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International Health Insurance

International Student Health Insurance

Please be aware that there are significant changes to the student university health insurance plan and cost associated with the plan for the 2014-2015 academic years.  You may find information about the university plan at  Academic Health Plans

Overview

All international students (any student that is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) are required to have the Texas A&M University System Student Health Insurance Plan (SSHIP) while enrolled at the university.  The plan is mandatory and charged to an international student’s tuition and fee statement.  Charges will be added to the student billing statement on the first calss day or soon afterwards.  

The cost for the 2014/ 2015 academic year is $1563.  The premium cost will be divided as follows: Fall 2014 - $750  with coverage from 08/17/14 thru 12/31/14 ; Spring 2015 -  $813 with coverage from 01/01/15 through 08/31/15.  This method of payment ensures no lapse in coverage for our students during the summer months.  It will also allow students who graduate in December 2014 and are involved Optional Practical Training (OPT) to work directly with the company for payment of premiums and continuation of coverage once they are no longer enrolled. 

New (first time) students to WTAMU who arrive in the U.S. prior to 08/17/2014 for the fall semester or prior to 01/01/15 for the spring semester are advised to have other medical/health insurance coverage that will cover medical needs prior to the SSHIP effecitve date.   

Waivers

Requirements

International students who are not employed in graduate assistant positions entitling them to coverage under the system employee group health insurance program must be automatically enrolled in the System Student Health Insurance Plan (SSHIP).  The requirement will be waived for international students under the following circumstances:  

  1. Student is sponsored by the United States government;
  2. Student is sponsored by a foreign government recognized by the United States or certain international, government-sponsored or non-governmental organizations, and covered under a health plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If the health plan does not include medical evacuation and repatriation, a rider must be purchased providing coverage at equal limits to the SSHIP;
  3. Student is enrolled in an employer-provided group health plan that is compliant with the ACA. If the health plan does not include medical evacuation and repatriation, a rider must be purchased providing coverage at equal limits to the SSHIP;
  4. Student is enrolled in only distance learning programs; or
  5. Student is involved in intercollegiate athletics and coverage for all medical insurance is provide dthrough a policy as part of the current sports acident medical policy approved by System Risk Management.

Process

Applications for waiver from automatic enrollment in SSHIP are subject to Texas A&M University System Regulation #26.99.01.  All request will be subject to review and approval by the SSHIP insurance provider for compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Waiver approvals are valid only for the semester in which the waiver was appproved. If you applied and were approved for a waiver in a previous term, you will need to re-apply. If your tuition bill is due before your waiver application is approved, pay the fee and if approved, the refund should be processed at a later date. 

If you meet one of the waiver requirements, please submit a request for the waiver via email to kcombs@wtamu.edu.

Deadlines

Fall 2014 semester - Aug. 25, 2014
Spring 2015 semester - January 13, 2015

Graduate Assistantships

International students with graduate assistantships (GA) are eligible for the employee group coverage. The hiring department will determine if your GA includes the benefit of medical insruance. If your GA includes medical insurance, please be aware this process is handled by  the personnel services office in Old Main Room 116. Please make an appointment to meet with someone in this office as soon as you are hired. Students with new graduate assistantships will not be eligible for the employee group coverage for the first 60 days of employment and will be charged for the SSHIP on their tuition and fee statement.

Academic Health Plans (AHP) provides program management and administrative services for the student health plans of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. For information concerning the plan and costs, go to West Texas A&M University Plan.

The International Students Office (ISO) does not set the cost of the insurance. The cost is set by criteria and a bidding process at the Texas A&M University System. The SSHIP is for all Texas A&M University system universities. See the System Student Health Insurance Regulation.

Using Your Benefits

To Access your benefit information:

  •  Your BlueCross BlueShield (BCBSTX) ID Card will be mailed to your address on file.
    If you do not receive your card by September 30 (fall semester) or February 30 (spring semester) please contact the ISO.
  • Create an online account at Blue Access for MembersSM (BAM)
    • You will need your Identification (ID) Number (not the same as Buff ID) and Group Number from your card to register. If you do not have this information please call the ISO during business hours and ask to speak with Giselle Alvarado.
  • Blue Access for MembersSM (BAM) allows you access to the following:
    • Request a new/temporary ID card or print out an Emergency Coverage Letter 
    • View Coverage
    • Access Claims
    • Find a doctor, hospital, or pharmacy
  • Review your brochure and other resources at AHP-West Texas A&M University

To change your address with BlueCross BlueShield you will need to do the following:

  • Notify the ISO of your address change by submitting the Address Change Request Form
  • Notify Academic Health Plans via e-mail at support@AHPCare.com.
    The e-mail should include:
    • First and Last Name
    • Identification (ID) Number from your card 
    • Buff ID (WTAMU Student ID)
    • Campus: West Texas A&M University
    • Updated address

J2 Dependent Insurance

All J2 dependents must have adequate health insurance at all times. The insurance requirements are established by the U.S. Department of State and the federal regulations. See Regulations.

During the transition period, J2 dependents are eligible to purchase the dependent insurance through AHP.  Any alternative health insurance coverage must meet all the minimum benefit levels of the J regulations and include maternity and mental health coverage. See the J minimum health insurance coverage.

WTAMU Student Medical Services (On-campus Clinic)

 Who's Eligible for Care?

Student Medical Services provides high quality, confidential, holistic health care services to our diverse student population while minimizing costs. We are committed to maintaining the physical and mental well being of our students to enhance educational experience and overall academic success. Dependents and/or spouses of enrolled students are not eligible for services unless enrolled as a student. Faculty and staff of WTAMU are not eligible for services.

To schedule an appointment please visit the Student Medical Services website.