Health Insurance Help
Get help with health insurance
Hall Health Center
Health Promotion Office, Room 187
International students (F-1 & J-1 visas)
What is health insurance?
Health insurance protects you from paying the full cost of health care – it is a contract between you and your insurance company. Most college students have private insurance, which involve out-of-pocket costs like premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, or Medicaid (Apple Health), a government insurance for low-income people.
Learn about your health insurance
- Be prepared for costs by learning about your health insurance in advance. Learn about out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Look into coverage of common health needs, like mental health counseling, urgent care, and prescription medication. Use the Know Your Benefits worksheet.
- Make sure you have your insurance card. Take a photo of the front and back of your card to store on your phone.
- Identify a primary care provider, an urgent care provider, and an emergency room that are in-network with your insurance plan, where you will get the highest level of coverage. Use this worksheet to help you identify providers.
No-cost services at Hall Health & UW Counseling Center
UW-Seattle students pay a fee that helps with the cost of one face-to-face visit with a provider each quarter (restrictions apply), as well as unlimited calls and visits with our Consulting Nurses. This fee also pays for limited services at Hall Health’s Mental Health Clinic and at UW Counseling Center. This is not a substitute for health insurance.
Does my insurance cover services at Hall Health Center?
There are thousands of insurance plans in Washington State alone, which is why we encourage you to follow the guidance above to learn about your insurance plan.
Does UW offer health insurance to students?
UW only offers health insurance to international students under certain visa types (F-1 and J-1) and certain graduate student employees. UW does not offer health insurance to domestic students – US citizens, legal permanents, DACA students, or other immigration statuses.
What if I have out-of-state or out-of-country health insurance?
If you have out-of-state or non-US health insurance, and you are not an international student with an F1 or J1 visa or a graduate employee, you will need to look closely at your health insurance to determine whether to enroll in a Washington State plan.
- Use the Know Your Benefits worksheet to learn about your health insurance coverage in Seattle.
- Use this worksheet to help you identify contracted providers in the Seattle-area.
What if I am uninsured or underinsured in Washington State?
If you do not have adequate health insurance coverage in Seattle, and are not eligible for international student insurance or graduate employee insurance, you will need to seek coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, Washington State’s online health insurance marketplace.
All US citizens and legal permanent residents are eligible to apply for insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder, regardless of income and other criteria. Only US citizens and legal permanent residents of more than 5 years will be eligible to apply for Medicaid (Apple Health). Legal permanent residents of less than 5 years can apply for private insurance.
How to apply for health insurance through WA Healthplanfinder
First, set up an account. Use a local address. When you sleep in Washington State and have an address, you are considered a resident for the purpose of applying for health insuran
You will see information about the open enrollment period on the website. You may qualify to apply for insurance outside of open enrollment if you’ve experienced a qualifying life event or are applying for Medicaid.
You can try applying for Medicaid to see if you are eligible if you are a US citizen or legal permanent resident of more than 5 years. Medicaid is a state- and federally-funded health insurance plan for lower-income people. It will only cover you in WA State and has no costs associated with it. Once you are approved, you will need to select a managed care organization (MCO) that will administer your plan. (See below, Selecting a plan.)
If you are not eligible for Medicaid, you can apply for a private plan through the exchange. Depending on your income and immigration status, you may be eligible for a subsidy to help pay for your monthly premiums depending on your income. As you are reviewing plans, look at monthly premiums AND deductibles to find something that works for you.
Selecting a plan
To select a plan, take the following things into consideration:
- Medicaid/Apple Health
- Does the managed care organization’s network include the clinics and providers that you want to be able to see? Are there providers that are conveniently located close to your home and/or UW?
- Is the managed care organization’s website well-organized and easy to access?
- Does the managed care organization have a 24-hour nurse advice line?
- Private plans
- You will need to strike a balance between the deductible (the amount of money you must pay each year before your insurance begins to cover services) and your monthly premiums. Are you a person who rarely uses health care, and would prefer a lower monthly premium? Or do you frequently need health care, and prefer a lower deductible?
- Does the plan’s network include the clinics and providers that you want to be able to see? Are there providers that are conveniently located close to your home and/or UW?
- Complete this worksheet for the plan(s) you consider.
You can find a list of Washington Health Plan Finder insurance plans that contract with Hall Health and UW Medicine here.
What if I am not eligible to use Washington Healthplanfinder?
If you are on OPT or fall under another situation that makes you ineligible to use the health insurance exchange, consider purchasing a temporary insurance plan. Find more information about alternative insurance plans on the International Student Services website (see Other Health Insurance).
If you are undocumented or a DACA student, please contact us using the information below.
- Domestic students: Contact Hall Health Center’s Health Promotion office at firstname.lastname@example.org, (206) 616-8476, or visit us, just off the main lobby of Hall Health Center
- International students (J-1 and F-1): Visit the ISHIP website