University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

New Students

Health Care and Insurance

Medical expenses in the United States are extremely high--one day in the hospital can cost well over $10,000 even for routine care. International students and their dependents are not eligible to use any public assistance programs that are supported by the U.S. government or the State of Minnesota.

image: Health InsuranceIn the past, students have often purchased health insurance which was not adequate. The University of Minnesota now requires that all international students and their dependents enroll in the University-administered health insurance program -the Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). International students will be automatically enrolled in the plan and the fees will be charged on your tuition bill each semester. For additional information, visit the Office of Student Health Benefits website.

Students holding a qualifying graduate assistantship appointment will be eligible to enroll in the Graduate Assistantship Plan as an alternative to the SHBP. International students should NOT purchase alternative health insurance from a government or private insurance company for either themselves or their dependents, otherwise you will pay for two insurance policies. Your payment for the SHBP and the Student Services Fee each semester will allow you to be seen at Boynton Health Service for most services at no cost and some services at a reduced cost.
Once you have checked-in, you are covered under the plan retroactively to the date of your arrival or August 1 (whichever is later) at no extra cost. If you arrive prior to August 1 due to departmental orientation, training, or an early start date of a graduate assistantship, you can purchase pre-semester insurance at an additional cost. Please note that each pre-semester enrollment request is contingent on review by the Office of Student Health Benefits

If you have questions about the SHBP or the Graduate Assistant Health Plan, send an e-mail to or visit the Office of Student Health Benefits website.

Dependent Insurance

International students are required to enroll dependents who are present in the United States in F-2 or J-2 status on the University’s insurance plan. Dependents are not enrolled automatically on the plan. They are covered from the date of their arrival as long as the F-1 or J-1 student completes the enrollment paperwork with the Office of Student Health Benefits within 30 days of their arrival. For information about cost and coverage details, send an e-mail to or visit the Office of Student Health Benefits website.

Pre-Existing Conditions

The University’s insurance plans cover any pre-existing conditions. If you have a health condition (e.g. diabetes, heart problems, asthma, depression, etc.) that requires ongoing care, please make sure to bring copies of your medical records with you to Minnesota as well as a list of medications you are taking so that your care is not interrupted. You may also wish to complete the medical history form in consultation with your physician at home and bring it with you to Minnesota. You may find the form at