Health insurance

Health insurance requirement

As an exchange visitor or international student, you and your dependents must have:

Health insurance coverage for your entire program period.

Medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.

This is to protect you in case you become sick or injured. Please check out the following information flyers to better understand the health insurance requirements for:

Students (pdf)

Scholars (pdf)

How do I get the required health insurance coverage?

All F-1 and J-1 international students and scholars whose 1-20 or DS-2019 was issued by Wayne State University must enroll in the WSU Student/Scholar Health Insurance plan (IHIP) provided by Blue Cross Blue Shields of Michigan and managed by Blue Water Benefits Administration. This insurance plan is also required for your F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 dependents. This includes Canadian F-1 students living in the U.S. and J-1 Canadian students and scholars.

You can buy insurance on either a semester or annual basis and pay online with a Visa or MasterCard when you enroll. The annual policy coverage year runs from August 1 to July 31, so make sure to renew your insurance in time to retain your coverage.

The Health Insurance Advocate located within the Office of International Students and Scholars is responsible for processing all International Health Insurance enrollment applications and can also be contacted via e-mail at

F1 Students and their Dependents will enroll in the insurance through this link – Enroll in IHIP

J1 Scholars and their Dependents will enroll in the insurance using the enrollment form found here: Enroll in IHIP for J1/J2 Scholars. Complete the form and return via email at the address listed at the bottom of the form.

How do I get the required medical evacuation and repatriation coverage?

WSU requires repatriation and medical evacuation coverage for all international students and scholars, except for commuting Canadian students. This coverage is provided to all WSU F1 and J1 students and scholars and their dependents by OISS. There is no need to enroll directly as all F1 and J1 students and scholars and their dependents are covered by the WSU blanket policy for the 2023-2024 academic year.

If assistance is required by this plan, please Call GeoBlue Global Health and Safety Team at 800-257-4823 inside the U.S. or collect at 610-254-8771; or email

They will identify themselves as having the “BCBSM International MERE Plan” and an international student of Wayne State University.

What is a Health Insurance Hold?

Each semester (fall, winter and spring/summer) we place a Health Insurance Hold on all international students' records. As soon as you purchase health insurance through Blue Waters Benefits Administration or show proof of insurance issued through WSU, the hold is released.

A Health Insurance Hold could potentially result in your being out of status. If you are a J-1 exchange visitor who doesn't purchase health insurance for yourself and/or your family, you will be terminated from the Wayne State Exchange Visitor Program.

Exceptions to IHIP requirement

School of Medicine MD Program

The School of Medicine has policies that apply to students in the MD program. Specifically, they require all MD students to have health insurance. All international students (including Canadians) in the WSU School of Medicine must purchase either the IHIP student plan purchased through OISS online at: Blue Water Benefits Administration at or the medical school's comprehensive group health plan.  For questions regarding health insurance for School of Medicine MD students, please contact:

Shanae Pruitt
Phone: (313) 577-3741

Commuting Canadian F-1 students (not in the School of Medicine – MD Program)

F-1 Canadian students living in Canada and commuting to the U.S. daily for classes can opt out of the university's IHIP by providing proof of coverage through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).  While not required, you can purchase the WSU plan as a supplement to your Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) if desired. The Ontario Ministry of Health strongly recommends that commuting Canadians purchase supplementary insurance because of limited benefits that OHIP provides to foreign health care providers.

If you want to opt out of the university's IHIP, you must complete the Commuting Canadian Health Insurance Waiver form.

GRA/GTA/GSA or WSU Fellowship Recipient or WSU Sponsored Student

If you are a GRA/GTA/GSA at WSU or a WSU Fellowship Recipient and have WSU health insurance provided as a benefit of your position, you can use that health insurance plan to meet the health insurance requirement. Please send a copy of your signed employment contract or WSU Fellowship Award Notice to so your health insurance records can be updated with OISS.

If you are a sponsored student through your embassy/home country with an agreement with WSU, we will accept the health insurance provided in that agreement to meet the WSU health insurance requirement. Please send a copy of your financial guarantee letter to Your health insurance approval dates with OISS will match the dates listed in your financial guarantee letter. If your letter is for fall term only, we can only accept this for the fall term. You be able to register for fall only and we will need an updated financial guarantee for each term to allow you to register for classes for that term and use the documentation to meet the WSU health insurance requirement.

Still have health insurance questions?

Health insurance is a serious matter, and we want to ensure you have what you need to remain healthy and in status so you can focus on your academic work. Our Health Insurance Advocate is here to help, so email your questions to