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Health Insurance and Healthcare

Healthcare in the U.S.

There is no universal healthcare system in the U.S. Because of this, basic healthcare can be incredibly expensive. The US Healthcare System Overview video will teach you how to prepare for your arrival in the U.S., how the U.S. healthcare system works, and how you should seek medical care appropriately if you become sick or injured during your studies in the U.S.

Healthcare Insurance Requirements

The California State University (CSU) system requires that all international students in either F-1 or J-1 status purchase and maintain health insurance that meets specific requirements. The CSU requirements for international student health insurance are:

  • 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 to the student's home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

Sonoma State University (SSU) offers such a policy through Aetna-Wells Fargo and requires that international students purchase our insurance policy with few exceptions (see Health Insurance Waiver below).

Purchasing Insurance

New international students must complete and submit the International Student Health Insurance Committal Form prior to the mandatory orientation program. This form must be signed, scanned and emailed to

Currently Sonoma State University is partnering with International Student Insurance. This Insurance company offers 4 different coverage plans. We leave it up to our students to choose the plan that is best for them, but we also remind everyone that the lower-cost plans can lead to higher out-of-pocket costs should they need significant medical care.

Prices are per academic year (10 months)

  • Minimum: students under 25: $310, students 25 and older : $660
  • Maximum: students under 25: $1790, students 25 and older $3680

The insurance policy must be purchased before your arrival on-campus so that you are covered the moment that you step off the airplane. Health insurance coverage can be for the semester, summer, or academic year must be purchased online at  International Student Insurance.

Continuing international students must renew their SSU health insurance policy in a timely manner so that there is no lapse in coverage. Payment is due no later than the first day of the semester, or a Foreign Insurance Hold will be placed on your account.

Students on OPT who receive insurance through their employer need to be aware that their policy most likely does not cover the specific requirements listed above. In that case, OPT participants can purchase supplemental insurance for a small cost to ensure they're compliant with the F-1 participant insurance requirement. 

Health Insurance Waiver

No student will be allowed a waiver from the SSU policy except those who are sponsored by a U.S. or foreign government program and who are already covered through a policy required by their program (e.g. Fulbright).

If you are eligible for the health insurance waiver, you must provide evidence that your program policy meets the CSU requirements for international student insurance and that it is in force and fully paid. All documents presented must be notarized and in English.

Contact the International Student Coordinator in the Center for International Education to request a waiver form or for more information about the health insurance waiver.


In accordance with CSU Policy & State law, prior to starting classes at SSU, entering students are required to provide copies of official records showing that they have received specific immunizations, listed below. These records are due at least four weeks before the start of the student's first semester at SSU and are to be submitted via your My Health Portal in your SSU account.

  • Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR vaccine). - Required of students born after 12/31/56. Records must show completion of TWO separate MMR shots after 12 months of age & at least one month apart.
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine - Required of entering students who will be under 19 at the time their first semester of classes begins. This requirement persists until satisfied regardless of subsequent age. Records must show completion of a series of THREE appropriately spaced Hepatitis B shots.
  • Varicella (Chickenpox) - Two (2) doses with first dose on or after 1st birthday; OR positive titer (laboratory evidence of immunity to disease- must be a quantitative/numerical result).
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) - One (1) dose after age 7.
  • Meningococcal conjugate (Serogroups A, C, Y, & W-135) - One (1) dose on or after age 16 for all students and age 21 or younger.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) -  All incoming students must complete a Tuberculosis risk questionnaire. Incoming students who are at higher risk* for TB infection, as indicated by answering “yes” to any of the screening questions, should undergo either skin or blood testing for TB infection within 1 year of CSU entry.

    *Higher risk includes travel to/or living in South & Central America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East; prior positive TB test; or exposure to someone with active TB disease.

  • COVID Vaccine  - as per California State University Guidelines, students attending Sonoma State University in the fall are required to be fully vaccinated in order to live on campus and attend classes. Students who have been partially or fully vaccinated by an approved COVID 19 vaccine, administered either in the US or their home country, should bring their proof of vaccination with them. It may be required to submit these records in the future.  

Students who are unable to locate official immunization records may send copies of laboratory blood tests with results that indicate they are immune to the diseases prevented by the required vaccines. Students who fail to meet pre-enrollment compliance deadlines for immunization requirements, a HOLD will be placed on the student's ability to register for future classes