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Health Insurance FAQ

How does the billing for health insurance work?

All undergraduate non-immigrant students are automatically billed and enrolled in UR’s student health insurance plan through the Office of International Education. This charge is added to the general fees of the University as a separate line item each semester.

Students will be covered in 6-month increments for the duration of their studies at Richmond. Students starting in the fall semester will be covered from July 1 through January 1 of the following year for one-semester visiting students or through July 1 of the graduation year for undergraduate degree-seeking students on non-immigrant visas graduating in May. One-semester visiting students starting in the spring semester will be covered from January 1 through July 1.

What is a co-payment?

A co-payment is the amount that the plan does not pay and is therefore the responsibility of the insured. The insured should pay the co-payment directly to the medical provider, never to the insurance company or to the administrator.

If I have questions about a claim, a bill, or plan benefits, who should I contact?

Aetna Student Health customer service 1-800-926-8545 or

What if I lose my card?

You can order another one on the health insurance website.

Why is it necessary for the University to institute a mandatory health insurance requirement for international students?

Most international students are not prepared to pay such high costs for medical care. The University is not financially responsible for costs related to accidents or illnesses of any student.

Demonstration of adequate financial resources is necessary for the issuance of the I-20/DS-2019 and maintenance of one's F-1 and J-1 student status. Most people do not have disposable income to pay for health care associated with serious illnesses and accidents. Health insurance guarantees adequate resources in the case of a serious accident or illness.

The University has neither the staff time nor expertise to review policies from various countries or to review whether or not students are properly insured. In cases of emergency, policies outside of the United States are often difficult to use. Therefore, for the well being of the students and to protect the liability of the University and its employees, it is necessary to institute a mandatory health insurance plan.

Some international students do not keep their plans current. This policy will prevent lapses in health insurance coverage thus benefiting both the student and the institution should the student need health care.

A group plan makes health insurance affordable to all eligible students and/or non-immigrant dependents regardless of age.

How will this policy be enforced?

Non-immigrant students who do not pay their bill will have a hold placed on their registration and will not be permitted to register for the following semester. Registration holds will not be cleared until the student has paid his or her bill.

Does the insurance provide dental coverage?

Coverage is provided only as a result of dental injury or accident.

If I have dependents (spouse or children), do they need insurance while in the United States?

J-2 dependents are required to have health insurance that meets the minimum U.S. Department of State requirements. F-2 dependents are not required to have health insurance but it is strongly recommended that they do so in case of accident or illness. International students and scholars are responsible for health insurance enrollments and payments for their dependents, which can be done on the Aetna website.

Am I eligible for health insurance once I graduate?

Students who graduate are no longer eligible for the University's group insurance plan. GatewayWallach & Co. and Liaison International are options for individual coverage after graduation.

What if I become a permanent resident?

As soon as your I-485 is approved, the applicant will be issued an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) from the USCIS. At this point, the individual's status is no longer nonimmigrant, which means that the individual is not required to enroll in the international student and scholar group plan and will no longer be automatically enrolled and billed for the plan by the Office of International Education. If you need to continue your health insurance coverage, you can purchase it individually on the Aetna website.

What is the difference between a generic and brand name prescription?

Whenever possible, you should ask your doctor and pharmacist if a generic brand of the medicine you have been prescribed is available. The generic medicine is usually less expensive and is the same medicine as the brand name.

Why does the insurance company request medical records?

Your medical records may be requested for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To determine whether a claim is pre-existing
  • When a physician lists multiple diagnoses
  • In the case of accidents, medical records give a clearer picture of what may have happened.
Where can I find more information about the coverage?

Refer to the Aetna or Risk Management websites.

Where can I find more information about cross-cultural differences in healthcare and health insurance for international students and scholars?
Why do international students studying abroad need to be enrolled in the FrontierMEDEX study abroad travel insurance plan as well as the Aetna international student health insurance plan?

While the Aetna international student health insurance plan provides comprehensive medical insurance, the FrontierMEDEX study abroad travel insurance plan is specifically designed for international travel risk and provides a myriad of coverages, including (but not limited to) Medical for injuries and sickness, Security Evacuation, Trip Cancellation, and Personal Liability. A catastrophic injury or illness while studying abroad on a UR program outside the U.S. could require necessary services outside of the study abroad site. If the student is not enrolled in the Aetna plan during the UR study abroad program, there will be a lapse in major medical coverage.