The U.S. Healthcare System
As you may be aware, the U.S. healthcare system can be expensive and difficult to navigate. For information on how to prepare for arrival in the U.S., how the U.S. healthcare system works and how to seek medical care, visit www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/explained.
Western requires that all students provide evidence of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) immunity before registering for classes. Please read the requirements and information about this on the Student Health Center website. You will need to complete the Medical Form and send all vaccination documentation in English to:
Western Washington University
Intensive English Program, MS 9102
516 High Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
Or you may fax copies of your documentation to +1 (360) 650-6818.
If you cannot provide proof of your MMR immunity, you will have to get immunized at the Student Health Center upon arrival. There is a $23 charge for each MMR immunization.
Your student fees at Western cover use of the Student Health Center, but not emergency health care and off-campus doctor or hospital visits. You will be required to enroll in the Western LewerMark insurance plan. You will be automatically enrolled in the plan each quarter of attendance. The cost of medical insurance is $338 per quarter and is billed to your account. All payments for tuition, housing, medical insurance and other fees are due on the 15th of the first month of each quarter. Payments made after this day will accrue late charges. Payments can be made on-campus in the Student Business Office in Old Main 110 upon arrival.
In order to be considered exempt from enrolling in the LewerMark insurance plan, you must provide an English language copy of your insurance policy of choice and meet one of the following criteria:
- You must be sponsored by a government agency or embassy
- You must be a U.S. citizen
- You must be covered by a spouse or immediate family member who works in the U.S. and has medical insurance
Students have until the 15th of the first month of each quarter to submit proof that they meet one of the exceptions listed above. If you wish to waive the LewerMark insurance, contact an international student advisor to see if you qualify.
In an effort to control the rising costs of medical insurance coverage for our international students, the insurance coverage under the Lewermark plan is not fully compliant with the Individual Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is Western's understanding that international students who are temporarily residing in the United States on an "F", "J", "M", or "Q" visa for the primary purpose of studying at an academic institution are exempt from the ACA Individual Mandate. While we believe the Lewermark plan will meet the needs of most of our international students, please be advised that it differs in part from an ACA-compliant plan in the following important areas:
- ACA-Compliant plan has an unlimited annual maximum benefit. Lewermark has a $500,000 annual maximum benefit
- ACA-compliant plan has no exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions. Lewermark limits coverage to $2,500 for 6 months for any pre-existing condition. This probably the most important thing to consider. Any international student coming to Western with an existing medical condition will have minimal coverage under the Lewermark plan for 6 months.
If you need a plan with coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, a fully ACA-compliant plan, that also includes medical evacuation and repatriation benefits, is available to our international students from the Student Health Center. You will have the option to purchase this plan and submit a request to waive the requirement for the Lewermark plan.
Students who wish to take a vacation quarter during the year will still be enrolled and billed for the student medical insurance. This is to ensure coverage in the event there is an accident or injury during travel or school breaks. Questions regarding vacation quarter eligibility or this requirement should be directed to the IEP office.
While going directly to the hospital may be the practice in some places, hospital visits in the U.S. can be very costly and may require a long wait. Only go to the Emergency Room (ER) in the case of a very serious emergency. For life-threatening emergencies, call 911 for an ambulance.
Students have access to the following on-campus resources while attending IEP.