Health Insurance for International Students
Updated August 7, 2023
Central Michigan University's policy requires all international students to be enrolled in a CMU-managed health insurance plan for the duration of their CMU studies. International students will be automatically enrolled in the plan by OGE and will be billed accordingly in their CMU student account.
Most U.S. universities, including CMU, require that international students enroll in a university-managed insurance plan. We believe it is in the best interest of our international students to ensure that they have adequate insurance coverage while they are in the U.S. The U.S. healthcare system is complex and medical treatments are more expensive than in most other countries. Without universal healthcare in the U.S., private insurance is necessary for individuals to have access to healthcare at more affordable rates. The CMU-managed plan provides comprehensive healthcare services, including preventative care, emergency care, prescription coverage, and much more. One major advantage of a CMU-managed plan is that we can negotiate high quality health coverage at a group rate that is lower than what would be available to an individual. Having access to healthcare at a reasonable cost allows our international students to focus on their academic success and personal well-being.
Health insurance plan details
CMU partners with GeoBlue (a part of the national Blue Cross Blue Shield network) to provide a comprehensive and reasonably-priced health insurance plan to our international students. Details of the 2023-24 insurance plan may be accessed here. Coverage starts on August 1, 2023 and ends on July 31, 2024. The annual 12 month premium for 2023-24 is $1,532.16 ($127.68 per month for an individual). CMU is very pleased to have worked with GeoBlue to keep the cost of the annual premium the same as the 2022-23 year. Please see below for frequently asked questions. If you have questions that are not answered below, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently asked questions
Is health insurance mandatory for all international students? Can I find a different health insurance plan on my own? Are there any exceptions?
Per CMU’s policy, all international students who are registered for any number of credits at CMU are subject to the health insurance requirement and will be enrolled in the CMU-managed plan.
For the purposes of the policy, “international student” is defined as any person who is in a non-immigrant visa status who is enrolled for one or more credit hours at the university at any CMU U.S.-based campus. This does not include permanent residents, asylees, or refugees. Guest students holding I-20s or DS-2019s from other institutions are excluded from this policy.
Outside health insurance plans will not satisfy the institutional requirement, except in the following limited cases. An international student may request a waiver if:
- The student provides proof of health insurance through a sponsor.
- The student provides proof of health insurance provided by a United States employer.
- The student provides proof of health insurance provided by a US-based parent, spouse, or domestic partner.
A student will be granted a waiver if such health insurance coverage meets or exceeds the university's specific coverage requirements. Students who wish to submit a waiver request may send an email to email@example.com for additional information.
The following kinds of insurance plans will not be considered as comparable to CMU's International Student Health Insurance Plan and therefore are NOT acceptable as a basis for a waiver request:
- Travel insurance and 'emergency only' insurance: Travel insurance is often only in effect for a short period time (e.g. 60-90 days) and is designed for short trips, not for students who will be living in the United States for an academic year or more. Likewise, insurance that covers emergencies only, or that pays for a patient's condition to be “stabilized” but then requires the patient to be returned to the home country for treatment is not acceptable.
- Medicaid: Medicaid is not acceptable as a substitute for CMU's International Student Health Insurance Plan, since F-1 and J-1 students or scholars are not eligible for Medicaid. This includes “Healthy Michigan”, which is Michigan’s “Medicaid expansion”. Even if a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services staff member mistakenly enrolls an international student or scholar in Medicaid or in Healthy Michigan, an insurance waiver based on Medicaid or Healthy Michigan enrollment will not be approved by CMU.
- Canadian Health Coverage: For Canadian students, health coverage provided by your Canadian province (OHIP, etc.) is not acceptable as a substitute for CMU's International Student Health Insurance Plan because it does not pay for the actual U.S. costs of health care, and it requires you to return to Canada for non-emergency care or for additional treatment after you have been stabilized. Therefore, this coverage is not sufficient to meet CMU's requirements and would not qualify for a waiver.
How will I be enrolled in the insurance?
The Office of Global Engagement provides names of all international students to the insurance company so they can be enrolled in the plan. Students will receive an email to their Cmich account from GeoBlue which contains important information about accessing your insurance ID card and finishing the insurance registration process. Enrollment occurs twice per academic year; once in August and once in January. This allows students who graduate in fall to come off the plan and students who start in the spring to be added to the plan. Students are strongly encouraged to download the GeoBlue app on a smartphone to easily access your insurance card, find local doctors, submit and track claims, and review coverage details. (Review the GeoBlue app guide.)
How will I be billed for the insurance? Are there other costs?
Students will be billed the annual premium in two installments. The charges will be placed on your CMU student account. The fall charge will cover 5 months of the annual premium (August - December). The spring charge will cover 7 months of the premium (January – July). Students may opt to set up a payment plan through CMU's OneCentral, which allows you to make multiple payments over the course of a semester.
It is important to note that in addition to the cost of the annual premium, you share the cost of your health care expenses with the health insurance company through the form of deductibles, coinsurance and/or copays. Students receive individual bills from health care providers for specific services and work with the insurance company to discuss claims, bills, and payments. (CMU does not facilitate your individual health care expenses or payments.)
Will my GA/GRA/GTA cover the cost of the CMU health insurance?
Graduate Assistants who receive a full or pro-rated Wellness Allowance may use these funds toward the cost of their CMU health insurance premium. Questions about GA amounts and benefits should be directed to your faculty advisor or to the Office of Faculty Personnel Services.
What is covered by the insurance plan?
The plan provides comprehensive coverage, including preventative care and wellness visits, urgent care, hospital stays and emergency visits, prescriptions, and more. It also provides benefits for repatriation of remains and medical evacuation. Full details are available in the GeoBlue International Student Health Insurance Guide.
Does the CMU-managed plan provide dental and vision coverage?
No, the CMU-managed plan does not provide dental or vision benefits. It is not common in the U.S. for medical insurance to include coverage for dental or vision care. Students may seek separate plans for these needs on their own if desired. Two well-known national companies that you may consider are:
VSP Vision https://www.vspdirect.com
How does the insurance work? Is someone available to explain the details to me?
CMU’s insurance provider has dedicated customer agents who specialize in working with international students. Customer service is available in multiple languages and they understand the types of questions you may have as you become familiar with the U.S. healthcare system, including explaining terms such as in-network, primary care provider, pre-existing conditions, deductibles, co-pays, claims, etc.
We strongly recommend that students download the GeoBlue app which provides helpful information such as finding a local healthcare provider, a digital copy of your insurance ID card, and copies of your insurance claims. (Review the GeoBlue app guide.)
I have a spouse and/or children; are they eligible for the health insurance?
Yes, spouses and dependents may be added to an individual’s plan for an additional cost. For the 2023-24 year, the monthly premium for a spouse is $383.03, the monthly premium for one child is $191.52, and the monthly premium for more than one child is $383.03.
If I’m on OPT, am I required to have the CMU health insurance?
Students on OPT are not subject to the requirement. However, students on OPT may choose to purchase the plan if desired. Students who opt-in will be responsible for their own enrollment and payment of the premium (it will not be facilitated by CMU). Annual premiums for students on OPT are calculated by the insurance provider separately and therefore may differ from the rate that enrolled students pay. For 2023-24, the monthly rate for OPT students is $229.20.
Will the CMU-managed plan cover me if I travel outside the U.S.?
Yes, it provides worldwide emergency coverage, except in the International Student or Scholar’s home country.