, 2021

Failure to fulfill the insurance requirement

Any student who is not enrolled in insurance, or has not been approved for a waiver, will have class registration blocked. Failure to maintain a full-time courseload will lead to termination of your I-20 by the Int'l Student and Scholar Services office.

UW Tacoma Student Health Services

Basic Health Services are available to all enrolled UW Tacoma students at six Fransiscan Prompt Care Clinics. These services are funded by UW Tacoma's Services and Activities Fee.  The closest clinic to campus is Franciscan Prompt Care at St. Joseph. This clinic can help with immunizations, flu shots, annual physicals and other primary care medical services. Student also have access to 24/7 Virtual Urgent Care. Many services are free for all UW Tacoma students. To learn more, visit Student Health Services' website

UW Insurance Waiver Eligibility

Students who are in their home country and taking online-only courses at UW are elgiible to waive the ISHIP requirement and associated fee. Appy for a waiver by the third Friday of each quarter. Submit the ISHIP Waiver Request located on this page

Students should not expect to purchase an insurance plan that is not through the University of Washington. The requirement to purchase the UW Student Health Insurance Plan may be waived only if you fit into one of the following categories and have comparable insurance that is valid in the U.S. Those who are eligible for an insurance waiver include: 

  • Exchange or visiting student attending UW through an official exchange program sponsored either by a UW academic department or the UW Office of International Programs & Exchanges.
  • Student funded by his or her government, or the U.S. government. Funding agencies include but are not limited to DAAD and Fulbright.
  • Student receiving health insurance benefits provided by the U.S. employer of his or her parent, spouse or domestic partner.
  • Student enrolled at UW but doing research outside the United States.
  • Student working in the U.S. and receiving health insurance benefits through his/her employer.

Minimum Coverage: The insurance must provide a monetary minimum of $200,000 or more per medical condition per policy year, medical evacuation (at least $10,000), and repatriation of remains (at least $7,500).

Research or Teaching Assistantship: If you receive a graduate Research Assistant appointment, you may be eligible for the Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan (GAIP). If you enroll, this will automatically replace the UW Student Health Insurance Plan and no waiver is required. Note that if you lose your GAIP coverage, you will not be able to buy LifeWise for the remainder of the year and will have to purchase your health insurance through the self-pay option with GAIP. If you lose your GAIP coverage but you register for classes, you are eligible for ISHIP.

Applying for a Waiver: Submit the ISHIP Waiver Request located on this page. You must submit the online waiver no later than 1:00 pm on the 3rd Friday of the quarter. 

Supplemental coverage:

Students who need coverage during their post-completion OPT period, or any other period of their stay in the U.S. that is not covered by the UW International Student Health Insurance Plan, should buy supplemental insurance. Below are some companies providing individual insurance plans for international students. Note that the UW maintains no association with the companies listed. Each student is responsible for procuring and maintaining suitable health insurance.