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4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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Office of Campus Life

July 3, 2019

Dear International Students,

As you prepare for the coming academic year, please remember that all full-time, degree-seeking AU students must have US-based health insurance that covers you in Washington, D.C. and meets our criteria.

For most international students, that means you will be covered by AU’s student health insurance plan. You don’t need to take any additional steps to be covered by this plan. You will be automatically enrolled in this insurance − which is provided by CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, a major provider of insurance across the US − and billed for it in your student account unless you waive it.

A small subset of international students, however, will be able to waive AU’s student health insurance. To determine if you may be eligible to waive, please read the following FAQs.

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible to waive?

A: To waive, you must first determine if you are in one of the following categories:

  • Government-sponsored students. Government-sponsored students whose home governments pay 100 percent of tuition and insurance are potentially eligible. (If your government sponsor only supplies funds to purchase a plan of your choice, you cannot waive. Your government must pay for the insurance directly, and the insurance provided must be a US-based plan.)
  • Other sponsored students. Students who are 100 percent financially sponsored for tuition and living expenses and provided by sponsors with US-based medical insurance are also potentially eligible.
  • Students with US-based medical insurance paid by an employer. Students with US-based insurance due to their employment, or their parents’ or spouses’ employment, might also be able to waive.

Q: I’m in one of those categories. What other criteria must I meet in order to waive?

A: If you’re in one of the categories above, you must then determine if the insurance you have meets the standards required to waive. Your health insurance – whether paid for by your government, a sponsor or an employer – must meet the following criteria:

  • It must cover you in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. (Not all US-based medical insurance plans offer coverage everywhere in the US.)
  • It must be in effect no later than the first day of your classes and must remain in effect for the entire Academic Year.
  • It must comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 2010 law that, among other things, establishes standards for health care coverage. That means your insurance must include:
    • Essential health benefit coverage
    • In-patient and outpatient medical care (e.g., covers a hospital stay as well as visits to doctor’s offices or clinics)
    • Maternity care
    • Mental health benefits
    • Pharmacy benefits
    • Preventive care
    • An unlimited benefit maximum (e.g., it can’t limit how much will be paid in benefits per year)
    • No internal benefit limits (e.g., there can’t be limits on certain types of benefits, such as mental health limits)
    • Immediate and unlimited coverage for pre-existing conditions

In other words, if you fall into one of the three categories listed, and the insurance from your sponsor or employer meets the three criteria, you will be able to waive your insurance in favor of using your sponsor- or employer-provided insurance.

Q: What Health Insurance Plans Are NOT Acceptable?

A: The following plans do not meet our standards and cannot be used to receive a waiver:

  • International medical plans based outside of the US
  • Temporary or supplemental riders to health insurance plans
  • Travel insurance plans
  • Short-term plans

Q: What if I Waived Last Year? Can I Waive Again?

A: The waiver process is annual. If you are a returning student who waived last year, you must go through the waiver process again this year and must meet the 2019-2020 standards. Please be aware that having waived last year does not guarantee you can waive this year.

Q: I Meet All the Criteria. How Do I Waive?

A: Information will be coming in mid-July on how to waive. The waiver period has not yet opened. All students will be notified by email and provided with the link to use for this online process as soon as it is available. The deadline for waiving insurance will be September 20.

Waivers will be audited after students submit them. The audit will occur in the beginning of the semester. Waivers that do not meet the university requirements will be voided and the health insurance fee charged to your student account.

If you have other questions, please contact the Student Health Center at shc@american.edu. More information on the waiver period will be coming soon, so continue to watch your email inbox.

Sincerely,
Fanta Aw
Vice President of Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence
American University
campuslife@american.edu