Should I waive SHIP?

Should I Waive SHIP?

Here are some important things to know about health insurance at UC Berkeley:

  1. All eligible UC Berkeley students are required to have medical insurance that meets the University's requirements.
  2. All students are automatically enrolled in SHIP to meet that requirement -- see the SHIP benefits
  3. If you have comparable insurance and don't want to keep SHIP as dual coverage, you may submit a waiver application.
  4. All students can use University Health Services (UHS), whether they have SHIP or not.

SHIP Benefits

  • Affordable platinum plan with medical, mental health, pharmacy, dental, and vision coverage. 
  • Coverage 365 days a year that goes with you when you travel.
  • Conveniently located on campus with 24/7 phone assistance
  • Services are private and confidential.
  • Expert providers understand UC Berkeley student health care needs.
  • We help students navigate the healthcare system.
  • With SHIP, students have no claims to file for services at UHS - we'll do it for you!
  • Excellent stand-alone or dual coverage option

I'm keeping SHIP. Tell me more!

Registered students are automatically enrolled and don't need to take any additional actions. Below are some resources to help you make the most of SHIP:

I'm not sure. What now?

Here are tools to help you make an informed decision about waiving SHIP. 

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Am I eligible to waive SHIP enrollment?

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: August 1 - December 31, Spring: January 1 - July 31). See what SHIP covers

Financial aid recipients should check out this FAQ page to understand if their aid incorporates SHIP fees. Graduate students with GSI or GSR appointments should check with their departments as SHIP is often covered while on fee remission. 

I have insurance -- Why do I need SHIP?

SHIP Coverage

SHIP is a comprehensive plan that includes worldwide medical, prescriptiondental, and vision coverage with nationwide networks. SHIP also provides travel assistance services.

UHS Billing & Payment Information  

While all Berkeley students have access to services at UHS-Tang Center, students with SHIP pay a co-pay of $15 for a primary care visit, a co-pay of $25 for a specialty visit, a co-pay of $35 for an urgent care visit, and 10% of most fees at the time of service. The Tang Center Pharmacy also offers discounted medications to SHIP students, including free generic drugs. 

UHS will file claims for SHIP members. If you have another plan, you must pay UHS fees for services, file a claim with your plan, and wait for reimbursement. Please visit the Billing & Cashier page for billing and payment options.  

Plan Network 

Many HMO and PPO plans require you to use a service provider within their network. Please check with your insurance plan to see if there are in-network providers, who are accepting new patients, in the Berkeley area. 

Many HMO and PPO insurance plans may not cover fees for services provided at UHS. For example, a student without SHIP has a sports injury and comes to UHS. There is an office visit co-pay, plus possible additional fees for an x-ray and any supplies, such as a splint or sling. Many HMO and PPO plans may not pay for the x-ray and supply charges because UHS is a non-network provider for all HMO and PPO plans.

Coverage While Traveling 

Many HMO and PPO plans provide worldwide coverage only for emergencies. When students move to Berkeley from outside the Bay Area, travel to visit family or friends, or study abroad, routine care may not be covered. 

Group Plan vs Individual Plan

SHIP is a group plan, comparable in benefit levels to group plans provided to employees by employers. Individual plans, purchased directly from an insurance company or broker, often cost more and provide fewer benefits. 

What if I have Medi-Cal?

Please see our FAQ for Medi-Cal Recipients.  

Why have dual coverage?

For the reasons listed above, we recommend students keep SHIP, even if they have another plan. Because SHIP coordinates benefits with your primary plan, dual coverage results in lower out-of-pocket costs during the school year. Students also appreciate the convenience of on-campus care. Students who waive SHIP during their first year at UC Berkeley sometimes struggle to coordinate care on their own.   

Comparing SHIP to other plans

Compare carefully the cost, benefits, and limitations of your plan to SHIP. In general, we recommend you compare the following:

  • Cost of the plan  
  • Deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance amounts
  • Annual and lifetime maximum amounts for covered services
  • Scope of services covered as well as any limitations
  • Service area (will your plan cover care provided in the Berkeley area?) 

You may also find the Glossary of Insurance Terms helpful. 

Waiver Deadlines

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 2024The Spring 2024 waiver period is 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 waivers will be accepted after January 15, 2024. 

Questions? See Frequently Asked Questions About Waivers or call the Student Health Insurance Office at (510) 642-5700. 

I already know I'm waiving. What's the next step?

Visit Waiving SHIP for the waiver period, waiver requirements, online waiver application instructions, and additional resources.