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Penn State Health Insurance Requirement

Beginning fall 2019, all full-time U.S. students and all international students will be required to provide proof of health insurance that meets certain requirements, or purchase the Penn State Student Health Insurance plan (SHIP). This action must be completed annually. 

*Please note this requirement does not apply to World Campus students

Criteria for adequate health insurance
Who is required to take action?

Full-time U.S. students and all international students, including:

  • Undergraduate students enrolled in 12 or more credits
  • Law students enrolled in 12 or more credits
  • Graduate students enrolled in 9 or more credits
  • All medical students
  • International students enrolled in 1 or more credit(s)


*This includes students who are considered to be enrolled in a full-time academic load regardless of credits.

How to meet the requirement

Log on to LionPATH and select "Health Insurance." Students will be prompted to take one of the following actions.

  1. Provide proof of adequate health insurance coverage (waive) 
  2. Purchase the Penn State SHIP (enroll) after registering for classes and after the open enrollment period annually.

If no action is taken, the student will be automatically enrolled in the Penn State SHIP and the health insurance premium will be charged to their student account.

Health Insurance Requirement Frequently Asked Questions 

Do I have to purchase (enroll) in the Penn State SHIP?

No. Students are not required to purchase the Penn State SHIP. They are, however, required to provide proof of adequate health insurance coverage. The Penn State SHIP is just one option.

Acceptable plans may include:

  • U.S. Employ-Sponsored Programs
  • Coverage purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace (
  • PA Medicaid
  • Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Penn State Student Health Insurance plan (SHIP)

Plans that may not be acceptable include:

  • Closed/restrictive Health Management Organizations (HMOs)
  • Regional Health Plans
  • Out-of-State Medicaid Plans (outside of Pennsylvania)
  • Short-term health insurance plans
  • Stand-alone international insurance plans


How can I determine if my health insurance coverage meets Penn State's requirements?

Students who are unsure if their current health insurance coverage meets Penn State's requirements should contact their health insurance company. Our guide, "5 questions to ask your health insurance provider," is meant to facilitate conversations between students and their health insurance providers to ensure adequacy. 

What if I cannot afford health insurance?

Students who are concerned about the financial impact of the health insurance requirement should contact University Health Services' Health Insurance Advocate at: 
or 814-865-7467.

Some students may qualify for Medicaid or other income-based programs. The UHS Health Insurance Advocate can help students explore these options and navigate any challenges they may face in obtaining health insurance. 

Additionally, students are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Student Aid, and the Financial and Life Skills Center for resources and support.

Can my financial aid package be used to cover health insurance costs?

Yes. Students who wish to add the cost of health insurance to their financial aid package may do so by contacting the Student Aid office. More information on this process will be available soon.