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 2024 will be available on December 1, 2023.

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: 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 10% of most 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 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 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 2023: The Fall 2023 waiver period is 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.