Federal law requires all J-1 exchange visitors and their dependents to have medical insurance that meets certain minimum standards. Beyond the federal requirement, Stephen F. Austin State University requires all international students and their dependents regardless of visa classification to maintain health insurance to protect them during their time at SFA. Health insurance is not required during periods of Optional Practical Training (OPT), but is highly encouraged.
To satisfy university requirements for health insurance, a policy must meet the following minimums:
• Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per accident or illness.
• Repatriation of remains coverage of at least $25,000.
• Medical evacuation coverage of at least $50,000.
• A deductible of not more than $500 per accident or illness.
Your health insurance only needs to meet the individual mandate requirements as defined by the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) if you are classified as a Resident Alien for Tax Purposes. Generally speaking, this will not be the case for F-1 students during the first five calendar years of their stay in the U.S. or for J-1 exchange visitors during the first two calendar years of their stay. However, it is the student's responsibility to determine whether they are a Non-Resident or Resident for Tax Purposes and to purchase insurance as appropriate.
HOW TO PURCHASE INSURANCE:
Students can purchase insurance that meets the above requirements through Consolidated Health Plans (CHP) and have the fees charged their student account. Details of the plan can be found at: https://consolidatedhealthplan.com/members/member_home_page.
Students will need to fill out a form to sign up for this plan in the International Office.
**Students may also choose to select their own health insurance plan, as long as it meets the requirements listed above.
Students must provide proof of insurance not later than two weeks prior to the beginning of the semester. Failure to do so will result in the university enrolling any uninsured student and their dependents in the university-supported insurance plan provided by Student Assurance Services, Inc. (SAS). To provide proof of alternative insurance, or to enroll in the SAS plan, students must submit documentation to the International Admissions office located on the 4th Floor of the Liberal Arts North (LAN) building.
It is the student's responsibility to insure that the health insurance they have selected meets all federal and state law and mandates. Stephen F. Austin State University assumes no liability if the insurance selected does not meet the requirements set forth in the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other applicable laws and mandates.
International students and their dependents must have valid insurance for every semester that they are enrolled at SFA. This insurance must cover the student and his/her dependents for the entire term in which they are enrolled (please check the SFA calendar for exact dates). Below is just a rough estimate of coverage dates:
• Fall Semester Required Coverage Period is from August 15th through January 15th.
• Spring Semester Required Coverage Period is from January 15th through May 15th.
International students are highly encouraged to maintain health insurance for themselves and their dependents for the entire year even if they are not enrolled in courses over the summer break. This is to prevent any break in health insurance coverage. Furthermore, any injuries or illnesses that occur during a lapse in coverage could be considered a pre-existing condition, which would not be covered by the student's health insurance upon their return to SFA.
Proof of alternative health insurance must be issued from the insurance company or Human Resources office where the student is employed. Documentation must include the following information in English:
• Student's Name.
• Clearly state that it is health insurance.
• State the dates of coverage or period of coverage.
• Additional information may be requested.
The following examples may provide a clearer idea of what types of documents are considered acceptable proof of insurance:
• A health insurance wallet card with your name and the dates of coverage.
• A letter from your parent's employer stating that you are covered under your parent's insurance as long as you are a full-time student under age 25.
• A letter from SFA's Human Resources Department verifying that you are an employee insured through the university for the length of your position.
• A letter in English from your insurance company detailing coverage and dates of coverage.
The following are examples of insurance documentation that do NOT meet the necessary standards for proof of insurance:
• Health insurance plans where you pay by the month.
• Proof of insurance that expires prior to the end of the semester.
• Proof of insurance written in another language and not translated into English.
• A document that says you have "travel insurance" that does not specify whether medical expenses are firstname.lastname@example.org.