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Orientation update #7: Health insurance and health care 101

Posted By: OISS    Published: Monday, 06 Aug 2012

Studying far away from home is hard enough; we want to help you stay healthyand safe so you can focus on your studies! Do you know what to do when you become sick or hurt in the US? Check out how to use health insurance and health care below!

Do I have student health insurance?
All international students are required to carry health insurance at MSU. All international students are automatically enrolled for the Aetna Base Plan at the time of course registration. The cost of the insurance will be added to your MSU Student Account. Graduate Assistants and Teaching Assistants receive student health insurance at no cost. For more information on student health insurance, please visit (

Do I have other options?
You also have an option to purchase a health insurance from the U.S. private market or from your home country as long as it meets all the MSU minimum health insurance requirements. You may request an 'insurance waiver' online, which is an exception from the mandatory Aetna Student Health policy. Make sure your insurance meets all the requirements before purchasing it and don't forget to bring an English version or English translation of your health insurance policy information to be reviewed. What are the requirements? Click here: ( )

I am bringing family members with me. Will they get insurance?
MSU will not automatically enroll your family in health insurance, however it is very important that your family members are insured as soon as possible after their arrival. Health care is very expensive in the United States and the U.S. government does NOT pay any medical expenses for international students or their family members. Take action to protect your family! You may enroll them together with you in Aetna Student Health, you may purchase a private insurance policy for them, or you can bring one from your home country. If you wish to purchase coverage through Aetna Student Health, please be aware that the enrollment deadline for the Fall 2012 semester is September 30, 2012.

Where can I see a doctor when I am sick or injured?
First of all, carry your insurance card with you every day so you will be sure to have it when you need to see a doctor. You need this card anytime you visit a doctor or hospital (If you don't receive insurance card by September 30th, 2012, go to this link to see how to print one online by yourself! (

You can get health care through the MSU Olin Health Center, local urgent care centers, ora hospital emergency room (for serious emergencies only) in the Greater Lansing Area.

Minor illness or injury --> Olin Health Center -->Urgent care centers (if Olin is closed)

Major illness or injury --> Emergency Room

Life-threatening --> Call 911

Olin is your first stop with Aetna: Aetna Student Health requires its student members to go to MSU Olin Health Center on campus first for minor illness/injuries. Olin will refer you to a specialist if needed. To learn about the services available at Olin, please visit: ( Call 517-353-4660 to make an appointment. You can usually see a doctor the same day. In addition, you may visit any of the three Neighborhood Clinics conveniently located in your neighborhoods (127 South Hubbard, 148 Brody, G-17 Holden) during the fall and spring semesters, Monday thru Friday. If you have difficulty getting to and from Olin, call 517-353-4700 to reserve a free courtesy van to pick you up and return as long as you live on campus or within 1 mile of the campus.

If Olin Health Center is closed, go to the urgent care centers for minor illnesses or injuries. If you are experiencing an emergency, go directly to the emergency room (ER). Keep in mind, ERs in the U.S. is only for severe cases! If you go to the ER when it's not truly an emergency case, the insurance company won't always pay your ER bill. (Typical cost of an ER visit: $600, often much more).

Not sure what kind of problem you have and where to go?
Call Olin 24-hr Nurseline for free consultation: (517) 353-5557

What is an emergency?
Check out our webpage for examples! (

Money saving Tip: You will get better coverage when you go to an in-network provider than an out-of-network provider. Check out the health facility map to find Aetna's in-network providers near MSU. (

Free services available to all MSU students, regardless of insurance status:
3 free consultation visits to Olin Health Center per year
8 free visits to the MSU counseling center per year

Are you under 18?
MSU Student Health requires students under age 18 (born after August 16, 1994) to have the consent of their parent or guardian to receive non-emergency medical care. Print out the form here: ( )

You can bring the signed form with you to MSU and deliver it to the Olin Health Center Medical Records department room 146. Other options are to have your parent or guardian mail or FAX the form to Olin Health Center. Questions may be emailed to

See you at International Student Orientation on August 20th at 9 am at the Breslin Center! Visit the orientation webpage for more information at: (

Safe travels!

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