Health Insurance

Insurance Information for International Students and Scholars

Matriculated Full-Time Students

  • Students who are MATRICULATED and studying at Syracuse University on a FULL TIME basis will be automatically enrolled in an ACA compliant policy written in the U.S. by AETNA, a well-known health insurance company. The charge ($1890) will appear on the Syracuse University billing statement which is sent to all registered, full-time matriculated students.  There is a possibility of completing an on-line application for a WAIVER from this fee IF you have an ACA compliant health insurance policy which is sold through a company BASED in the United States.
  • If you have questions, you may contact the Slutzker Center  or Syracuse University Health Services

Matriculated Part-Time Students, Non-Matriculated Students, Students on OPT and Visiting Scholars

The following individuals are NOT subject to the new University requirement of an ACA compliant health insurance policy written in the U.S.:

  • Students who are in their last semester of study and allowed to be registered part-time  
  • Non-matriculated students (SU Abroad Exchange Students, Humphrey Fellows)
  • Students applying for or approved for OPT
  • Visiting Scholars in J-1 Professor, Research Scholar, Short-term Scholar, Specialist or Intern Status

This group is NOT eligible for the AETNA plan.  Three policies are recommended for acceptable coverage:

Although these policies WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED for full-time matriculated students, the coverage is sufficient for these other categories for 2015-2016.

It is strongly advised that you do not have a lapse in coverage. If your current coverage expires on July 31, 2015, sign up for new coverage beginning August 1, 2015, even if you will not be in the U.S. until later in August.  You should NEVER have a LAPSE in coverage, even when you are out of the country.

Please provide the Slutzker Center with a copy (either electronic or hard copy) of your enrollment agreement, and the receipt with starting and ending dates of your coverage. You must have health insurance in effect every day of your stay in the U.S.  Scholars and students who request travel signatures, and students who request authorization for curricular or optional practical training will have to provide evidence of continuous health insurance coverage prior to obtaining these immigration benefits. New students will need the proof of insurance in order to clear immigration status at the Slutzker Center upon arrival.  

If you have questions, you may contact the Slutzker Center.

Health Insurance Letter from SCIS Director - September 5, 2015

Dear International Students,

In advance of the September 8 extended deadline for the health insurance waiver process, I wanted to provide some additional information to address the health insurance requirement.

The Slutzker Center for International Services has encouraged international students to obtain quality health insurance for more than three decades.  Now, by implementing the health insurance requirement, we can ensure all international students have access to adequate, affordable and reliable health care services. Through research and student experiences, some of the plans marketed abroad to international students do not provide adequate coverage.  The University has found that many international students are either uninsured or inadequately insured.  Most other private research institutions have implemented similar policies for their international student population due to these concerns – and many with more expensive health insurance plans.

It is important to know that internationally-based policies often have many exclusions and limitations.  These inadequate policies led to significant bills, refusal of services by medical care providers in the U.S., and out-of-pocket expenses that made it exceedingly difficult for international students or their parents when seeking reimbursement from the insurance company in their home country.  Additionally, these inadequate policies often applied a waiting period for pre-existing conditions.  This meant that the insurance company would not pay for treatment or medication for students arriving to the U.S. with prior medical conditions.  Access to an Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant plan ensures that any student is not subject to waiting periods or denial of services for pre-existing conditions.  ACA-compliant plans also ensure students have access to mental health and women’s health services, which is often not included in internationally-based policies.

Students can waive the Aetna student health insurance plan with proof of a U.S.-based, ACA-compliant plan that covers services in the Syracuse area.  For those who remain enrolled in the Aetna student health insurance policy, the charge of $1,890 is treated as any other University charge and is subject to the same financial guidelines as any other charge.  If this charge is billed and not paid, a financial hold is placed on a student’s account, which could limit registration and access to transcripts and diplomas until that charge is paid.  A financial hold will not prevent a student from graduating, assuming all degree requirements have been met.  Any student having difficulty meeting their financial obligations is welcome to visit the Bursar’s Office in 102 Archbold Gym North to discuss their situation.  The Bursar staff will try to work out a repayment plan that meets the student’s and University’s needs.

If you have questions or concerns about the health insurance requirement, please contact the Slutzker Center staff from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, or on Wednesday through Friday during Advisor on Call hours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  You may also email if your questions need a response sooner than Tuesday.   Additional information can be found on the Health Services FAQ page and the Gallagher Student Health website.

Thank you,

Patricia A. Burak
Director, Slutzker Center for International Services

Health Insurance Letter from SCIS Director - August 31, 2015

Dear International Students,

Welcome to all new and returning Syracuse University students. Please read through this letter, as it explains an entirely new system related to health insurance which will affect you as of August 1, 2015.


Syracuse University has contracted with AETNA to ensure you are covered by a health insurance policy compliant with the requirements of the U.S.A. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This new policy will be in effect as of August 1, 2015. The University does require all full-time, matriculated international students to have a United States based health insurance plan.


The 2015-16 academic year insurance cost will be $1,890 for an eligible student. This charge will appear on your student billing statement from Syracuse University as of August 1, 2015. There are options to purchase coverage for dependents (spouse and children) at a higher cost.

Waiver Request:

There is a process by which a student may apply for a waiver of this charge. Eligibility for a waiver REQUIRES that your alternative policy be U.S. based and that it meets the minimum standards of the ACANo policies written in other countries will meet this criteria.  Please note that this is an entirely new system at Syracuse University, and foreign policies which may have been accepted in the past will no longer be accepted. Please DO NOT purchase policies at home for any time period which extends past August 1, 2015 because it is likely that you will still have to pay for the AETNA policy on your student bill. I can also assure you that this AETNA policy is a much more comprehensive policy, and it is in your best interest to have this excellent coverage for yourself (and your dependents) while living in the United States.  You may choose to keep your home plan along with the required University plan.

There is more information about the AETNA SU Student Health Insurance policy on the Health Services website, including a Frequently Asked Questions page.


Part-time students, SU Abroad Exchange Students, and other non-matriculated students may still need help finding an appropriate health insurance policy for their time period in the U.S.  Advisers at the Slutzker Center and Palma Cassano at the Health Center can help you find suitable policies.  Further information is also available on this website.

These changes reflect Syracuse University’s ongoing commitment to assuring the well-being of each and every one of our students during their time here at Syracuse. If you have any immediate questions, or would like to speak in confidence about a specific health concern, please feel free to contact student health benefit at Syracuse University Health Services.

Stay healthy, and be prepared for all medical necessities! This is a great opportunity for you to care for yourself without the added burden of selecting a health insurance policy for 2015-2016. Have a good summer, and we look forward to seeing you in the fall!


Patricia A. Burak, D.A.