Student Health Insurance FAQs

Who is required to have insurance?

Why do I have to have insurance?

What does the George Washington Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) cover?

Do I have to enroll in the GW Student Health Insurance Plan offered through Aetna?

How do I enroll or waive the GW Student Health Insurance Plan?

What is the deadline for filing a waiver or application for enrollment?

What happens if I fail to waive the student insurance by the deadline?

I am a part-time GW employee and a student. Am I still required to submit a waiver for SHIP?

I have private insurance already. How can I determine if it meets the standards for alternative coverage?

When do I pay the fee for my insurance?

I am a Graduate Assistant. Will GW be providing funding toward the cost of the insurance plan?

I am covered through private insurance now, but will be in need of coverage during the academic year. How do I proceed?

I have GW SHIP insurance. My dependent will be in need of coverage during the middle of the plan year. How do I proceed?

If I obtain acceptable alternative insurance and want to cancel my enrollment in GW SHIP, how do I proceed and what are the guidelines?

I have waived the SHIP coverage, why does my tuition bill still show a charge?

When will I receive my GW SHIP insurance card?

What if I lose my student health insurance identification card?

I have enrolled in the GW SHIP and need to see a doctor. What is the next step?

My primary care provider is in the area. Do I need a referral to see him/her?

I have my own women's health provider. Do I need a referral to see them?

Is Emergency Room care covered? Do I need a referral to the ER?

Does GW SHIP cover treatment for mental health and substance abuse?

Are X-rays and lab tests subject to the annual deductible and co pay if services were rendered at SHS?

Is Durable Medical Equipment subject to the annual deductible?

Are dental benefits covered under GW SHIP?

I will be out of the Washington area. What do I do if I need to see a doctor?

Where can I access a listing of in-network providers and facilities?

Am I covered for medical treatment while studying or traveling abroad?

Is it my responsibility to file a medical claim?

When is Pre-certification required?

Is there any penalty for not pre-certifying an in-patient admission?

How do I contact Aetna Student Health?

1. Who is required to have insurance?

If you are a Medical, on-campus Nursing, on-campus Health Science, J1, or F1 International student, the university requires you to have medical insurance.

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2. Why do I have to have insurance?

Your academic program and or visa status may require that you carry medical insurance.

Health insurance guarantees that you will be able to obtain necessary treatment in the event that you develop a serious illness or injury. Health insurance guarantees that you will be able to obtain medical preventative services like immunizations, physical exam, well women's exams, etc., when you obtain care from your doctor.

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3. What does the George Washington Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) cover?

GW SHIP covers:

  • Hospitalization
  • Visits to Colonial Health Center
  • Specialty care office visits/referrals, for example the skin doctor
  • Mental health evaluation and treatment
  • Diagnostic studies, like X-rays and Lab tests
  • Outpatient therapy/treatments
  • Prescription medications

Care at the Colonial Health Center:

  • All office visits covered in full, no deductible or co-pays
  • Most other charges are also covered in full

In-network care (Medical practices that accept Aetna), a list of providers is available at Aetna DocFind:

  • You are responsible for payment of allowable charges up to $300 (deductible)
  • Once you have met deductible for the year, you are responsible only for the relevant co-pay
  • The deductible may be waived for certain services or care

Out-of-network care (Medical practices that do not accept Aetna):

  • You are responsible for payment of charges up to $3,000 (deductible)
  • Provider balance may bill you for difference between actual charge and any GW SHIP payment
  • After the deductible is met, the plan pays 60% of reasonable and customary charges

Mental Health Services at the Colonial Health Center:

  • All individual and group counseling sessions covered in full, no deductible or co-pays

Key features of GW SHIP:

Medical, on-campus Nursing, on-campus Health Sciences

International students with an F-1 or J-1 Visa

  • Unlimited lifetime maximum benefit
  • Co-Insurance: 80% In-network, 60% Out-of-network
  • Annual deductible of $300 In-network/$3,000 Out-of-network.
  • Contraception 100%
  • Preventative Care 100% Coverage
  • Prescription deductible:$100
  • Annual maximum out-of-pocket expense of $7,500 in-network/$15,000 out-of-network

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4. Do I have to enroll in the GW Student Health Insurance Plan offered through Aetna?

You may satisfy the insurance requirement through any private plan that meets university criteria for coverage.

Regardless of the coverage that you select, you must submit information about your insurance coverage each year. Visit Aetna Student Health to opt out of the Aetna Student Health Insurance Plan.

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5. How do I enroll or waive the GW Student Health Insurance Plan?

Only Medical, on-campus Nursing, on-campus Health Sciences, and International Students with a F-1 or J-1 visa, will automatically be enrolled, and the charge will appear on your student account bill. You have the option to opt-out of the mandatory plan.

To enroll dependents, visit Aetna Student Health.

If you are a Medical, on-campus Nursing, on-campus Health Sciences, or F-1 or J-1 visa card holding International Student, and want to waive the GW SHIP requirement, be sure to have all of the information about your alternative coverage at hand and opt-out here. There is no alternative to submitting your order selection online. In order to ensure your selection is properly recorded, you must use the online system. Documentation mailed, emailed, or faxed will NOT be processed. The deadline to waive the insurance for newly admitted Fall students is September 30th, and the deadline for newly admitted Spring students is January 31st. Every mandatory student that wants to opt-out of the insurance, must complete the waiver annually. Here are more detailed waiver steps.

If you are not a Medical, on-campus Nursing, on-campus Health Sciences, or a F-1 or J-1 visa card holding International Student, and would like to opt-in (voluntarily enroll) in the insurance, please visit Aetna Student Health.

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6. What is the deadline for filing a waiver or application for enrollment?

The deadline to waive:

Fall Students: September 30th

Newly Admitted Spring Students: January 31st

Newly Admitted Summer Students: May 31st

All mandatory students that wish to opt-out of the GW plan, must complete the waiver annually.

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7. What happens if I fail to waive the student insurance by the deadline?

You will, by default be enrolled in the GW Student Health Insurance plan for the entire academic year, the policy will terminate on August 11, 2017.

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8. I am a part-time GW employee and a student. Am I still required to submit a waiver for SHIP?

Yes, regardless of employment in the university, all students in this group are required to file a selection showing their insurance coverage.

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9. I have private insurance already. How can I determine if it meets the standards for alternative coverage?

Alternative coverage must meet the following minimum standards:

GW Sample Waiver Criteria for International and domestic students:

  • My plan is provided by a company licensed to do business in the United States, with a U.S. claims payment office and a U.S. phone number.
  • My plan is currently active and I agree to maintain health insurance coverage throughout the entire 2016-17 academic year.
  • My plan offers an (lifetime/annual) unlimited benefit in coverage per accident or illness each policy year and has prescription coverage.
  • My Plan covers pre-existing conditions with no waiting period or the plan must have been in effect long enough that any waiting period has passed
  • My plan covers inpatient and outpatient medical and mental health care in the Washington, DC area, including Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Detoxification Treatment. Emergency only coverage does not satisfy this requirement.
  • My plan covers expenses related to self-inflicted injuries and suicide.

International students only:

  • My plan provides at least $10,000 for medical evacuation and $7,500 coverage for repatriation (repatriation provides transportation to your home country in the event of death).
  • My plan has a maximum deductible of $500.

Travel insurance is not eligible for waiver.

Domestic students only:

  • My plan has a maximum deductible of $1,500.

Please obtain a copy of your plan’s benefits and review them to ensure your plan meets the above criteria. The university may contact your insurance company to verify that your plan meets the criteria.

You should have the following information with you when you complete the online waiver:

  • Your GWid Number (Gxxxxxxxx)
  • Your Date of Birth
  • Your Address
  • Details about your plan's coverage
  • Insurance Information
    • Company Name
    • Company Address (must be a U.S. Address)
    • Company Phone Number
  • Insurance Policy or Group Number
  • Policy Holder's Name
  • Subscriber (you) Date of Birth
  • Policy Holder ID Number
  • Relationship to Policy Holder
  • Insurance Company Website
  • Insurance Plan Name

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10. When do I pay the fee for my insurance?

The annual fee (premium) is billed in two (2) increments. The first will be billed directly to your account in September, and the second installment will be billed in January.

If you receive funding from your school, you may receive refunds which include premium to be repaid for insurance. Be sure to monitor your account closely to determine whether your premium has been paid, or speak to the Student Accounts Office.

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11. I am a Graduate Assistant.  Will GW be providing funding toward the cost of the insurance plan?

Contact the Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships to determine if you qualify. You can email gradfell@gwu.edu or call 202-994-6822.

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12. I am covered through private insurance now, but will be in need of coverage during the academic year. How do I proceed?

You may enroll in the middle of the year within 31 days of a qualifying life changing event.

Qualifying Life Events include:

  • Removal from a parent's health insurance plan after achieving a landmark birthday that disqualifies you from that coverage, or
  • Loss of private insurance through loss of employment or divorce.

Please contact Aetna Student Health within 31 days of the occurrence of the event.

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13. I have GW SHIP insurance. My dependent will be in need of coverage during the middle of the plan year. How do I proceed?

You may enroll your dependent in the middle of the year within 31 days of a qualifying life changing event.

Qualifying Life Events for dependents include:

  • Marriage or establishment of a domestic partner relationship
  • Birth or adoption of a child

Please contact Aetna Student Health within 31 days of the occurrence of the event.

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14. If I obtain acceptable alternative insurance and want to cancel my enrollment in GW SHIP, how do I proceed and what are the guidelines?

If you would like to cancel your enrollment in the GW SHIP, you must opt-out here and have all information about your alternative coverage in hand by September 30 for newly admitted Fall semester students and January 31st for newly admitted Spring semester students. There is no alternative to submitting your order selection online. In order to ensure your selection is properly recorded, you must use the online system. Documentation mailed, faxed or emailed will NOT be processed.

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15.  I have waived the SHIP coverage, why does my tuition bill still show a charge?

Please allow one week from the date of the transaction for the credit to be applied to your tuition bill. Please contact Aetna Student Health for any questions.

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16. When will I receive my GW SHIP insurance card?

You will be able to print your Aetna Insurance Card within 14 business days after the insurance goes into effect, by visiting Aetna Student Health. You are also able to contact Aetna Customer Service, 1-800-213-0579 to have an actual card mailed to you. More detailed steps to printing your card can be found here

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17. What if I lose my student health insurance identification card?

You may visit Aetna Student Health to reprint a new card.

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18. I have enrolled in the GW SHIP and need to see a doctor. What is the next step?

Outpatient medical care is available to students through the Colonial Health Center (CHC). If you are within 25 miles of the university, you should first seek treatment at CHC. There is no deductible or co-pay for office visits to CHC. If you need additional care outside of CHC, you will be referred for specialty care. You are responsible for payment of deductible and/or co-pays for care outside CHC.

If you are outside of the 25-mile radius, you may self-refer to any provider, but your costs will be significantly lower if you seek care from a participating Aetna provider. Please visit Aetna Student Health DocFind to find providers that accept your insurance. You are responsible for payment of any deductible and/or co-pays for care.

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19. My primary care provider is in the area. Do I need a referral to see him/her?

The Colonial Health Center is considered your primary care provider under the health insurance. If you seek medical care at another facility, you are responsible for payment of any relevant deductible and/or co-pay charges.

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20. I have my own women's health provider. Do I need a referral to see them?

No, you do not need a referral to see a women's health provider. You are still responsible for payment of any relevant deductible and/or co-pay.

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21. Is Emergency Room care covered? Do I need a referral to the Emergency Room?

Emergency Room care is covered. You do not need a referral for Emergency Room care.

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22. Does GW SHIP cover treatment for mental health and substance abuse?

Yes, the plan provides treatment for mental health and substance abuse. You do not need a referral for any mental health visits.

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23. Are X-rays and lab tests subject to the annual deductible and co pay if services were rendered at CHC?

Yes, while specimens for lab tests are obtained at CHC, they are sent to outside labs for processing and are subject to the deductible and applicable co-pay. X-rays are ordered and scheduled by CHC but are performed by outside radiology offices, and are not subject to the deductible, but the applicable co-pay does apply.

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24. Is Durable Medical Equipment subject to the annual deductible?

Yes, durable Medical Equipment is subject to the deductible. After the deductible is met, you are responsible for 80% of the Negotiated Charge for in-network care and 60% of the Reasonable Charge.

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25. Are dental benefits covered under GW SHIP?

Routine dental care is not covered under the plan.  GW SHIP will only pay dental benefits in the event that you sustain an injury to a sound tooth or for the removal of an impacted wisdom tooth (referral not required). The medical plan does include a discount program for dental services, please visit Aetna Student Health DocFind to find a provider that accepts the Vital Savings program.

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26. I will be out of the Washington area. What do I do if I need to see a doctor?

You do not need a referral from Medical Services for care outside of the Washington area. Keep in mind that you are responsible for paying your deductible. Treatment by an in Network Aetna Preferred Provider reduces your out-of-pocket costs. Visit Aetna Student Health DocFind to search for providers that are in-network while you are outside of the Washington area.

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27. Where can I access a listing of in-network providers and facilities?

A complete listing of participating Preferred Providers and Pharmacies is available through the internet by accessing Aetna Student Health DocFind.

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28. Am I covered for medical treatment while studying or traveling abroad?

Yes, under the Worldwide Medical Information and Assistance portion of the plan. Please visit On Call International Travel Assistance or call 1-866-525-1956 for more information.

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29. Is it my responsibility to file a medical claim?

If you visit an In-Network Preferred Provider, they will file a medical claim on your behalf.

If you visit a Non-Preferred Provider, please request that they do so. If they decline, it will be your responsibility to do so. Please request an itemized receipt and submit a Aetna Claim form directly to Aetna.

Please provide your GW SHIP identification card at the time you receive services.

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30. When is Pre-certification required?

Pre-certification is required for all inpatient admissions. Pre-certification is obtained by contacting Aetna Student Health Claims Administrators, Inc. (Please note: pre-certification is not required for any outpatient services). Please call Aetna Student Health at 1-800-213-0579.

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31. Is there any penalty for not pre-certifying an in-patient admission?

Yes, if you do not secure Pre-certification for non-emergency inpatient admissions or provide notification for emergency admissions, your covered Medical Expenses will be subject to a $200 per admission Deductible.

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32. How do I contact Aetna Student Health?

Aetna Student Health
Phone Number: 1-800-213-0579

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