Health Insurance

All students are required to have health insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment.

As an international student, it is your responsibility to have health insurance at all times while in the United States. Since you are required to arrive before any CU Boulder coverage begins, you must purchase a policy that will cover you from your arrival in the U.S., and that meets your needs until the CU Boulder coverage starts on January 19, 2019.

*Attention J-1 students: J-1 students must have specific requirements for insurance and documentation. Be sure to read about the required insurance for J-1 visa holders.

In the U.S., navigating the health care system is complex and can be difficult to understand. Please watch the following video.

When you seek medical care, you are responsible for paying the bill, regardless of whether or not you have insurance, and you are responsible for paying any costs that are not covered by your insurance company. There are three options listed below about how you can be insured while you are at CU Boulder.

Options for Health Care Insurance while you are at CU Boulder

Packets with complete information on health insurance and enrollment instructions are available from Wardenburg Health Center. For more details on health insurance, please visit the Wardenburg Health Center's web site. To learn how to select or waive CU insurance plans, please follow these instructions: How To Select or Waive Health Insurance. Remember to select or waive any insurance before the Spring 2019 deadline, January 19, 2019.

International students arriving to CU Boulder have three health insurance options:

  1. Outside Insurance ONLY
    Obtain an outside individual health insurance plan, which will cover you during your travel and during your academic studies at CU. Please note that if you choose this option, you will have to WAIVE the CU Student Gold Health Insurance Plan, which is automatically added to your bill. Instructions for how to do this will be available during your orientation. Be sure to waive the plan online by the deadline, January 19, 2019 for Spring 2019. Please note that when you waive CU insurance, you still have access to Wardenburg Health Center. However, you will have to pay for the full costs of any services received.See the J-1 Insurance Resource List for a list of medical insurance providers that sell insurance specifically to visitors in the U.S.
  2. Outside Insurance and CU Campus Care Supplemental Plan
    Obtain an outside individual health insurance plan, which will cover you during your travel and until January 14, 2019. Once you have enrolled for classes, you may choose to continue your individual health insurance plan plus you can add the CU Campus Care supplemental health plan so that you may receive basic health care at Wardenburg Health Center for only $175/semester. If you choose to add CU Campus Care, you must select the plan before January 19, 2019.
    See the J-1 Insurance Resource List for a list of medical insurance providers that sell insurance specifically to visitors in the U.S.
  3. Outside Insurance until January 1st and CU Student Gold Health Insurance Plan
    Obtain an outside individual health insurance plan which will cover you during travel and at least until January 14, 2019. Once you are enrolled for classes, you are automatically enrolled into the CU Student Gold Health Insurance Plan, and it's automatically on your bill. The CU Student Gold Health Insurance plan costs $1995/semester and provides coverage on campus with no additional out-of-pocket costs and comprehensive nationwide coverage with low out-of-pocket costs.

The reason for the requirement and the need for health insurance

It is dangerous to be in the United States without adequate health insurance. Although in many countries the government bears the expense of health care for its citizens, and sometimes even for visitors, individuals and families in the United States are responsible for these costs themselves. Since a single day of hospitalization and medical treatment can cost thousands of dollars, many hospitals and doctors refuse to treat uninsured patients except in life-threatening emergencies. Most Americans rely on insurance, and you should do the same. Insurance gives you access to better and more timely health care, and provides the only protection against the enormous costs of health care in this country.

How medical insurance works

When you purchase health coverage, the money you pay (your premium) is combined with the premiums of others to form a pool of money. That money is then used to pay the medical bills of those participants who need health care. Your coverage remains valid only as long as you continue to pay your insurance premiums.

Once you purchase insurance, the company will usually provide you with an insurance identification card for use as proof of your coverage when you are seeking health care from a hospital or doctor. The company will also provide written instructions for reporting and documenting medical expenses (filing a claim). The company will evaluate any claim that you file, and make the appropriate payment for coverage under your particular policy. In some cases the company pays the hospital or doctor directly; in others, the company reimburses you, the policy holder, after you have paid the bills.

Before arriving to the United States, you may bring an insurance plan with you from your home country or purchase an individual health insurance plan from a private company. If you decide to buy insurance from a private insurance company, search the internet for companies that offer insurance coverage and services to international students. See the J-1 Insurance Resource List for a list of medical insurance providers that sell insurance specifically to visitors in the U.S.

Choosing an insurance policy

You will be required to select and purchase your own insurance coverage. In choosing an insurance policy, you should consider many factors:

  • Be sure that the insurance you choose covers medical services locally available to you while studying at CU-Boulder; some insurance plans require you to use specific clinics or doctors who may not be located in Boulder.
  • The reliability of the company. Does it treat people fairly? Does it pay claims promptly? Does it have staff to answer your questions and resolve your problems?
  • Deductible amounts. Most insurance policies require you to cover part of your health expenses yourself (your part is called the deductible), before the company pays anything. In choosing insurance, you should think carefully about how much you can afford to pay out of your own pocket each time you are sick or injured, and weigh the deductible against the premium before you decide.
  • Co-insurance. Usually, even after you have paid the deductible, an insurance policy pays only a percentage of your medical expenses.
  • Specific limits. Some policies state specific dollar limits on what they will pay for particular services. Be very careful in evaluating policies with specific dollar limits; for serious illnesses, the limit might be far too low and you might have large medical bills not covered by your insurance.
  • Lifetime/per-occurrence maximums. Many insurance policies limit the amount they will pay for any single individual's medical bills or for any specific illness or injury.
  • Benefit period. Some insurance policies limit the amount of time they will go on paying for each illness or injury. A policy with a long benefit period provides the best coverage.
  • Exclusions. Most insurance policies exclude coverage for certain conditions. Read the list of exclusions carefully so that you understand exactly what is not covered by the policy.

Immunization Records

Colorado state law requires all students enrolled for one or more classes and born on or after January 1, 1957, to provide proof of immunization for: two rubella (measles); two rubella (German measles); and two mumps vaccinations. If you can't verify your immunizations, you will need to be re-immunized. Hepatitis B and Meningitis vaccines are strongly recommended for new international students, but not required. Medical, religious, and personal exemptions are allowed by law.

The University requires that all incoming new students complete the New Student Immunization Questionnaire. This has information and questions on meningococcal disease, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccince, and Tuberculosis. You can find out more information about this questionnaire at Wardenburg Health Services: New Student Information

New students must submit immunization information by the deadline set by Wardenburg Health Center (February 19, 2019). This is an important deadline, because you will be assessed a $25 late penalty and a STOP will be placed on your student record (which means you will not be allowed to register for classes) if you neglect to submit immunization records.