Office of Student Life

Student Health Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

I need treatment, where do I go?

What is "emergency room," "urgent care," and "office visit"? 

These describe different service types for different needs. Your benefits pay differently for these types.

  • Emergency room is for life-threatening or very bad illness or injury. For example: Heart attacks, serious car accidents, bad burns, bad broken bones (bones that break the skin), very high fever, convulsions, or stroke symptoms. An emergency room ("ER") is connected to a hospital. If you are have a life-threatening illness or injury, call 911 or go to the nearest ER. 
  • Urgent care is for when you need prompt attention but don't have life-threatening illness or injury. For example: injuries, fever that doesn’t go away, sudden pain, broken bones. Urgent Care locations stay open after business hours and on weekends. Urgent care centers cannot admit you for longer-term care. They do not have operating rooms. 
  • Office visits are typically for normal illness or for preventing illness or routine care. This can include a physical check-up or visits for a sore throat, immunizations, cough, stomachache, or sprained ankle. 
  • You can also call the HealthiestYou Telehealth Line (number is printed on your UHCSR member ID card) to speak to a licensed medical doctor regarding diagnosis and treatment of many different acute illness. Someone is available to answer your call at any time of day or night. 
  • Find a Provider allows you to search by these types of service. 
  • For additional information about when and where to seek care, visit the Student Health Services Emergencies information page.

Am I required to have health insurance in order to maintain my immigration status? Are my dependents?

  • J-1 students and J-2 dependents are required to have health insurance to maintain legal immigration status in the US.
  • F-1 students are not required to have health insurance to maintain immigration status, but are required to have health insurance to study at Ohio State.
  • F-2 dependents are not required to have health insurance to maintain status, but you are strongly encouraged to purchase insurance for any F-2 dependents on your record.

Can I remove my dependents from my plan if they return to our home country in the middle of the semester? 

No. To remove dependents, you need to submit a Qualifying Event Form to terminate coverage; if your request is approved, the termination is effective the first day of the *following* term. There will be no pro-rata refund of premium in the middle of the semester.

I am a new student and will arrive on campus three weeks before classes start. How can I make sure I am covered before the semester begins?

You can submit a request for Early Arrival Coverage if you meet one of these requirements:

  • International, graduate or professional student new to Ohio State
  • Undergraduate students required to arrive early by an Ohio State program
  • Private insurance expired between specific early arrival coverage dates (usually 1 month before school term).

Does the SHI Benefits Plan cover me in my home country when I return home during the breaks between terms?

The SHI Benefits Plan will pay for covered services in your home country at the Tier 2 level. You will need to pay in full and then request reimbursement within 90 days of the day of service. To request reimbursement, submit a bill and proof of your payment to the HealthSmart Benefit Solutions address on the front of your member ID card. Valid proofs of payment include: a copy of front and back of a cancelled check; copy of credit card statement showing a charge for payment for services billed; verification of cash payments detailed on providers letterhead signed and faxed by provider to the address on your card. Please note that the travel assistance through UnitedHealthcare Global does not apply in your home country.

When does my coverage begin and end?

If you select autumn coverage, it begins 7 days prior to the start of the academic term. Spring/summer coverage begins January 1. Visit Rates, Dates, and Deadlines for specific information. 

How long is the coverage effective?

For the entire plan year as long as you remain eligible. 

Will I receive an ID card?

Hard copy member ID cards will not be mailed to members. Members will be able to print a copy of the ID card by visiting the UnitedHealthcare StudentResources policy page.  A hard copy of the ID will still available by requesting one from UnitedHealthcare StudentResources (UHCSR). 

What is the ID card for?

An ID card from a health insurance company is evidence that you (and your dependents) have that insurance. You must provide the card if you are seeking treatment or services. It includes basic coverage information, a unique member identification number and a toll-free phone number to contact member services for the member and provider.

Who is United Healthcare StudentResources (UHCSR) and HealthSmart Benefit Solutions?

The Ohio State University has partnered with UHCSR and HealthSmart Benefit Solutions to offer the SHI Benefits Plan. UHCSR is the insurance carrier, and HealthSmart administers the medical and prescription benefits.

Is mental health treatment covered by the SHI Benefits Plan?


Do I have dental benefits?

Yes. The insurance vendor is Delta Dental of Ohio.

Will I get a Delta Dental ID card?

No, all you have to do is present your student number to the dental office and let them know you have dental coverage with Delta Dental.

Do I have vision benefits?

Yes, they are offered through UHCSR. 

What is a "network"? Why is it important to use a network provider?

A network provider is doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers who have contracted to provide specific medical care at negotiated prices. Use of a network provider keeps your costs down. 

What is a "premium"?

The amount of money you pay to keep your health insurance. The SHI Benefits Plan charges a semester fee which counts as your premium. 

What is a "deductible?"

What you pay for Covered Medical Expenses before health insurance pays.

What is a "co-pay"?

A specific dollar amount you pay at the time of service. 

What is "co-insurance"?

The percentage share you pay for a covered service. It's often expressed as a ratio. For example, "80/20" means that health insurance pays 80% of the cost and you are billed for 20% of the cost. 

What is an "EOB" or Explanation of Benefits?

An EOB (explanation of benefits) is a form that explains how the payment amount for a health benefit/health insurance claim was calculated. It also may explain the claims appeal process and provide other information

What is an insurance "claim," and how does the claims process work?

An insurance claim is a request for benefits payment to an insured employee or beneficiary (the claimant). The claim is generally submitted to the insurance company by the provider, the claim is processed based on the benefits, and payment is made to the provider.