University of Mississippi
Office of International Programs

Health Care, Insurance and Services in the United States

As an international student, scholar, or employee you have invested a considerable amount of time, energy and money to come to the United States to study. A major medical problem could be unexpected and costly for you. It is for this reason that all international students, scholars and faculty must ensure that they have proper health insurance.

The University of Mississippi requires all international students to maintain health insurance coverage as a condition of enrollment and maintenance of status. In addition, all dependent family members of J-1 Visa holders are required by federal regulation to have health insurance at all times while in the United States. Failure to maintain the required health insurance will result in release from the University of Mississippi and the requirement that you leave the United States immediately.

All international students will be enrolled in the health insurance program made available through the university (AETNA). It is important to read the brochure (retrievable at the UM Aetna Student Health website) describing what is and is not covered. Participation is mandatory for all international students except Permanent Residents and H1B visa holders. Exemptions may be considered on the basis of stated exemption requirements. For further information on the university health insurance policy for international students or exemption requirements, please contact the Office of International Programs at

Health Care Information

Medical Care Procedures

    When you visit a doctor’s office, a member of the doctor's staff will ask you for a medical history before you are examined.  The purpose of this is to obtain background information needed to treat you and to determine if there are any medications which should not be used.  When asked to complete the history, be as exact and honest as possible, as these records will be used to determine your treatment.  Medical records are private information, and cannot be released without your explicit permission. 

    Never pretend you are another person when you go to the doctor's office or use another person’s insurance card.  This is an extremely dangerous practice.  Using someone else’s insurance and medical information may lead to you being treated based upon someone else's medical history and medical facts, and it could severely injure or even kill you if the wrong medical care is given.  Using another person’s identity for insurance purposes is a felony known as insurance fraud, and may be punishable with jail time, hefty fines, and may also carry serious immigration consequences.

Health Insurance Information

Student Health Insurance Requirement

    All international students at the University of Mississippi are automatically enrolled in a mandatory, comprehensive accident and illness insurance program and the charge for the insurance is billed directly to the student’s Bursar bill. The international health insurance offered through the University of Mississippi exceeds all minimum requirements listed by the Department of State. For information about the student health insurance policy visit the UM Aetna Student Health website. Information on insurance and the University Student Health Service will be given during orientation.

    For dependents of F-1 students, coverage is not mandatory, though it is strongly encouraged. It is not uncommon for hospital stays to cost many thousands of dollars without the benefit of health insurance. Coverage for dependents of J-1 students is mandatory.


    For information about the student health insurance policy and about health care services available in Oxford, scroll down to the Health Services Information Section.

J-1 Visa Health Insurance Requirement

    The U.S. Department of State and the Exchange Visitor Program requires that all persons in J-1 or J-2 status have health insurance that meets the following minimum requirements:

    • medical benefits of at least $50,000 per person per accident or illness
    • repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
    • expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $10,000
    • does not have a deductible that exceeds $500 per accident or illness

    J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors must maintain the health insurance during the entire duration of their program. Persons who willfully fail to maintain coverage are subject to termination from the program.

Visiting Scholar/Professor Insurance

    J-1 Scholar Researcher/Professors who are paid by the University of Mississippi and are full-time employees for periods longer than four months are eligible for health insurance through the University of Mississippi with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Mississippi. The Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Mississippi health insurance offered through the University of Mississippi exceeds the minimum requirements listed by the Department of State for medical benefits, but the insurance does not provide coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains, nor does it provide sufficient deductible requirements.

    Any J-1 Scholar who receives health insurance through the University of Mississippi Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan must purchase separate insurance coverage. In addition, any J-1 Scholar whose funding is from personal funds or a source other than the University will need to purchase health insurance that meets the minimum requirements. The health insurance plan used by University of Mississippi students and scholars may be purchased upon arrival for both themselves and any J-2 dependents. The international health insurance offered through the Office of International Programs for students and scholars exceeds all minimum requirements listed by the Department of State.

    For information about the student health insurance policy visit the UM Aetna Student Health website. For more information about health care services available in Oxford, scroll down to the Health Services Information Section.

    It is important for anyone in J-status who is taking classes to make sure that they are being billed properly for their health insurance during the first week of each semester. Also, J-1 Scholars and Professors who are taking classes for benefits will be billed for health insurance just like any other student, even if they have health insurance through Human Resources. It is possible to remove charges for student health insurance for full-time employees such as J-1 Scholars and Researchers, but someone seeking to remove the student health insurance charge must come to the Office of International Programs to take make sure a waiver of the insurance is submitted. After the last day to register for classes, the Office of International Programs will not be able to make any corrections or changes to a student’s health insurance or Bursar bill.


Health Services Information

Student Health Center

    Most students’ and employees’ first choice for non-emergency health care will be the Student Health Services Center located on campus at the V.B. Harrison building. Student Health Services is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For more information visit: The Student Health Services Center

Local Health Care Facilities

    Oxford has two general clinics that you can use if the University Student Health Services is closed. These two clinics provide affordable health care. It is much more cost effective to choose one of the two clinics listed below if your health emergency is not severe or life threatening rather than going to the Emergency Room at Baptist Memorial Hospital. Helpful information for the clinics is listed below.

    LOCATION: 2200 South Lamar Boulevard, Suite A, Oxford
    TELEPHONE: 234-1977
    Walk-Ins Welcome. No Appointments Necessary

    HOURS: Monday through Friday : 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Sunday: 1:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

    TREATMENTS: Minor Emergencies
    Annual physical exam
    Acute & chronic health conditions
    Women’s health conditions
    High blood pressure/diabetes

    LOCATION: 1487 Belk Boulevard, Oxford
    TELEPHONE: 234-1090
    Walk-Ins Welcome. No Appointments Necessary

    HOURS: Monday through Friday: 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
    Saturday: 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
    Sunday: 12:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

    TREATMENTS: General Practice Medicine
    Health Screening, Laboratory Tests
    Physical Examinations, X-Rays

    2301 South Lamar, Oxford
    EMERGENCY ROOM: 232-8175

Other Health Insurance Considerations

    Medications and Prescriptions

    If you are seen by a doctor, you may be given a prescription for medications to help you recover from illness or injury.  When you are given this, it needs to be filled by a licensed pharmacist.  Be sure you understand the medication's possible side effects, what you should and should not eat and/or drink with the medication, and how often you are to take it.  Never exceed the recommended dosage of any medication.

    Dental and Vision Care

    Dental and Vision care is separate from medical care in this country, and most health insurance does not cover dental or optological procedures.  Separate dental and vision insurance must be obtained for dental or vision coverage.  Employees of the University can purchase dental insurance through Human Resources. Vision or eye-care insurance can be purchased from a variety of insurance companies found online.

Counseling Services

    The University Counseling Center offers students and their families free personal counseling.  In the United States, we believe in talking about our problems to others, especially professionals, who can help us, and it is not considered a sign of weakness.  If you find that you are having problems you cannot deal with such as stress, relationship problems, or depression, please consider seeing one of the licensed professionals at the Counseling Center.  Counseling records are entirely confidential and will in no way affect your stay at the University or in the United States.  Such records are released only with your written permission.

    The Counseling Center is located in building number 59 on your campus map directly between Bishop Hall and the Tad Smith Coliseum.  You may reach the center by calling 915-3784 or visiting their website