Universities in Massachusetts are required to offer a Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to students, and students must either enroll in the SHIP or provide proof of comparable coverage. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard is expanding remote coursework for the Spring 2021 Term. However, the transition to remote learning will not change a School’s requirement to make a SHIP available to students or have students demonstrate comparable coverage. Students learning remotely due to COVID-19 are still considered students by law, and as such, required to have coverage in the state or country where the student will be learning for the 2021AY.  

Because the circumstances around the current pandemic continue to evolve, waivers must be completed by term. Spring 2021 waivers are currently being accepted.


Dates of Coverage Waiver Deadline Late Waiver Deadline*
Fall: August 1 - January 31 September 30 October 1 - October 31
Spring: February 1 - July 31 January 31 February 1 - March 31

*Late fee applies

Part of HUSHP Waiver Criteria
Student Health Insurance Plan
Cost: $1,961/term

Can be waived with a form of other comparable coverage health insurance

If the waiver is approved, the student will receive a credit to their student account in the full amount (before any applicable late fees).

Student Health Fee
Cost: Two-tier structure based on student's physical location

  • Student On-Campus/In Massachusetts: $603/term
  • Student Outside of Massachusetts: 50% discount, $301/term

Can only be waived in limited circumstances – see “WAIVING THE STUDENT HEALTH FEE” below.

If the waiver is approved, the student will receive a credit to their student account in the full amount (before any applicable late fees).

Waiving the Student Health Insurance Plan

It is the student’s responsibility to determine whether their coverage is comparable. Please take the time to make an informed decision using the tools and resources available to you on this website. Once you make the decision to waive, your ability to re-enroll will be limited to open enrollment periods or with a valid qualifying event (e.g. loss of other health insurance coverage).

 Per Massachusetts regulations, your coverage must:

  • Provide reasonably comprehensive health coverage throughout the school year, including preventive and primary care, emergency services, surgical services, hospitalization benefits, ambulatory patient services, mental health services, and prescription drugs; and
  • Be reasonably accessible in the area where you are located for the term 

 Your coverage cannot be:

  • Through the Health Safety Net, MassHealth Limited, or the Children's Medical Security Program
  • From an insurance carrier outside the U.S. or coverage by foreign National Health Service programs, unless you are studying outside of the United States and the insurance provides coverage in that location
  • From a health benefit plan that provides coverage through a closed network of providers, not reasonably accessible in the state in which you are located, for all but emergency services
Students Residing Student Health Insurance Plan Waiver
In the U.S. To be eligible to waive, the student must have coverage comparable in the state where they are located during their studies.
Outside of the U.S. To be eligible to waive, the student must have comparable coverage in the country where they are located during their studies.

  • Carefully read through the terms of the waiver application
  • Familiarize yourself with plan benefits through the Student Health Insurance Plan and your other coverage
  • Review the waiver checklist to ensure your coverage is comparable under state law, but also see how it compares against the Student Health Insurance Plan
  • If applicable, submit a waiver application by the deadline


A limited number of students who meet certain criteria are eligible to waive the Student Health Fee. Coverage by other health insurance coverage does not qualify as a reason to waive the Student Health Fee, even if it allows you to waive the Student Health Insurance Plan.

To be eligible to waive the Student Health Fee, the student must meet one of the criteria below:

  • Enrolled as a half-time or less student (must also waive the Student Health Insurance Plan)
  • Enrolled member of the Harvard University Group Health Plan (HUGHP); a health insurance plan available to Harvard employees and their dependents
  • A student on active military duty and prohibited from receiving health care from any facility other than Hanscom Air Force Base (requires an attestation form)

  Student Health Fee waivers will be automatically approved to help clear financial registration holds. However, all waivers will be subsequently audited with a student's school after the registration period to ensure eligibility to waive. If the student is found not to be eligible, the waiver will be denied and the charge will be placed back on the student's account. This can result in a new invoice from the University with the Student Health Fee owed as an outstanding balance.

50% Discount for Students Studying Outside of Massachusetts 

The mandatory Student Health Fee associated for the coming year will be $603 per term for those living in Massachusetts. Because students living outside Massachusetts will have limited physical access to HUHS clinics, HUHS is granting a 50% discount, resulting in a charge of $301 per term for these students. The fee is applied once per semester. As a result, a student living outside Massachusetts in the fall would pay the discounted rate for the first semester. If that student returned to Massachusetts in the spring, they would pay the full rate for the second semester. 

How Do I Obtain the 50% Discount?

Students will initially be assessed the full charge and then the discount will be automatically added to student accounts once they provide a new ‘Physical Location’ address to the University. Students will have a deadline of February 28 to submit the address in order to receive the discount for the spring semester. Instructions for updating the ‘Physical Location' address by school are listed below:

Harvard Business School Students should update their 'Physical Location' address on their classcard.
Harvard Law School All students (JD, LLM, SJD, and visiting students) should update their ‘Physical Location’ address in Helios.
All Other Schools Students should update their ‘Physical Location’ address in my.harvard:
  • Complete the ‘Physical Location Address’ To-Do Item from the student home screen, or;
  • Navigate to Student Home, select the Personal Information tab, choose Edit Addresses, and add your physical location address. 

Coverage Away from Home

Not all plans offer coverage for services reasonably accessible to you in Massachusetts. Although your other insurance may meet the definition of comparable coverage, we recommend you review the Waiver Checklist to help you assess whether your insurance would provide coverage for you while away from home.

Keeping your insurance and the Harvard Student Health InSURANCE Plan?

When you are enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan and another health insurance plan, the Student Health Insurance Plan is always a secondary payer. This means that all claims are processed first through your other insurance and then processed by the Student Health Insurance Plan. To avoid any claims issues, please notify your providers of both plans. Please contact BCBS Coordination of Benefits at (888) 799-1888 for more information.

How do I update my alternate insurance online?

  1. Log in to the student insurance portal
  2. Select "Waive coverage"
  3. Select "Student Health Insurance Plan"
  4. Click the "Update information" link
  5. Select "I have a new insurance company" 

Waiver Q&A Webinar

Listen to the recorded webinar to get answers to the most frequently asked questions. Open Waiver Q&A Webinar.