Tools for making your SHIP waiver decision

Below are tools for helping you make your decision.

Already know you want to waive SHIP?  See waiver requirements. The online waiver application for Spring 2023 will be available on December 1, 2022.

Am I eligible to waive SHIP enrollment?

In order 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 2022: August 1 - December 31, Spring 2023: 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?

While all Berkeley students have access to services at UHS-Tang Center, students with SHIP pay 10% of any fees at the time of service and UHS bills SHIP for the remaining 90%. The Tang Center Pharmacy also offers discounted medications to SHIP students, including free generic drugs.

UHS will file claims only 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.

Many HMO and PPO insurance plans will not cover fees for services provided at UHS. For example, a student without SHIP has a sports injury and comes to UHS. There will be 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 will not pay for the x-ray and supply charges because UHS is a non-network provider for all HMO and most PPO plans.

Many HMO and PPO plans require you to use a service provider within their network. Check to see if your plan's network includes providers in the Berkeley area and that those providers are accepting new patients (many may not). The nearest Kaiser facility is 7 miles from campus, in downtown Oakland.

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.

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 by people who do not have access to a group plan, often cost more and provide fewer benefits.

What if I have Medi-Cal?

Please see 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 their first year at Cal 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 2022: The Fall 2022 waiver period is May 1, 2022 to July 15, 2022. Waivers must be received by July 15, 2022 to avoid a late fee of $75. All waivers received between July 16, 2022 and August 15, 2022 will be subject to a late fee of $75. No waivers will be accepted after August 15, 2022.

Spring 2023The Spring 2022 waiver period is December 1, 2022 to January 1, 2023. Waivers must be received by January 1, 2023 to avoid a late fee of $75. All waivers received between January 2, 2023 and January 15, 2023 will be subject to a late fee of $75. No waivers will be accepted after January 15, 2023.

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