Rice Unconventional Wisdom


Health Insurance/Medical

Health Insurance Requirement 

All students at Rice University are required to have health insurance coverage and show proof of coverage through the enrollment/waiver process before registering for classes. All non-immigrant visa holders and their dependents are required to carry insurance for the duration of their program. Health insurance is necessary for everyone in the United States, as medical costs are very high.

For health insurance enrollment and waiver purposes all Rice students are categorized as Exempt and Non-Exempt from the Rice International Student Health Insurance Policy. Click HERE to see if you are an EXEMPT or NON-EXEMPT student to complete your enrollment/waiver application.   

Note:  All Rice-sponsored F-1 and J-1 international students are Non-Exempt and must enroll in either 1Aetna (Rice's Student Health Insurance Plan) or 2) SAS (Rice's Approved Alternate Health Insurance Plan for Internationals).



Health Plan Options - as of April 2017 (all charges subject to change) :

Aetna - Rice Student Plan (click for details)
Student only $2,575/year

One child

2 or more children $5,150/year

 SAS - Alternate Insurance Plan for Students (click for details)   - click here for short brochure  and summary flyer  

Student only $1,312/year
For spouse $1,312/year
Each child $1,312/year

Please note that the doctoral subsidy is only applied if a doctoral student enrolls in the Rice Aetna plan. For information on the doctoral student health insurance subsidy please click here.

How to Enroll
Review and select your insurance option, then follow the steps below to enroll:

Aetna - Rice's Student Health Insurance Plan
1) Visit http://studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu
2) Click on Health Insurance Application
3) You will be redirected to Aetna's website where you may complete the application form
4) Upon submission, your enrollment will be complete
5) You will pay your insurance premium on your student bill

SAS - Alternate Insurance Plan for Students
1) Go to the SAS website to complete the SAS Insurance Enrollment Form (click here)
2) Submit your premium payment online by credit card (a mail-in version is also available for payment by check)
3) Upon successful submission, you will receive a confirmation page to print out for your records (you will need this information for your Rice insurance waiver submission)
4) Visit http://studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu
5) Click on Waiver
6) You will be redirected to Aetna's website where you may complete your waiver form using the information from your SAS confirmation page
7) Upon submitting your waiver form, it will be reviewed by Rice for compliance with Rice's insurance policy for internationals
8) If your waiver is approved, the Aetna charge on your student bill will be removed.
    If your waiver is denied, you will be contacted and instructed on how to correct the issue.

Additional Important Notes:

  •  **Meningitis vaccine requirement: All new undergraduates (including transfers) must complete the meningitis vaccine requirement 10 days prior to moving on campus. Rice must have received evidence of vaccination no later than June 1st (for undergraduate students) or July 1st (for graduate students). Students who fail to meet this requirement will not be allowed to move into on-campus housing. For more information about the requirement, please click here
  • For Rice University J-1 student visa holders: When you register with the OISS, you will be required to show proof that you have purchased one of the approved health insurance plans for you and your family. Failure to maintain adequate health insurance can, by law, result in the termination of your J-1 status. The Rice Aetna plan or the approved SAS alternate insurance plan meet the legal visa requirements for J-1 visa holders.
  • For new students: The Health Data Form must be completed and mailed to the address below before June 1st (for undergraduate students) or July 1st (for graduate students). The form should be completed in your home country, as medical check-ups in the U.S. can be very expensive.

The address is:
6100 MAIN ST. MS#760

  • Interim insurance for new students - Rice health insurance plans (Aetna and SAS) have an effective annual term from August 15 - August 14 of the following year. If you will be arriving early or beginning your program in the summer, you will need to secure alternate insurance that will cover you until your school plan becomes effective. You are free to select the insurance company of your choice for this interim period. However, we do recommend Atlas Insurance as a good option, as it meets the minimum requirements for specific visa categories, such as the J-1, and has the flexibility of enrolling for the number of days that you need. For more information, please visit: http://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/travel-medical-insurance/
  • For all students:  A Health Service Fee of $241 per semester is also required by Rice University. This fee pays for your use of the campus health center service only. It is entirely separate from the health insurance which helps pay for hospital or physician bills off campus, and does not offer service to dependents.

Dental and eye examinations: The health insurance charges listed above do not include routine dental and eye examinations, nor charges for dental work and eyeglasses. The normal charge for a full dental exam is about $100. Dental work is quite expensive. Eye examinations cost about $100. Glasses can cost $125 or more. It is highly recommended that you have your eyes and teeth cared for before coming to Rice.

Additional Resources:

 International Health Insurance Requirement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

General Graduate Health Insurance FAQ

Helpful Tips for Using Health Insurance

Understanding Health Insurance in the US (video)

Chinese Medical Terminology Dictionary - This medical terminology handbook has been created to assist you when you go to the doctor in the U.S. This terminology handbook was designed to translate the most common symptoms and complaints in both Chinese and English, to assist the patient - doctor communication. Please feel free to print out a copy to take with you to the doctor.

Spanish Medical terminology dictionary