Home / Practical Matters / Health and Wellness / Student Health Insurance and Insurance Waivers
Updated July 15, 2021
This resource has been developed in collaboration with the Tufts Student Insurance office within Tufts Student Health Services. The information below applies to international students enrolled in programs based at the Medford campus, including the School of Arts & Sciences, School of Engineering, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Students at the Boston Health Sciences and Grafton campuses should contact the Student Advisory and Health Administration (SAHA) office for information about student health insurance requirements.
Questions about the Tufts student health insurance plan and the insurance waiver process for A&S, SMFA, SOE and Fletcher students should be directed to email@example.com. Additional information is also available at https://students.tufts.edu/health-and-wellness/health-insurance/student-health-insurance.
Under Massachusetts state law, full-time students are required to enroll in a university-provided student health insurance plan OR show that they have health insurance coverage provided by a comparable US-based insurance plan.
In order to receive a waiver, students should keep the following points in mind:
The health insurance charge may be canceled if proof of comparable coverage from a US carrier is submitted. If you are covered by a separate policy, please complete the Health Insurance Waiver on your SIS account on the Bills & Balances tab. This waiver process is required every year.
For the upcoming academic year, the waiver deadline is July 31st.
If you have more specific questions about the waiver process, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are going to be outside the United States during the 2021-2022 academic year, but will still be taking classes, you should still request a waiver of the health insurance requirement even if you are certain you will not be inside the US during this time. (However, if you are on a leave of absence or taking a gap year and will not be enrolled in any classes, then you are not required to request a waiver since you will not be charged the student health insurance plan in that case.)
Once granted, the waiver will apply for the entire year (September 2021 - August 2022). If you later arrive in the US at any time during the academic year, you must enroll in the Tufts student health insurance plan if you did not already get a waiver based on a comparable US-based insurance plan. Please notify the Student Insurance office at email@example.com so that you may be enrolled into the Tufts student health insurance plan.
Under Massachusetts state regulations, student health insurance coverage must meet minimum standards as set out in the Affordable Care Act (or ACA). Tufts will waive enrollment in the Tufts student health insurance plan if you show that you have a US-based plan that provides health insurance coverage that meets the ACA minimum requirements. This is important since an ACA compliant plan provides coverage for a wide range of health care and medical benefits, ensuring that you are well protected in your medical and healthcare needs. A full description of ACA minimum coverage requirements can be found in this information guide.
If you are searching for an alternative insurance plan, ask the insurance provider if the plan meets the minimum coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act or if the plan is "ACA compliant." The alternative plan should clearly indicate this in their insurance policy statement and policy documents. If the insurance policy or the insurance company indicates that it does not meet ACA minimum coverage requirements, then the plan cannot be used to waive the Tufts student health insurance plan.
In order to qualify for a waiver of the Tufts student health insurance plan, your alternative plan must not only be ACA compliant but must also be provided by a US-based insurance carrier. An insurance carrier is essentially the insurance company that is actually providing the insurance plan. To qualify for a waiver of the Tufts student health insurance plan, your alternative plan must be from a US insurance carrier (i.e., the insurance company or provider).
IMPORTANT: Know the Difference between the Insurance Carrier and the Insurance Agent
Students will sometimes buy insurance policies that appear to be underwritten or sold by a US-based insurance carrier. However, this is not always the case. Many overseas, non-US insurance carriers will often use US-based customer service representatives, agents, administrators, and management companies to help them administer the policy; in addition, they may provide a US address or US telephone number as contact information for customers seeking to make insurance claims. Even if they use US-based agents, however, the company itself might still be based in another country instead of the US. There are for instance many companies that cater to international students but are based in locations such as the Grand Cayman Islands, Bermuda, or one of several European countries.
These insurance do not meet the Massachusetts state requirements because:
How Do I Know the Insurance Carrier is US-based?
If you are shopping for an insurance plan, before purchasing the policy ask the company if the insurance carrier or provider is based in the United States. Distinguish between the insurance carrier (company) that designs and offers the insurance policy, from the agents who are hired to "administer" or "manage" the insurance policy. As discussed above, many non-US based carriers utilize US-based customer service agents and managers to administer their policies for customers in the US, but this is different from the actual location of the insurance company or carrier itself.
An alternative is to examine the insurance policy statements and documents you are provided to locate the insurance company's address. If you are unsure, you are welcome to contact Student Insurance at firstname.lastname@example.org and they may be able to help you review the alternative insurance plan you are considering.
Student health insurance coverage must meet the minimum coverage standards set out in the Affordable Care Act (or ACA). Tufts's student health insurance plan meets ACA requirements. In accordance with Massachusetts state law, Tufts will waive enrollment in the Tufts student health insurance plan if you show that you have a US-based plan that provides health insurance coverage that meets the ACA minimum requirements. This is important since an ACA compliant plan provides coverage for a wide range of health care and medical benefits, ensuring that you are well protected in your medical needs. A full description of ACA minimum coverage requirements can be found in this information guide.
The best way to check and see if your alternative health insurance plan is to ask the insurance provider if the plan meets the minimum coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act or if the plan is "ACA compliant." The alternative plan should clearly indicate this in the insurance policy statement. If the insurance policy or the insurance company indicates that it does not meet ACA minimum coverage requirements, then the plan cannot be used to waive the Tufts student health insurance plan.
The Health and Wellness fee is separate from the student health insurance fee. The Health and Wellness fee is used to support Tufts's health and wellness programs and services, so that Tufts can promote the health and wellbeing of our students. Among the services supported by this fee include the Student Health Services, Counseling and Mental Health Service, and others. For more details about the Health and Wellness fee, go to https://students.tufts.edu/health-and-wellness/your-health-and-wellness-fee.
The fee is set by the Tufts Board of Trustees and is mandatory and non-negotiable, and cannot be waived.