Medical Care, Immunization & Health Insurance

Health care in the U.S. may be quite different from that of your home country. Medical treatment in the Boston area is very good, but American health care can be expensive—there is no socialized or national health care system in the U.S. Health insurance is necessary to help defray those costs. In addition, federal and state regulations have insurance mandates that you will need to be aware of and comply with during your stay in the U.S., including requirements specific to students in Massachusetts, residents of Massachusetts and J-1 exchange visitors.  While the ISSO strives to give you the most up-to-date information on insurance requirements, we cannot monitor whether specific insurance plans meet the requirements – ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure you have the proper coverage to meet any requirements that apply to you.

Health Insurance

Mandatory Health Insurance for Massachusetts Residents

Massachusetts has a standard of minimum coverage which is required for all persons residing in the state (note that for the purpose of Massachusetts insurance coverage, the term “residing” applies to all persons who live in the state during a given year). Failure to maintain adequate health insurance coverage to meet the Massachusetts requirements may result in tax penalties. More information can be found on the Attorney General for Massachusetts’ website.

Researcher, Faculty, and Staff Health Insurance

Student Medical Insurance

All Boston University students are automatically enrolled each year in the Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan administered by Aetna Student Health. This plan was designed for your safety and well-being. You will be charged for the basic medical insurance plan on your tuition bill.

If you already have medical insurance coverage from another source (for example, through a company that sponsors your study in the United States), you may request a waiver of this fee and un-enroll in the Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan by completing the waiver form and providing proof of comparable insurance to Student Accounting Services. An alternate insurance plan must meet strict requirements in order for you to qualify for the waiver. With very few exceptions, state law prohibits BU from accepting coverage by an insurance company outside the United States. Before enrolling for coverage or renewing coverage in an insurance plan other than Boston University’s student health plan, check with Student Accounting Services to determine whether it meets the waiver requirements.

Please visit Student Accounting Services Medical Insurance for more information regarding:

  • Waiver forms and deadlines
  • Comparable medical insurance requirements
  • Student Plus plan
  • Purchasing medical insurance coverage for dependent family members

Please visit Aetna Student Health to:

  • Read detailed information about the Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan
  • Print a copy of your medical insurance card

Additional requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors

Student Health Services

Boston University offers exceptional medical and wellness care to all full-time students at this on-campus facility. From coughs and colds to asthma and acne, they have a staff of expert clinicians to meet your medical needs in a caring and confidential environment. Medical services include gynecological care, men’s health care, sports medicine, minor office procedures, referrals to specialists, and massage therapy. Wellness & Prevention Services supports your well-being with resources and up-to-date information on topics such as stress relief, nutrition, smoking cessation, and much more. All students pay mandatory fees (which are separate from any medical insurance fees) so they can take full advantage of medical care and support services throughout their academic program.

Visit Student Health Services for detailed information and to make an appointment.

Student Immunization and Health Forms

Massachusetts state law requires that all students be immunized (vaccinated) against certain communicable diseases. There are several policies and procedures that you must follow to comply with immunization requirements at Boston University, which includes submitting the completed Incoming Student Health Forms before you arrive on campus. If students do not receive the required immunizations and submit the necessary forms before they arrive on campus, there may be serious consequences, such as not being allowed to attend classes.

For more information on the immunization requirements and forms, please visit Student Health Services.