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International Student Services

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Secure Insurance

All international students are required to have health insurance at USC. You will automatically be enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Student Health insurance plan that USC offers. However, if you have a different health insurance plan that you would prefer to use, you will need to "waive out" of USC's insurance.

What you should know about USC's insurance plan

  • Basic information about USC's insurance can be found through Student Health Services.
  • Coverage for the 2019-2020 academic year begins August 1, 2019 and terminates on July 31, 2020.
  • Voluntary Summer enrollment is April 1, 2019 - June 1, 2019.
  • Fall 2019 enrollment is June 3, 2019 - September 13, 2019.
  • Health Insurance at USC is not free. The charge for USC's insurance will appear on your tuition and fee bill every semester. For Fall 2019, USC's plan cost will be $922.87; for Spring & Summer 2020, the cost is $1258.32.
  • Some graduate assistantships will offer an insurance subsidy to reduce the cost of insurance. Ask your academic department for further details.
  • You are responsible for being aware of all of the benefits and restrictions for your insurance plan. All information regarding USC's insurance plan can be found on the Student Insurance BCBS website.
  • To receive your insurance card, you will need to enroll online and submit your information to BCBS. If you do not have a U.S. address yet, you may list the International Student Services address for the purposes of receiving your card. You may also download your insurance card from the BCBS website.

What you should do if you will not be using USC's insurance plan

If you do not plan to USC the BCBS insurance provided by USC, you will need to take steps every semester to "waive out" of USC's plan. Step by step instructions for waiving out are available. If you fail to waive out of USC's insurance, you will be charged for the university provided health insurance, even if you have an alternative plan. You must waive out every Fall and Spring. Past waivers will not be valid.

You can only waive out of USC's insurance if you have a health insurance plan that meets all of the waiver requirements set by USC. The waiver requirements are can be found on the Student Health Services website. Waiver requirements are also listed below.

Below are a few commonly approved plans that are acceptable for the waiver process.

There are other insurance plan options that may be approved. See the waiver criteria below as you research alternative insurance coverage.

2019-2020 Comparable Plan Coverage Criteria

Coverage must allow the insured student to receive services in South Carolina and have coverage for the following services:

  • Out-of-pocket limit per policy year not to exceed $6,350/individual and $12,700/family.
  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorders (including behavioral health treatment)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services (to include dental and vision)
  • Chronic disease management
  • Unlimited maximum benefit per policy year per covered person
  • No pre-existing condition limitation

Note – Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare plans are accepted as proof of adequate health insurance coverage.

Health Insurance Requirements For J-1 Students

For J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents, the U.S. Department of State regulations require that the health insurance plan must also meet one or more of the following criteria (the University plan meets these criteria): 

  • Medical Benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of Remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • A policy underwritten by an insurance carrier with:
    • an A.M. Best rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims paying Ability rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of ‘‘B+’’ or above;
    • a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a Moody’s Investor Services rating of ‘‘A3’’ or above

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