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Reason for changing the 2014-2015 insurance waiver criteria - FAQ

Q: Why did the previous insurance waiver criteria (2013-2014) not work?

A: Insurance companies were taking advantage of MSU international students. Companies would sell low-priced insurance to MSU international students. The low-priced insurance would appear to offer equivalent coverage to the MSU Aetna Policy. However, if you read the fine print, these policies offered very low coverage and contained many limitations.

Q: What kinds of problems did students experience?

A: Many students who received an insurance waiver with a low-priced insurance policy found that when they needed medical care, the insurance only paid a small portion of their medical bills. We have some examples for you...

Real Life Case Study: MSU Student

  • MSU Undergraduate student - Junior standing, in good health
  • Received MSU waiver with low-cost insurance policy
  • Experienced unexpected medical problems
  • Medical bills reached $100,000.
  • Low-cost insurance paid only $20,000
  • The student owed $80,000 in medical expenses

This student left the United States. His dream of an MSU education is now over.


Many students experience problems with low-priced insurance on a smaller scale.

A number of students have paid the following costs after insurance was applied:

  • $5,000 - $6,000 for an appendectomy
  • $1,000 - $2,000 (or more!) for a visit to the Emergency Room
  • $300 - $800 for X-rays or lab tests
  • $500 for an ambulance ride

Q: How did this happen if the students had to have health insurance that qualified for the waiver?

A: The problem came from two places: The private market for international student health insurance, and the previous MSU waiver criteria. Companies that sell health insurance to international students on an individual basis are very clever at writing insurance policies that appear to provide strong coverage, yet do not pay the majority of most medical costs. MSU's previous waiver criteria were not strong enough to prevent these inadequate policies from qualifying for a waiver.

As a result of the problems experienced by MSU international students, MSU has decided to strengthen the insurance waiver criteria for the 2014-2015 academic year. MSU wants its international students to be healthy and safe.

Q: Who benefits from the new insurance waiver criteria?

A: The only people who benefit from the strengthened insurance waiver criteria are:

MSU International Students!

Photo of about 100 International Students many wearing MSU Green apparel


We want to be clear about this:

Nobody at MSU is getting any additional money from this policy change.

  • OISS does not get any money from Aetna Student Health.
  • OISS does not get any money from any insurance companies.
  • No other office at MSU gets any money from Aetna Student Health or any other health insurance company.

The changes are not about money.

The changes are about YOUR health and YOUR safety!