J-1 Scholar Insurance Requirements
Health insurance compliance for J-1 Scholars
All international J-1 scholars and visa dependents residing in the United States are required to have UW–Madison approved health insurance coverage. Please read “Mandatory Insurance Requirements for J-1 Scholars” for important details regarding your required registration.

What is the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)?
SHIP is a comprehensive health insurance plan. SHIP has been designed to ensure that while you reside within the United States, both you and any visa dependents will be financially protected against any unforeseeable accidents, illnesses, or injuries.
Medical treatment in the United States can be very expensive, and quality insurance coverage is essential. By administering the plan locally at the campus clinic, University Health Services (UHS), we keep costs as low as possible for SHIP members.
For SHIP members, most primary, urgent and preventive care at UHS is covered 100% with no out-of-pocket expense. In addition to the services available at UHS, SHIP members have access to a nationwide network of hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical services, with SHIP typically paying 90% of those costs.*
Because we understand the overwhelming nature of the health care system in the United States, the SHIP Customer Service team is here on campus to assist you with any questions you may have. Whether you need assistance with your mandatory insurance requirements, help finding a local doctor, or direction on how to pay a medical bill--we’re here Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm. You can reach us via phone at (608)-265-5232, email: shipmail@uhs.wisc.edu, or by visiting us in person at our office: 333 East Campus Mall on the 7th Floor. You may also visit our website at www.uhs.wisc.edu/ship for further information.

*Please see the online plan document for full details regarding covered services and member cost sharing.

Mandatory Insurance Requirements for J-1 Scholars
It is a federal and university requirement that all J-1 scholars and any J-2 dependents have adequate health insurance during their stay in the United States. The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) office is responsible for ensuring that J-1 scholars have UW-Madison-approved health insurance coverage. At the time of your registration with our office, please provide a copy of your current DS-2019 forms and passports for both you and your visa dependents.

Insurance Compliance Deadlines
The SHIP office must receive a completed enrollment application and full payment, or a qualifying waiver, on or before the posted deadlines.
  • Newly Arrived J-1 Scholars: Within 31 days of the later of the DS-2019 start date, arrival date, or visa transfer date.
  • J-1 Scholars with a DS-2019 Extension: Within 31 days of the waiver/SHIP coverage end date.
  • Renewing Members: Within 31 days of the waiver/SHIP coverage end date.
Failure to Comply
J-1 scholars who make payment after the compliance deadline will be charged a $100 late fee and required to pay SHIP premiums from the beginning of the initial compliance period.
J-1 scholars who file a qualifying waiver after the compliance deadline will be charged a $100 late fee in addition to any required premiums.

J-1 scholars who fail to meet the compliance deadline will be considered non-compliant with the health insurance requirements of UW-Madison. Failure to maintain compliance with the UW-Madison insurance requirement can jeopardize your J-1 program status. Visa requests (such as visa extensions or travel visas) may also be denied by the International Faculty Staff Services office until SHIP compliance is achieved.

Waiver Applications
If you do not qualify for a waiver, you are required to enroll in SHIP. Waivers will only be approved if you meet one of the qualifying criteria as listed on the Waiver Application. All other applications will be denied. Please read the Waiver Application carefully to ensure that you understand the requirements and do not purchase insurance which does not meet the SHIP waiver requirements!
The latest waiver applications, enrollment forms, and plan brochures are available on our website at www.uhs.wisc.edu/ship. Please contact the SHIP office immediately if you have any questions.

SHIP Enrollment
To enroll, you will need to visit the SHIP office with full payment at the time of your registration. Payment is accepted by VISA, MasterCard, Discover, check, or exact cash. Please contact the SHIP office by phone or email if you want to determine the exact SHIP premium in advance.

Important! - SHIP coverage is comprised of 12 billing cycles that run from the 15th of a month through the 14th of the next month.
  • At the beginning of your SHIP enrollment you will be required to pay for the monthly billing cycle in which the later of your DS-2019 start date, arrival date, or transfer date falls.
  • At the end of your SHIP enrollment your coverage will terminate on the 14th of the month following your DS-2019 end date or verifiable departure date.
SHIP Premiums are payable on an Annual (12 months) or Half Yearly (6 months) basis
  • Annual SHIP coverage is effective August 15 and terminates August 14
  • First Half Yearly SHIP coverage is effective August 15 and terminates February 14
  • Second Half Yearly SHIP coverage is effective February 15 and terminates August 14
  • Premiums are pro-rated for J-1 Scholars who are in the United States for a shorter period (subject to a one month minimum requirement)
  • Note: If you arrive during the First Half Yearly period, you have the option to pay a partial premium through the end of that period--February 14, or through August 14. 

Please refer to the table below for specific examples of how the start and end dates of your compliance period can affect your SHIP premium. 
Insurance Compliance Start (the later of your DS-2019 start date, arrival date, or visa transfer date) Insurance Compliance End (The earlier of your DS-2019 end date or verifiable departure date) SHIP Billing Cycle (The total number of monthly premiums that you will be required to pay) SHIP Coverage (The actual period of your SHIP coverage)
10/16/2019 11/06/2019
From: 10/15
To: 11/14
Cycles: 1
Starts: 10/16
Ends: 11/14
10/14/2019 11/15/2019 From: 09/15
To: 12/14
Cycles: 3
Starts: 10/14
Ends: 12/14
09/12/2019 01/17/2020 From: 08/15
To: 02/14
Cycles: 6
Starts: 09/12
Ends: 02/14
09/12/2019 08/12/2020 From: 08/15
To: 08/14
Cycles: 12
Starts: 09/12
Ends: 08/14

Please contact the SHIP office immediately if you have any questions.