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Health Matters 

Overview of health insurance coverage

James Madison University requires all students and scholars on an F or J visa to have health insurance coverage. International Student & Scholar Services offers a comprehensive health insurance plan through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). The details of CISI coverage are listed in the CISI policy brochure

The health insurance coverage will run for a full calendar year and begins on August 15*.

The cost for health insurance is $643.86 each fall & spring semester*. This charge is added to the tuition & fees bill through the University Business Office. For questions on how to pay this bill, contact the UBO:

Students and scholars will receive an email from CISI Enrollments with their insurance card and enrollment letter. Look for an email from in your inbox – check your junk/spam folder if you can’t find it.

All students and scholars insured by CISI have access to an online health insurance portal where you can find your health insurance card, track medical claim & reimbursement status, research doctors for medical care, and access other benefits provided by CISI. You can access the portal on the CISI website by clicking on "create an account" This PDF document has step by step instructions for how to create and access the online portal: access CISI online portal.

If you currently hold an insurance policy that provides equal levels of coverage and lasts for the entire academic year*, you may qualify to waive out of the JMU-sponsored health insurance plan through CISI. If you wish to apply for a waiver, you must complete an insurance waiver application. See the health insurance waiver page for more information.

*Exceptions for J-1 scholars with differing program dates. See here for more information:

Why mandatory health insurance?

Unlike many other countries, the United States does not have universal (government-funded) health care. The 2010 Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have health insurance coverage. Having health insurance protects students and scholars from excessively high costs of medical care in the event of minor or major health concerns.

This video offers a good introduction to health care in the United States:

What to do in the event of illness or injury?

The first stop for illness and minor injuries should be the University Health Center. JMU has a full-service, on-campus health center available, which is available to all full-time and part-time students.   

The Health Center offers appointments with doctors and/or nurses, immunizations, allergy medications, prescriptions, nutrition information, a pharmacy, and many other medical services. See more information on their website:

For routine or specialized care, you can also make an appointment with a local doctor, either a general practitioner or a specialist. To find a doctor who is in network for CISI, you can begin your search here:

Using the CISI online portal is also a good way to find doctors in the area. See instructions above for accessing the online portal.

This document provides more information for seeking health care while at JMU: Seeking medical care


Important note about the Emergency Room at a Hospital

Emergency rooms in the United States are intended for serious, possibly life-threatening injuries or illnesses. Students should NOT visit the emergency room for minor or moderate health care concerns.

If you visit the emergency room and you are not admitted for care, you will be responsible for the $500 payment for the ER visit.  See the CISI policy brochure for details, or contact for clarification on this important point of coverage.

If you need health care outside of open hours of the University Health Center or local doctor offices, you can visit one of the urgent care facilities in town:


755 Martin Luther King Jr. Highway 

Phone: 540-432-9969

Valley Urgent Care

119 B University Ave

Phone:  540-434-5709


How to submit a medical expense to CISI

Once a medical expense is incurred, students and scholars can submit a copy of the medical bill to CISI with a completed medical claim form. If you have already paid the expense, you will need to submit a receipt of payment with a completed claim form to CISI for reimbursement. Remember to save your receipts!

You can submit your claim form and accompanying documents to CISI by scanning and emailing to:, or by mailing the documents to the address listed on the claim form.

If you do not know how to send a letter by mail in the US, this webpage offers some instructions:

To check what medical procedures are covered under CISI, read the policy brochure carefully. If you still have questions, you can contact ISSS:, (540) 568-6119 or contact CISI directly:, (203) 399-5130.