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Required Health Insurance for Exchange Students

All international students must enroll in the ISU Student and Scholar Health Insurance Program (ISU SSHIP). Enrolling in health insurance through the sponsor (Iowa State University) of the J-1 visa is a requirement of the US State Department. ISU requires nonimmigrant international students and their dependents to purchase and maintain coverage through the ISU health insurance plan for the duration of their tenure at the university. Insurance plans purchased outside the university may be used for supplemental coverage, but cannot be substituted for the ISU plan. More information on ISU Health Insurance can be found on the ISU SSHIP website.

The ISU Student and Scholar Medical coverage is a Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan that offers office visits and outpatient services, in-network preventive care, in-network routine vision exams, in network prosthetic limbs and in-network services for mental health/substance abuse independent labs, office visits and outpatient services and services subject to health and drug card copayments.

Dates of coverage are listed on the ISU SSHIP website. Academic Year and Calendar year students are covered for the entire year at Iowa State University (including the summer) and Spring students are covered for the summer in addition to the spring semester.

Exchange students are automatically enrolled in ISU SSHIP, and the costs will be placed on their ISU U-Bill. The costs can be found on the ISU SSHIP website

2024-2025 costs

Fall 2024: $1,025
Spring and Summer 2025: $1,435

Students here for the spring semester will be provided information on cancelling their ISU SSHIP once they leave the USA after their exchange to receive a refund on part of the summer insurance costs.

In some circumstance, exchange students may be able to request and be granted a waiver for ISU SSHIP. More details can be found on the ISU SSHIP Waiver website 

Please know that the waiver requirements very specific information and not all students who request a waiver will be granted one. It is NOT recommended that you purchase your own insurance in hopes of receiving a waiver, as you will most likely not be granted one.

Dental insurance is not included in ISU SSHIP. If you'd like to receive Dental Insurance through ISU, you can sign up for dental insurance through at an additional cost. Information is towards the bottom of the ISU SSHIP website. You can also purchase travel dental insurance on your own if you want.


ISU SSHIP website
ISU SSHIP Information. 
ISU SSHIP Waiver website
Information on what information is required to receive a waiver from ISU SSHIP
Questions about ISU SSHIP can be sent to