SHIP Waiver FAQs

SHIP Waiver FAQs

Why did I get charged for a "health insurance fee" on my CalCentral statement? I didn't ask for health insurance.

All registered* students at the University of California are required to meet the university’s health insurance mandate as set by the UC Regents. Registered* UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students are automatically enrolled in the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) as a way to meet this mandate. SHIP premiums are charged as part of registration fees. 

*Registered students refers to students registered in programs eligible for SHIP. See the SHIP Fees and Enrollment for more details on who is eligible to enroll in SHIP.

What do I do if I already have health insurance and I don't need the insurance offered by UC Berkeley?

If you have other major medical health insurance that meets the SHIP waiver criteria and do not wish to have dual coverage, you can submit an online waiver application to waive your enrollment in SHIP and receive a credit for the health insurance fee.

What are the requirements for waiving out of SHIP?

To waive SHIP, you must be enrolled in a medical health insurance plan that meets ALL of the waiver criteria for the entire SHIP term (Fall semester: August 1-December 31, Spring semester: January 1-July 31).

How do I apply for a waiver?

An online waiver application is available for Berkeley students. To complete the form, you will need your student ID number and details about your health insurance plan, including the company name and phone number, group number, the student's policy identification number, the policy holder's relationship to the student, and the summary of benefits. Please use the waiver worksheet to gather this information in advance of using the online waiver tool, as you will only be able to submit the waiver application one time (even if you make a mistake). You will receive a confirmation number upon completion of the online waiver application. Save or print the confirmation page for your records.

What are the deadlines for submitting a waiver?

Fall 2023: The Fall 2023 waiver period is from May 1, 2023 to July 17, 2023. Waivers must be received by July 17, 2023 to avoid a late fee of $75. All waivers received between July 18, 2023 and August 15, 2023 will be subject to a late fee of $75. No waivers will be accepted after August 15, 2023.

Spring 2024: The Spring 2024 waiver period is from December 1, 2023 to January 1, 2024. Waivers must be received by January 1, 2024 to avoid a late fee of $75. All waivers received between January 2, 2024 and January 15, 2024 will be subject to a late fee of $75. No Spring waivers will be accepted after January 15, 2024.

What are the waiver deadlines for students in Special Summer Programs?

Please visit Special Summer Programs

Special Summer Programs include: 
  • Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) - incoming March class only
  • Master of Laws (Executive Track LLM)
  • Incoming students in the following programs:
    • Master of Public Affairs (MPA)
    • Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
    • Master of Real Estate Development + Design (MRED+D)
    • Master of Urban Design (MUD)
    • 11-month Master of Public Health (MPH)
    • Master of Biotechnology
    • Master of Advanced Study in Engineering (Online Program)

What options do I have if my waiver is denied?

If you have submitted your online waiver and it was denied, you may submit a waiver appeal if you believe your insurance does meet the criteria. Your appeal must be submitted within 10 business days for your waiver to be considered. You must have already completed the online waiver and received a denial to use this form.

To securely submit your SHIP Waiver Appeal, follow the instructions below: 

  • Log in to the eTang portal with your Calnet ID and passphrase.
  • From the welcome page, click "MESSAGES" on the left side menu.
  • Click "New Message".
  • Under "Student Health Insurance Office (SHIO)", select "Request Student Insurance Plan (SHIP) Waiver Forms".
  • Select "SHIP Appeal Form".
  • Fill out the form completely and click the "Send" button.

Note: 

  • You may need to complete the Notice of Privacy Practice before proceeding to the appeal form. Please go to the home page and click on "Medical Clearances" on the left to complete this form and then follow the instructions above.
  • If you do not receive a response to your appeal within 30 days, please contact the insurance office at (510) 642-5700 or ship@berkeley.edu. Please note, that you may be contacted via secure message in the eTang patient portal if additional documentation is needed to process your appeal. 

My waiver was approved. When will the credit appear on my CalCentral account?

The credit for the SHIP fee will appear on your CalCentral account within five days from the date your waiver was approved. If you do not see this credit within five days, contact the SHIP office at (510) 642-5700, email ship@berkeley.edu, or send a secure message through the eTang portal

Do I have to submit a separate waiver every semester?

No. Academic year waivers approved for the Fall are automatically approved for the following Spring semester only. If you were unable to submit a waiver application for the Fall, you will have an opportunity to submit a waiver for the Spring semester only. If you submitted a waiver for the Spring semester only, you must also submit an academic-year waiver for the next school year to continue to receive the health insurance fee credit. Approved Spring waivers are valid for the Spring semester only.

I submitted a waiver for the academic year and received the credit for the Fall semester. When will I receive the credit for the Spring semester?

The credit for the SHIP fee will appear in CalCentral beginning in mid-December. 

My waiver was approved. Will the SHIP office audit my waiver?

To ensure students have adequate health insurance, the SHIP office audits up to 25% of all waiver applications, including all Medi-Cal, HMO, and international plans. Waiver audits may occur anytime throughout the academic year. 

We audit the insurance plan submitted on your waiver application and we may contact your insurance company to verify benefits and coverage information. If the insurance information provided on your waiver application is found to be inaccurate, invalid, or does not meet the waiver requirements, your waiver will be canceled without the opportunity to make changes or appeal (including submitting documentation for a new plan). The full premium will be billed to your CalCentral account and you will be enrolled on SHIP. Communication will be sent to you by secure message through the eTang portal and you will receive an email notification.

My waiver was approved but I have a new insurance plan. Do I need to submit a new waiver?

No. However, you are required to report any changes to the SHIP office by sending a secure message through the eTang portal. In the message, include a copy of your new insurance card (front and back). If additional information or documentation is needed, we will reach out to you. We will confirm if your new insurance plan meets the waiver criteria. If your new plan does satisfy all the requirements, you will continue to be waived out of SHIP for the remaining academic year. If your plan does not satisfy all the requirements, your waiver will be canceled and you will be enrolled on SHIP.

I submitted a waiver but now I no longer have other insurance. How can I get covered under the Student Health Insurance Plan?

Please submit a waiver reversal by following the instructions below:

  • Log in to the eTang portal with your Calnet ID and passphrase.
  • From the welcome page, click "MESSAGES" on the left side menu. 
  • Click "New Message". 
  • Under "Student Health Insurance Office (SHIO)", select "Request Student Insurance Plan (SHIP) Waiver Forms".
  • Select "SHIP Waiver REVERSAL Form".
  • Fill out the form completely and click the "Send" button.
Note: 
  • You may need to complete the Notice of Privacy Practice before proceeding to the appeal form. Please go to the home page and click on "Medical Clearances" on the left to complete this form and then follow the instructions above.
  • You may be asked for verification from your former insurance company stating the date your coverage ended.

If I waive SHIP can I still use the University Health Services at the Tang Center?

Yes, all registered UC Berkeley students can be seen at the University Health Services, regardless of the type of insurance they have.

I have a problem with my waiver. Who can I talk to about it?

Contact the Student Health Insurance Office at (510) 642-5700, ship@berkeley.edu, or currently enrolled students can send a secure message to the SHIP office via the eTang portal.

The ASUC Student Advocate's Office is a student-run office that provides free and confidential advice and representation to students who experience issues or conflicts with the university. If after contacting the SHIP office, you would like additional support regarding SHIP, completing waiver appeals, or billing, please contact them at (510) 642-6912 or help@sao.asuc.org.

SHIP Waiver FAQs for Medi-Cal Recipients

If You Plan To Keep Medi-Cal and Waive SHIP

First, make sure that your insurance provides coverage for non-emergency medical care within 50 miles of UC Berkeley. Avoid having your waiver denied and take the necessary steps now to make sure that you have the necessary coverage before you need to use it.

Get started on this process as soon as possible, especially if you need to transfer your Medi-Cal to a different county. Your waiver cannot be approved until your Medi-Cal coverage is active AND has assigned a primary care physician that provides non-emergency coverage in the Berkeley area prior to the start of the semester. 

Which county is Medi-Cal sufficient to waive out of Berkeley SHIP?

The following county Medi-Cal programs can waive out of SHIP:
  • Alameda  
  • Contra Costa
  • Marin 
  • San Francisco 
  • San Mateo
  • Santa Clara
If your assigned Medi-Cal provider is not from one of these counties, but is within 50 miles of campus, please contact the SHIP Office to discuss your individual waiver eligibility.  

How do I change my Medi-Cal county if I already have Medi-Cal?

Contact the Department of Health and Human Services in the county where your Medi-Cal was obtained. Explain you are attending college at UC Berkeley and may reside in your home county during vacations and school breaks. Please note it may take 30 days or more for your change request to be processed.

When a family informs their county that the Medi-Cal beneficiary attends college outside of the family’s residence county, the county should update only the student’s address and enter the new residence county information into the Statewide Automated Welfare System (SAWS) and the Medi-Cal Eligibility Data System (MEDS). This action will trigger the discontinuance of the student’s current health plan in the family’s residence county. You should then receive a package with information and steps on how to select a medical plan near Berkeley or you may call Medi-Cal Healthcare Options at (800) 430-4263 to complete the medical plan selection and provider assignment process.  

During the new plan selection and enrollment process in the new county, students can continue to use the same Benefits Identification Card to obtain health care services and have access to Fee-for-Service Medi-Cal providers only until the new health plan enrollment is completed. Please note, locating a Fee-for-Service Medi-Cal provider, who is accepting new patients, may be difficult

What if I want to apply for Medi-Cal but haven’t yet?

Your Medi-Cal must be active in a county within 50 miles of campus and have an assigned primary care provider on or before August 1 (for Fall waivers) or January 1 (for new Spring waivers). To determine Medi-Cal eligibility, please visit My Benefits California or contact the California statewide Medi-Cal office at (800) 541-5555. 

How do I contact Medi-Cal?

You may find these external contacts helpful:

Can I use Medi-Cal to pay for services at the Tang Center?

All eligible registered students may receive services at University Health Services (UHS). However, you will be charged for services and UHS will not bill Medi-Cal. Please be advised, that in most circumstances, Medi-Cal will not reimburse for care received at Tang.

Pell Grant and Dream Aid recipients are eligible for the Health Opportunity Fund to help offset some expenses at Tang. Please note this is not tied to insurance plans, but to fees for services within the Tang Center (excluding Optometry).  

Why should I keep SHIP if I have Medi-Cal?

Financial Aid often covers or sets aside money strictly used for SHIP fees. Before applying for a waiver, please inquire with Cal Student Central at (510) 664-9181 to find out if SHIP is or can be included in your FinAid package. If SHIP is included and you waive out, your financial aid package will be adjusted and you will not be allowed to use the aid towards other fees.  Please carefully consider your decision to waive. 

Please note, that while all eligible registered students may use the Tang Center (UHS) for services, UHS does not bill Medi-Cal and Medi-Cal is unlikely to reimburse you for services provided at Tang. 

What if I don’t change my Medi-Cal county to be within 50 miles of campus?

We audit up to 25% of waivers, including all Medi-Cal and HMO plans. If you are using Medi-Cal as an alternate plan, you must submit a local Medi-Cal insurance card and a local assigned primary care provider must be listed on the card or a Kaiser insurance card from Northern California. All students who have not been assigned a local Medi-Cal provider or are still in the process of transferring counties will be enrolled in SHIP without the opportunity to appeal. There is no proration for students added to SHIP in the middle of the semester. 

What if my Medi-Cal gets terminated?

If your Medi-Cal is terminated, you may enroll in SHIP at any time during the semester. Please complete a waiver reversal via the eTang portal

Can I keep both SHIP and Medi-Cal?

As Medi-Cal is the insurer of last resort, it is possible that Medi-Cal may discontinue your benefits if you choose to keep SHIP. No action is necessary if you choose to keep both SHIP and your Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal will be secondary to SHIP as long as Medi-Cal agrees to continue providing coverage.  

Will financial aid pay for SHIP if I do not waive out?

Financial Aid often covers or sets aside aid strictly used for SHIP fees. Before applying for a waiver, please inquire with Cal Student Central at (510) 664-9181 to find out if SHIP is or can be included in your FinAid package. If SHIP is included and you waive out, your financial aid package will be adjusted and you will not be allowed to use the money towards other fees. Please carefully consider your decision to waive.