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Insurance Requirements for UNM International Students

Health insurance is REQUIRED for all international students for their entire stay at UNM.  Students who are not covered by health insurance are in violation of UNM and U.S. policy, could be subject to tax penalties, and are financially responsible for all medical charges incurred in the U.S.  Since health care in the U.S. is extremely expensive, as an international student YOU need to take these requirements seriously, think carefully about the kind of health care coverage you will need while in the U.S., and select the appropriate insurance for your situation.  IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DO THIS AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR STAY AND THROUGHOUT YOUR TIME IN THE US! Students entering new UNM programs need to show insurance proof in English to GEO before the end of the first week of classes.

Information sessions about these requirements are offered in the first week of the semester ONLY.  Contact GEO for dates.



GRADUATE STUDENTS WITH AN ASSISTANTSHIP:

International graduate students who receive graduate assistantships for 10 or more hours per week are offered UNM health insurance paid by the assistantship department.  Assistantship students do not need to take any further action unless they want to add dependents or dental or eye coverage to their plan (contact Office of Graduate Studies for more information).  The department offering the assistantship cannot charge students for this insurance or ask them to waive out.

“EXCHANGE” or “GUEST” STUDENTS:

If you are coming to UNM for one semester or one academic year as a J1 non-degree student, you MUST buy a plan from this website: www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/schools/university-new-mexico.php. There are 4 plans to choose from.  Please make sure to read through the plan descriptions carefully to find out what the insurance does and does NOT cover and choose the plan that is best for you!  Remember that all the plans on this site have a waiting period of at least 6 months before they will cover you for pre-existing conditions AND you will have to file your own claims to the insurance company if you want to be reimbursed for visits to the UNM Student Health Center.  If you have an existing illness, you are older than 24, you have lived in the US for more than 5 calendar years, or if you want more than the emergency coverage provided on this website, you may need to purchase additional insurance to ensure your medical expenses are covered.

ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP STUDENTS:

Students on an athletic scholarship are required to purchase the plan offered through the UNM Athletics office. 

“SPONSORED” STUDENTS:

Students who are financed or on visa documents from a government sponsor or agency such as SACM, SABIC, AMIDEAST, LASPAU or Fulbright should check with their sponsor to see if the sponsor has bought them insurance.  If so, you will need to present your insurance card and benefits information in English when you check in with GEO.

ALL OTHER STUDENTS:

(Includes Degree-Seeking Undergraduates and Graduates WITHOUT an assistantship):

You will need to do research on the health insurance plan you will choose.  You MUST show insurance proof in English to GEO.  In general, you will be choosing between 2 types of insurance coverage:

1)    An “emergency-only” plan which does not cover preventative care, excludes pre-existing conditions, and has many other exclusions

OR:

2)    A more comprehensive plan that you purchase from the US government health insurance “Marketplace” at www.healthcare.gov (this insurance will not meet all J1 visa requirements, so if you choose this you will need to also buy medivac and repatriation insurance).

IF YOU ARE DEGREE-SEEKING PLEASE CONTINUE READING ON THE OTHER PAGES FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THESE 2 OPTIONS AND HOW TO CHOOSE!!!

“EMERGENCY-ONLY” OR “SHORT-TERM” PLANS:

If you are going to choose this option, we recommend you buy one of the 4 policies on the International Student Insurance (ISI) website: https://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/schools/university-new-mexico.php

All of these policies and any other emergency policy you choose MUST meet minimum US government requirements for J1 visa holders which are:

  • $100,000 minimum per person per accident or illness
  • $25,000 for repatriation of remains
  • $50,000 for medical evacuation
  • No more than $500 deductible per accident or illness
  • Coinsurance must not exceed 25% payable by the exchange visitor or sponsor

Make sure to read through the plan descriptions carefully to find out what things the insurance does and does NOT cover and choose the plan that is best for you!  This insurance does not cover preventative care.  Also, all the ISI plans have a waiting period of at least 6 months before they will cover you for a “pre-existing condition” and if you allow any gap in insurance dates for any reason, you are then buying a new insurance policy which will “reset” the 6-month waiting period as well as any “deductible” that you paid under the policy you bought before.  The UNM Student Health Center (SHAC) will not send a bill for these types of policies, so you will have to file a claim form with your insurance company every time you use the student health center if you want the insurance company to pay or to count the charges toward your “deductible” (the amount you have to pay for each illness before the insurance company pays).

We do NOT recommend you have this type of insurance if you are 30 or older, you have a pre-existing condition, you anticipate that you will have high medical need, or you have lived in the US for more than 5 calendar years. Instead, we strongly recommend that you sign up at www.healthcare.gov for the more robust US “Marketplace” insurance (students who live in the US for more than 5 years become “tax residents” and are subject to tax penalties if they do not have “ACA compliant” insurance). See MARKETPLACE insurance plan page.

“MARKETPLACE” INSURANCE PLANS:

If you want to buy a better health insurance plan, if you are an older individual, or if you have pre-existing conditions that need to be covered, we recommend you buy a health insurance plan through the government insurance “Marketplace” as an “International Student”. You can also buy an insurance plan for your spouse and dependents on the Marketplace.  You are permitted to receive subsidies (financial assistance) for this insurance, but you must agree to file tax forms at the end of the year, at which time you might need to pay back all or part of the subsidy if you earned more during the year than expected.  To choose this option, you must apply after you arrive and continue to provide documents during the application period until you receive confirmation that you have selected a policy and the insurance is approved – this might take more than 1 month so, even if you intend to enroll in Marketplace insurance you should buy a short-term emergency plan at the website here: https://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/schools/university-new-mexico.php to cover you until the Marketplace insurance begins. J1 students who buy Marketplace insurance will ALSO need to buy additional Medical Evacuation and Repatriation coverage to meet US government requirements.  One plan option to meet this requirement can be found here: https://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/emergency-evacuation/


To enroll in Marketplace insurance, you have to apply during the normal enrollment period for the calendar year (in November for insurance that begins in January) or you have to qualify for a “Special Enrollment Period (SEP)” exception.  You only have 60 days from the date you moved to New Mexico or lost your previous insurance to apply.  Prepare the documents listed below and follow the instructions below to enroll through the website: www.healthcare.gov.  We HIGHLY recommend that you come to the GEO health insurance enrollment help sessions in the first week of classes to get help since this process is VERY confusing! Students under 18 cannot apply for this insurance on their own (a parent can apply only if they are living in the US!).

HOW TO BUY ‘MARKETPLACE” INSURANCE

  1. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO BUY FROM THE GOVERNMENT MARKETPLACE
If you want to buy outside of the normal enrollment period covering the calendar year - called the “Special Enrollment Period (SEP)”, you will first need to prove that the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) applies to your case and be “Verified” by the marketplace. You cannot start the actual application process until you are “Verified”.  This means that you should apply to be “Verified” as soon as possible.  Once you get verified you will be able to complete your application in the Marketplace and have health insurance coverage.  This is a long process and there are many questions on the application that are confusing.
 
ONE QUESTION YOU MUST ANSWER CORRECTLY IS THIS: “HAVE YOU EVER BEEN DENIED FOR MEDICAID”.  FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS THE ANSWER IS “YES” BECAUSE OF YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS!!! IF YOU DO NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION CORRECTLY THE INSURANCE SIGN UP WILL NOT WORK!!!!!
 

Here is what you will need in order to apply:

  1. Proof that the Special Enrollment Period applies to you:
  • If you are coming to the United States for the first time you can apply within 60 days of your arrival (buy short-term health insurance until the Marketplace insurance is approved!):
    • You may need a copy of your VISA, a copy of the entry stamp in your passport, and a copy of your I-94 as proof that you moved from another country (I-94 is usually good enough)
    • You have 60 days from the date of first arrival in the US as a student to apply for government marketplace health insurance. After that you will not be able to buy government marketplace health insurance coverage until the next open enrollment period (usually November) and it will not start until the next calendar year.
  • If you are moving from another State or another University (all required):
    • If you had insurance through your old university, you will need a letter from your old school stating when student health coverage ended or will end.
    • You have 60 days from the day your previous health insurance ended to apply for a new government marketplace health insurance plan. After that you will not be able to buy government marketplace health insurance until the next calendar year.

 

  1. Documents to verify your Immigration status: (ALL are required)
  • Copy of your Passport
  • Copy of your I-20 or DS-2019
  • Copy of the I-94

 

  1. Documents to verify household income: (Provide any and all that show your funding situation)
  • If NO income: Letter stating that you do not have income and that you are a full-time student – you will need to copy your student ID card onto this letter.
  • If you have income: Letter from an employer, US Tax Return OR W2 or pay information

 

  1. Documents to verify your current residency: (2 proofs needed)
  • School enrollment document (letter from GEO is ok)
  • Current utility bill (not a cell phone bill, but something with your address)
  • Lease agreement
  • Valid Unexpired Driving License / Driver Authorization Card or State ID with current address

 

  1. Documents to verify your Social Security Number: (If you have one)
  • Copy of Social Security Card
  • OR Copy of your last year’s tax form if you filed in the US (1040NR or 1040NREZ)

 

  1. Documents you need to verify your Identity: (1 proof needed)
  • Valid Unexpired Foreign Passport
  • Valid Unexpired Driving License (Real ID license)
  • Valid Unexpired State ID (Real ID)

 

  1. HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES AVAILABLE THROUGH THE MARKETPLACE:

For more details about the available plans and comparing coverages, you can check www.healthcare.gov or www.bewellnm.com