Student Health Insurance Policy
The University requires all registered students to carry adequate health insurance to cover, among other costs, hospitalization and outpatient diagnostic, testing and surgical procedures. Additionally, the insurance must cover medical care provided in the Chicago area for both emergency and routine, non-emergency medical situations (or, if the student will not be in Chicago, it must provide this coverage wherever the student will be residing and studying during the academic year). In keeping with this requirement, each year all students registered in an insurance-required program are enrolled in the University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP). Students wishing to waive out of U-SHIP coverage must affirm possession of alternate comparable coverage before the enrollment/waiver deadline. Students who do not enroll in or waive the student insurance plan by the deadline will by default be enrolled in U-SHIP and remain enrolled in U-SHIP through the end of the plan year, and thus will be responsible for the annual premium, which is billed quarterly.
The information below pertains to University policy, based in part on requirements set forth by the insurance provider. However, the information below is not fully exhaustive of policies set forth by the insurance provider. Detailed information about the U-SHIP plan, including full policy details as set forth by the insurance provider, can be found at: http://wellness.uchicago.edu/page/student-health-insurance
The University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP) generally is available to all registered students enrolled in programs that convene in the Hyde Park Campus, and their spouse or domestic partner, and dependent child(ren). Students in a few designated programs may be ineligible for coverage under U-SHIP. For additional information on specific University programs of study that are ineligible for insurance coverage under U-SHIP, students should contact their area Dean of Students or the Registrar.
Plan Periods and Premiums
The U-SHIP plan is an annual plan, dependent on quarterly student enrollment status. The plan year runs from September 1 – August 31. The period in which a student is enrolled in U-SHIP is determined by the first quarter a student is actively registered at the University, each academic year (for most students, this is Autumn Quarter), as follows:
- For students whose first quarter of registration is Autumn, the plan period runs from September 1 through August 31 of the following year.
- For students whose first quarter of registration is Winter, the plan period runs from January 1 – August 31.
- For students whose first quarter of registration is Spring, the plan period runs from the first day of Spring Quarter through August 31.
- For students whose first quarter of registration is Summer, the plan period runs from the first day of Summer Quarter through August 31.
Premiums are billed in three installments, generally on the Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarterly bills. Regardless of which quarter a student enters the University, the Spring Quarter premium provides coverage from the start of Spring Quarter through August 31. Students whose first quarter of enrollment is Summer Quarter will be billed for that period’s premium on their Summer bill.
It should be noted that students in insurance-required programs are assessed a Student Life Fee each quarter which provides access to Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS), from where students on U-SHIP must obtain referrals to seek care (per condition, not per visit) outside of SHCS. Without a referral, a $50 non-referral fee will be reflected on the student’s U-SHIP bill for each appointment provided outside of SHCS. Exception: If a student is residing more than 50 miles from the Hyde Park campus, a referral from SHCS is not required.
For more information on the referral requirement, please refer to the U-SHIP plan brochure at: https://wellness.uchicago.edu/page/u-ship-overview
For more information on quarterly fees, including the Student Life fee as well as summer access to SHCS, visit: http://studentmanual.uchicago.edu/fees
Enrollment/Waiver Deadline and Automatic Enrollment
The deadline to add dependents or waive U-SHIP is 5 p.m. Central time on Friday of the third week of the student's first quarter of registration each academic year (typically Autumn Quarter).
Students who do not enroll in or waive U-SHIP coverage by the waiver deadline will be automatically enrolled in U-SHIP by default, will remain in U-SHIP for the remainder of the plan year, and will be responsible for the full cost of the insurance premium. This default enrollment is binding for the entire plan year.
Students approved to register as a student after the insurance deadline must submit a manual insurance enrollment/waiver application within 10 days of registration if they wish to waive U-SHIP coverage. Failure to do so will result in the student remaining enrolled in U-SHIP coverage for the remainder of the plan year.
For more information about enrollment and waiver requirements visit https://wellness.uchicago.edu/page/u-ship-waiver-information.
A student who wishes to waive U-SHIP must provide proof of comparable coverage that meets University requirements and must show that the coverage is valid for the entire academic year (September 1 – August 31). Students who wish to waive U-SHIP must do so each academic year. Waivers are subject to audit by the University to ensure the plan meets comparable coverage requirements.
The decision to enroll (including automatic enrollment by default) or waive U-SHIP coverage is binding for the remaining plan year, with the following exceptions:
- Students who graduate at the end of Autumn or Winter quarters will have their U-SHIP coverage terminated at the conclusion of the quarter in which they graduate. (See below for information on continuation coverage.)
- Students who are no longer actively registered in their program will have their U-SHIP coverage terminated at the conclusion of the last quarter in which they were actively enrolled in their program. (See below for information on continuation coverage.)
However, any student who made a claim on their U-SHIP plan during a particular quarter must remain in U-SHIP for the remainder of that quarter, regardless of when their ineligibility becomes effective. U-SHIP premiums are non-refundable if a student has made claims on the plan at any point during that quarter, nor are premiums pro-ratable.
In certain special cases it may be necessary to change health insurance coverage during the middle of the plan year (“mid-year change”). Specific circumstances that may qualify for a change in insurance enrollment in the middle of the plan year include:
- Loss of existing health insurance coverage (i.e., aging-off a parent’s plan; parent/spouse terminating a job)
- Addition or loss of health insurance coverage as a result of a change in employment
- Change in coverage as a result of marriage/divorce or change in domestic partnership status
- Need to add coverage due to the birth/adoption of a child
- Recent immigration of a dependent spouse/partner or children
Petitions to add or waive coverage must be made within 31 days of the qualifying life event noted above. If moving from U-SHIP to an alternate plan, that plan must meet the University’s comparable coverage requirements that are set for each academic year.
Approved mid-year petitions to add coverage become effective on the day the previous insurance terminates, or the day after the post-mark date of the petition, whichever is later. Students will be responsible for the full premium for the quarter in which the changed coverage takes effect. The premium is not pro-rated.
Further information on mid-year changes can be found at: https://wellness.uchicago.edu/page/mid-year-changes-2016-2017
Students on Medical Leaves of Absence
Students participating in U-SHIP who take an approved leave of absence for medical reasons (MLOA) may continue coverage in U-SHIP for four (4) quarters maximum while on a MLOA. If the MLOA crosses academic years, insurance coverage may be provided that crosses two separate plan years at the premium rates in effect during those plan periods (i.e., MLOA extending from Spring Quarter through following Winter Quarter). If the MLOA crosses academic years, the program administrator should make sure the MLOA is recorded in AIS for the new year, and the student must take action to enroll in U-SHIP for the new plan year before the current coverage is terminated (August 31) so that there is no break in U-SHIP coverage while on the MLOA.
Withdrawals and Non-Medical Leaves of Absence
Students who withdraw, take an approved leave of absence (LOA), or otherwise are not actively registered in their program of study are ineligible to remain covered under U-SHIP (with the exception of students taking a Parental Relief Leave of Absence, which need not affect U-SHIP coverage, or those on a Medical Leave of Absence as described below).
If a student’s registration status is changed to LOA at any point after 5 p.m. Central time on Friday of the third week of the quarter and the student was covered by U-SHIP up to the date of the leave, then even though the LOA is backdated effective to the start of the quarter, U-SHIP coverage will remain in place through the end of the quarter in which the LOA was processed, with any assessment for premium remaining in effect.
Furthermore, any student who made a claim on their U-SHIP plan during a particular quarter must remain in U-SHIP for the remainder of that quarter, regardless of when the leave of absence or ineligibility becomes effective. U-SHIP premiums are non-refundable if a student has made claims on the plan at any point during that quarter, nor are premiums pro-ratable.
Upon termination of U-SHIP coverage, if a student was enrolled in U-SHIP for at least six (6) consecutive months prior to termination, that student is eligible to enroll in "continuation coverage" for up to three (3) months (form available here: https://wellness.uchicago.edu/page/insurance-forms-resources). Application is required directly through the insurance provider and may be facilitated by the on-campus insurance coordinators, located in the Woodlawn Social Services Center, Room 368/370. Application and payment must be made within 31 days from the end of prior U-SHIP coverage.
Due to the nature of the programs below, students in these programs do not go through the same U-SHIP enrollment/waiver process and will not by default be enrolled in U-SHIP. However, students in these programs may opt-in to U-SHIP by purchasing coverage directly through UnitedHealthcare:
- Booth School evening and part-time programs
- Social Service Administration evening and post-Masters certificate programs
Graham School of Continuing Studies (following programs only):
- Master of Liberal Arts
- Master of Science in Analytics
- Master of Science in Threat and Response Management
- Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics
Students in these programs are not assessed the Student Life Fee and thus are not eligible to visit the Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service for a referral. Students who opt-in to U-SHIP are not required to receive a referral from SHCS prior to visiting a provider, and are not charged the $50 non-referral fee.