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International Center

Health Insurance

Winthrop University requires all international students, and their dependents, to maintain a certain level of health insurance while enrolled as a student at Winthrop University.  All major universities have a similar requirement. 

All undergraduate and graduate students are required to either:

  • Purchase the Winthrop University-sponsored Student Health Plan (SHP) offered through AIG, OR
  • Request a waiver of the Winthrop University sponsored policy by submitting a waiver request to AIG.  Waiving the Winthrop SHP means that you provide documentation of enrollment in a comparable health insurance plan that meets the waiver requirements detailed at the end of this page.

Winthrop University Student Health Plan (SHP)

The Winthrop University SHP insures the student against major expenses accompanying an accident, illness or hospitalization. The SHP is administered by AIG. This company specializes in health plans for students and is the largest provider of student health insurance in the Southeast. Specific details of the insurance policy are found in the plan summary.

International students will be charged for their insurance twice a year, along with their tuition, housing and other expenses, and will pay directly to the Winthrop Cashier’s Office or on-line, just as all other student charges are paid.  Students should be prepared to pay for their health insurance by the first day of classes for each fall and spring semester. 

The cost of the SHP plan for 2015-2016 are as follows:

  • Fall (8/15/2015-01/05/2016) is TBA;
  • Spring/Summer (1/06/2016-8/14/2016) is TBA;
  • Annual (08/15/2015-08/14/2016 (if you choose) is TBA.

For the SHP to be most effective, students should go directly to Winthrop’s Health and Counseling Services if there is a health concern. Health and Counseling Services is located on the second floor of Crawford Hall. Health Services can typically provide the necessary treatment or service to students at a reduced cost as part of the cost of tuition and fees paid to Winthrop University.  However, if further medical care is required Health Services will refer you to an off-campus medical provider that will accept the SHP. If you go to a medical provider off-campus without being referred by Health Services, the cost of the medical treatment may not be covered by the SHP and could be very expensive.

For additional information on the SHP please visit Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Request a Waiver of the Winthrop Health Insurance Policy?

Requesting a waiver of the Winthrop Health Insurance Plan means you have comparable health insurance coverage and you do not plan to purchase the Winthrop SHP. To request a waiver you must complete the waiver process online during the appropriate waiver request period.

Please note:

  • Requesting a waiver of the SHP is the student's responsibility. 
  • Winthrop University, including the International Center, is not responsible for recommending or reviewing insurance plans that a student may consider purchasing to submit for waiver purposes.
  • A waiver request must be renewed each fall and spring semester that the student is enrolled at Winthrop University.
  • A student must have the policy number, mailing address, telephone number, and website information for the insurance provider chosen for waiver purposes.
  • If an alternate insurance policy is not in English request an English translation.  The English translation will be useful in expediting the waiver process.  
  • If the student does not complete the waiver request prior to the request deadline the student will be automatically enrolled in the Winthrop SHP and the cost of the insurance will be added to the student’s fees for the semester.

To request a waiver the policy must meet the Essential Benefits requirement as defined by Section 1302(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA):

  • Coverage must begin on or before August 15 (for fall term) and January 6 (for spring term).
  • Coverage dates must include the semester academic dates, including summer, breaks and holidays.
  • Coverage that allows the insured student to receive benefits in South Carolina.
  • Coverage must be given for ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services including behavioral health treatment, prescription drugs, physical therapy and rehabilitation services and devices, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services to include Dental and Vision care, chronic disease management, and pediatric services including oral and vision care.
  • Coverage amount of $100,000 USD per policy year, per illness/accident/injury. 
  • Coverage amount of $500,000 USD or greater aggregate per lifetime.
  • No pre-existing condition limitation.
  • A combined benefit of $100,000 USD for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.  
  • A deductible equal to or less than $1,000 USD.
  • An out-of-pocket maximum of $6,350 USD or less.

J1 Exchange Visitor Insurance Requirements 

J1 exchange visitors and their J2 dependents must be covered by sickness and accident insurance that meets the Department of State (DOS) requirements for the duration of their participation in Winthrop’s J-1 exchange visitor program. Failure to have such insurance coverage may lead to loss of legal immigration status and termination from Winthrop's exchange visitor program. These DOS regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations [22 CFR 62.14].

As of May 15, 2015, minimum health insurance coverage must provide:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  • In case of death, repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  • In case of serious illness or injury, payment of expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000;
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness; and
  • Co-insurance (co-pay) not to exceed 25%

Winthrop’s Student Health Plan meets the DOS J-1 requirements. If you will enroll in the Winthrop health plan, you must enroll prior to Open Enrollment and Waiver deadline; otherwise, you may lose your eligibility to enroll until the next open enrollment period at the beginning of the next semester. If you enroll in Winthrop’s Student Health Plan, you must be prepared to pay for the plan at the time of enrollment.

If you have insurance from an outside company or government, your insurance must meet the above limits. Note: repatriation and medical evacuation might not be included in your policy. Please check your policy/coverage. If needed, consult with your insurance company to add the repatriation and medical evacuation coverage to your policy.

The regulations continue: "Exchange visitors who willfully fail to maintain the insurance coverage set forth above . . . or who make material misrepresentations to the sponsor [Winthrop University] concerning such coverage will be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and will be subject to termination as an exchange visitor." [22 CFR 62.14(i)]

All J-1 exchange visitors at Winthrop must sign a Statement of Compliance form with the International Center stating that they understand and will comply with the J Exchange Visitor Program health insurance requirements as outlined above.

Several important items to remember-

  • The cost of healthcare in the United States is very expensive and is the reason Winthrop University requires international students to have active health insurance.
  • If a student has insurance from an insurance provider outside the United States, the student may be required to pay their medical costs at the time of service.  It is then the students’ responsibility to request reimbursement of their costs from the insurance provider. 

For more information on the requirement that all international students have health insurance while enrolled at Winthrop University contact the International Center.  

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International Center
701 Oakland Avenue
218 Dinkins Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-2340 (fax)
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