Staff members at the front desk of the Colonial Health Center

Student Health Insurance

Health insurance guarantees that you can obtain necessary treatment if you develop a serious illness or injury. It also guarantees that you can obtain preventative medical services like immunizations and physical exams.

The George Washington University (GW) offers a comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) through Aetna Student Health.

In accordance with the Affordable Care Act, some of the benefits that are offered by the GW SHIP include:

  • An unlimited lifetime maximum benefit
  • Prescription coverage after $100 deductible
  • Preventative services covered at 100% (at preferred providers)
  • Contraception covered 100% (at preferred providers)

2018-2019 GW Aetna Student Health Insurance Plan Brochure


                              Fall 2018 Waiver Period Begins August 1st*                                         Fall 2018 Open Enrollment Period Begins August 1st*

                                                                                                                                                                            2017-2018 Plan Highlight Sheet

                                                Waive SHIP                                                                                      Enroll in SHIP

*The period to waive or enroll in SHIP ends September 30th

Student Health Insurance Requirement

ALL undergraduate students, medical, on-campus nursing, on-campus Health Science, and ALL international students holding a J1 or F1 visa are required to carry student health insurance while they study at GW. These students will be automatically enrolled in the GW SHIP and must submit an opt-out waiver if they have another insurance plan that meets the required criteria listed below. Those students not listed above, may volunatrily enrolle in SHIP. 

Use Your Student Health Insurance Plan

If you have GW SHIP coverage, need to see a doctor, and are within 25 miles of campus, you should first seek treatment at the Colonial Health Center (CHC).

If you are traveling, or would otherwise like to find a provider outside of the CHC that accept the GW SHIP insurance, please visit Aetna Student Health DocFind. For other situations, review your coverage details to understand your plan benefits.

For more information on the GW SHIP or on mandatory health insurance, please email [email protected] or contact the Health Insurance Coordinator, 202-994-5300, option 5.

Waive GW Student Health Insurance

If you were automatically enrolled in GW SHIP and would like to opt-out of the coverage, the waiver period for the Summer 2018 semester students begins May 1, 2018 and the deadline to waive is May 31, 2018.   Waivers are completed directly through Aetna Student Health. If you complete a waiver during the Summer 2018, your next waiver period will be in the Fall 2018 semester, August 1st - September 30th.

Be sure that your alternate insurance plan meets the waiver criteria:

  • Must be provided by a company licensed to do business in the United States, with a U.S. claims payment office and a U.S. telephone number.
  • Must be currently active and you must promise to maintain it during the entire period you are registered for the current academic school term.
  • Must provide an annual minimum of $100,000 in coverage for each accident or illness you may suffer each policy year.
  • Must include coverage for prescriptions (medications prescribed by a physician).
  • Must cover pre-existing conditions (illnesses or medical conditions that began before the effective date of the insurance coverage) with no waiting period (or the plan must have been in effect long enough that any waiting period has already passed).
  • Must cover inpatient and outpatient medical and mental health care in the Washington, DC area, including alcohol, drug abuse and detoxification treatment. Emergency-only coverage does not satisfy this requirement.
  • Must cover expenses related to self-inflicted injuries and suicide.
  • Must have a maximum deductible of $500 for international students or $1,500 for domestic students.
  • Must provide at least $50,000 for medical evacuation, which is transportation to your home country so that you can receive medical care there.
  • Must provide at least $25,000 for repatriation of remains. Repatriation provides transportation to your home country in the event of your death.

Please note that travel insurance is not eligible for an exemption or waiver.

You must be registered for classes in order to waive out of the GW SHIP. You must submit a waiver request annually, each academic year.  Waivers do not carry over from year to year. 

Subsidized GW SHIP for Graduate Assistants

Some GW graduate assistants or graduate research assistants receive subsidized funding to cover the costs of the GW SHIP. Contact your department or research advisor for more information. 

2017 - 2018 Plan Information Sheet

Please visit Aetna Student Health to enroll in the plan.

Printing Your ID Card


Please contact Aetna Customer Service, 1-800-213-0579 to request a physical card.

All students enrolled in the GW SHIP are able to print an insurance card by visiting Aetna Student Health.

Steps to Printing your Insurance Card (PDF)