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Medical Insurance

Your health and wellness are important to us.

Duke's international students have access to a multitude of resources both on and off campus to support their wellbeing. We encourage all students to be well versed in the American health insurance system to ease your transition to campus.

All Duke students are required to pay the Student Health Fee. This entitles the student to receive medical care at the Duke Student Wellness Center located at 305 Towerview Drive, West Campus. Currently, you must call the Student Wellness Center to make an appointment. Tel. 919.681.9355. Select Option 2.

Student Wellness Center Hours: Monday - Thursday 9am – 5pm. Friday 9am – 4pm. Closed Saturdays and Sundays. There is a pharmacy located in the Student Wellness Building. There is also a dental office, counseling center, nutrition services, meditation space, and much more! Click here to learn more about all the services covered. 

Find the Wellness Center

In addition to the Student Health fee, all international students are required to enroll in the Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP) Student Blue. Student Blue is underwritten by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). The plan provides quality health insurance to meet any additional medical needs of university students not covered by the Duke Student Health Fee. Blue Cross/Blue Shield gives you access to one of the largest provider networks in the United States. Should you have any questions about the Duke Student Health Insurance plan, please write to: 

The U.S. medical system is not only very complicated but also very expensive. For example, an appointment with a specialist doctor costs around $400 a visit. A minor surgery at the local hospital can easily cost thousands of dollars, with charges from the hospital, the doctors, the surgery itself, and all follow-up. Thus, even though the monthly health insurance fees are quite costly, it is vital that you (and your family) have health insurance throughout your time here.

If you are a new student with questions about immunizations, the difference between the Student Health Fee and the Student Medical Insurance Plan, or other queries please click here. For answers to frequently asked health insurance questions, do view the FAQs.

Student Blue Insurance Card 

Insurance cards are mailed to the mailing address listed in Duke Hub as of August 1st. If you need an additional insurance card you can call Student Blue (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina) at 1-800-579-8022. Please verify your mailing address at that time. 

Students with a non-US based mailing address will have their ID cards mailed to the default address at Student Health. 305 Towerview Dr, Durham, NC 27710. Please stop by the Student Wellness Center to pick up your card. We suggest putting your insurance card in your wallet to carry with you at all times. 

If you have questions or concerns about insurance contact the Duke University Student Insurance Team: 

Student Eye Care

Student Blue covers one “in-network” eye exam per benefit year. The Student Blue plan also offers partial reimbursement toward the purchase of frames, glasses, or contact lenses. For eye care options in the Durham community, click here

Student Dental Care

Dental care is also expensive in the United States. Student Blue does not cover dental services. You can purchase dental insurance through Blue Cross/Blue ShieldCampus Smiles Dental Office is an independent affiliate of Duke that provides dental services to the greater Duke community including students, faculty, and staff, and offers discounted dental services. Call or stop by to find out more information. Click here to find more dental options in the Durham community. 

F-2 Visa Holders: Dependents of DUKE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS 

The Duke International Student Center (DISC) STRONGLY recommends that all F-2 dependents purchase health insurance. Student Blue offers a comprehensive Family Health insurance plan through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina. To enroll dependents in the Student Blue Dependent Insurance plan click here.

Remember, only students can be seen at the Duke University Student Health Center. For help locating a doctor in the Durham or Chapel Hill community click here.

Duke University or Medical Center paid employees should qualify for Duke Employee Medical Insurance. If you are not sure if you qualify, contact your host department's business manager. If you are eligible, there are four different health insurance plans to choose from. Payment is made by monthly pre-tax deductions from your paycheck. We recommend that Duke employees enroll their dependents in one of the Duke Employee Health Insurance plans.

For those on a J-1 visa, it is mandated that you have Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains insurance. The Duke Employee Medical Insurance DOES NOT cover either of these. Therefore, you will need to enroll in an additional insurance plan for this specific coverage. 

International SOS health insurance offers coverage for Repatriation of Remains and Medical Evacuation. The website can be a bit tricky to maneuver so you can obtain instructions here.

All J-visa holders are mandated by the US State Dept. to have health insurance that meets specific requirements. The Geo Blue Health Insurance Plan continues to be Duke’s preferred health insurance plan for Duke University Sponsored Exchange Visitors. For more information about Geo Blue click here. Remember to use the Group Access Code LIZ-38528 on the right side of the home page. 

If you have a health insurance policy that meets the J-visa holder requirements that you would prefer to use instead of GeoBlue, you can request a waiver. To submit a waiver requesting to use your health insurance plan as an alternate to GeoBlue, follow this link to the Waiver Request Form. 

Please note that if you willfully fail to purchase health insurance for yourself and your dependents, your J-1 sponsor must terminate you from your program and report the termination to the Exchange Visitor Program at the United States Department of State. 

Questions? Concerns? Confused? Duke International Student Center staff are here to respond to queries and help you to clarify. No question is too small or insignificant. Write to us at or call 919.684.3585.