Rice Unconventional Wisdom

 Give a Hoot about Health Insurance

 Health Insurance/Medical

Health Insurance Requirement

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. 

All students at Rice University are required to have health insurance coverage and show proof of coverage through the enrollment/waiver process before the semester deadline. In addition, all Rice-sponsored F-1 and J-1 visa international students are subject to the Rice International Student Health Insurance Policy that requires F-1 and J-1 students to enroll in: 

1) Aetna (Rice's Student Health Insurance Plan) or  

2) SAS (Rice's Approved Alternate Health Insurance Plan for International Students on F or J visas).  

Failure to properly enroll will cause a student to be automatically enrolled and charged for the Rice Aetna plan without the option for modifications. 

Exempt or Non-Exempt 

For health insurance enrollment and waiver purposes all Rice students are categorized as Exempt or 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.   

Open Enrollment Period

Students can enroll in these insurance plans during the Open Enrollment Period:

Fall 2018: Monday, July 9, 2018 - Friday, August 31, 2018 

Note: Students who enroll in the SAS plan are no longer required to apply for a waiver. OISS receives the enrollment confirmation directly from the SAS. 

Health Plan Options

Aetna - Rice Student Plan (click for details)

SAS - Alternate Insurance Plan for Students (click for details)  


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. Click here for Low cost Dental/Vision Options.

Additional Important Notes:

  •  **Meningitis vaccine requirement: All new undergraduates (including transfers) must complete the meningitis vaccine requirement 10 days prior to moving on campus. 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.

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. Atlas Insurance is an example of 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.

Additional Resources:

Rice Health Insurance Resources

 International Health Insurance Requirement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

General Graduate Health Insurance FAQ

Health Insurance Basic Terminology

 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