Rice Unconventional Wisdom

Student Health Insurance FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

revised 02/21/2017

What is the policy regarding health insurance at Rice University? 
All degree-seeking students at Rice University are required to have health insurance coverage compliant with the Affordable Care Act.  Students who do not complete an Insurance Enrollment or Waiver form will have their registration put on hold.  

What is the policy regarding health insurance for international students at Rice University?
Rice's International Student Health Insurance Policy states that all Rice-sponsored F-1 and J-1 visa international students must enroll in either 1) Rice's Student Health Insurance Plan by Aetna or 2) the Rice Approved Alternate Plan by SAS. 

When and why was this new Rice insurance policy instituted?
Beginning Spring 2011 all Rice-sponsored F and J visa international students are required to participate in the insurance program which allows for either the Rice student health plan by Aetna or the Rice-approved alternate plan by SAS. Just as Rice provides a quality education to all of its students, it must provide quality health insurance options for its students. Unknowingly, many students have chosen health insurance plans that have given little or no protection to the international students or their families. Costs for unexpected medical / health needs have caused extensive problems to the students, their families, and other loved ones. Part of the cost of an education in the USA is a health insurance program that provides appropriate coverage. Rice's policy mirrors many universities' policies for international students for the same reasons.  

Can you help me compare the two insurance plans?
Health insurance is a very personal issue, as it depends on one's personal medical history, needs, and particular situation. You can compare the costs and benefits of each plan by clicking on the plan name: Rice Plan (Aetna) or Rice Alternate Plan (SAS).   

How do I enroll in or waive Rice health insurance?
Students (new and returning) can visit https://oiss.rice.edu/studenthealth/ for the detailed instructions on how to enroll and waive.  

I have a Hold in my record. How do I get that Hold removed if I want to enroll in the Rice Approved Alternate Plan by SAS?
Upon enrolling in the Rice Approved Alternate Plan by SAS, you will need to complete your insurance waiver for Rice using the information from your SAS plan. If your waiver is approved, the Hold in your student record will be removed.  If your waiver is denied, you will be contacted and instructed on how to correct the issue. Visit https://oiss.rice.edu/studenthealth/ for full details.  

By when do I need to decide which plan to take?
Please check 
Student Health Insurance for the health insurance enrollment deadline.  You must either enroll in Aetna or enroll and waive the SAS plan by that date - after that date, you are automatically defaulted to the Aetna plan.  

I am an international student with H-1B visa. Am I subject to the Rice International Student Health Insurance Policy and therefore have to enroll in Rice's Student Health Insurance Plan by Aetna or the Rice Approved Alternate Plan by SAS?
For insurance purposes only international students who are not with Rice-sponsored F-1 or J-1 visa are considered the same as domestic students. These students may be with H-1B, H-4, L-1, L-2, DACA, etc. They can either enroll in Aetna or waive their insurance plan that meets the Rice waiver requirements. The waiver requirements can be found at
https://studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu/. 

I am an international student with J-1 visa and I am fully sponsored by the Government of my country. The Government provides a health insurance as well. Am I required to purchase the Rice Aetna or SAS?
Government sponsored students can be exempt from enrolling in one of the two approved plans only if they provide OISS with supporting documentation that proves it. After they receive the OISS approval, they are required to apply for a waiver using their insurance plan that meets the Rice waiver requirements. The waiver requirements can be found at https://studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu/. 

I am an international student with F-1 visa and I am planning to spend a year in Paris on a Study Abroad program. Am I required to purchase the Rice Aetna or SAS while I am out of country?
The student who is residing abroad engaging in approved research or study abroad program can be exempt from the Rice International Student Health Insurance Policy. He/she is required to apply for a waiver using their insurance plan that meets the Rice waiver requirements. The waiver requirements can be found at https://studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu/. 

I am an international student with J-1 visa and I am planning to switch to H-4 visa starting from the next semester.  Am I required to purchase the Rice Aetna or SAS when I am in H-4 status?
The student who is no longer on a Rice-sponsored F-1 or J-1 student visa can be exempt from the Rice International Student Health Insurance Policy.  He/she is required to apply for a waiver using their insurance plan that meets the Rice waiver requirements. The waiver requirements can be found at https://studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu/. 

When I leave Rice, will I lose my health insurance? 
Once you enroll in an insurance plan and keep it for at least 31 days, you will have it for the duration of the term, even if your student status ends. The annual health insurance is effective from 8/15 to 8/14 of the following year; the fall-only coverage is effective from 8/15 to 12/31; the spring/summer coverage is from 1/1 to 8/14.
 

I heard there is a Rice subsidy for insurance. Do I qualify for the medical insurance subsidy?     
The medical insurance subsidy is available to full-time doctoral students in their first 8 years of doctoral study at Rice who enroll in the Rice Aetna medical plan. For more info, see 
http://graduate.rice.edu/healthsubsidy.  

Do I qualify for Payroll Deduction? If so, how do I pay by Payroll Deduction?
Only students that meet certain criteria have the option to place their Medical Insurance premium on payroll deduction. Qualifying students must be enrolled in the annual Rice medical insurance plan. Payroll deduction of insurance premiums is available to full-time graduate students (Master’s or Doctoral) receiving a Rice stipend of at least $5,000 per academic year, over both the fall and spring semesters. For more details, see 
http://graduate.rice.edu/healthpayrolldeduction.  

If I have questions regarding the details of the Rice Alternate Plan by SAS or if I have claim processing issues, who can I contact? 
You may contact Paul Fisher, preferably by email, at 
paul@psihealthplans.com or by phone (877) 626-0360.