At University Health Services (UHS), we believe that affordable health care is a right for all. We are strong supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many in our community are worried about the proposed repeal of ACA and how that may impact them and their families. We wanted to explain how these changes may or may not affect insurance at UC Berkeley.
Are there any anticipated impacts right now to those enrolled in SHIP?
Berkeley SHIP, provided by Anthem Blue Cross, meets all the essential health benefits outlined in the ACA. The proposed repeal will not directly impact Berkeley SHIP’s plan for the remainder of the 2016-2017 plan year. Currently for the next academic year, Berkeley is only considering adding a few small benefits, with a focus on protecting the robust benefits offered through Berkeley SHIP while maintaining affordability of the plan. Even if the ACA stops requiring coverage for essential health benefits, SHIP will continue to cover these through the 2017-2018 plan year.
What about birth control and sexual health coverage?
Insurance coverage for sexual health is a cornerstone of college health care. UC Berkeley has been a strong champion of sexual and reproductive health coverage. We want to assure our SHIP enrollees that they have a voice in the benefits covered under Berkeley SHIP, and we will always be dedicated to offering progressive, affordable sexual/reproductive health coverage in our plan.
We anticipate continuing to provide affordable coverage for contraceptives even if the federal government were to remove requirements for insurance companies to cover contraceptives.
What if there is a repeal of ACA in the future?
UHS has been managing Berkeley’s student insurance plan for nearly three decades, since 1988. We manage our insurance plan operations and financials closely, and the campus maintains local decision-making control. Students at UC Berkeley have input on SHIP changes each year, including benefit and cost changes, through our Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee (SHIAC). Our campus has consistently supported a student plan with strong benefits and a focus on containing costs. SHIP has historically been progressive in plan offerings, matching the requests of our students. For example:
- offering robust transgender benefits,
- enrolling all applicants regardless of their pre-existing conditions, a key feature in of the ACA,
- moving aggressively to provide 100% coverage of birth control and lifting the lifetime maximum in advance of the ACA requirements.
Other areas of concern include:
- eliminating the ability for young adults to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26,
- prohibiting charging more or denying coverage for pre-existing conditions,
- offering an insurance option for student families, and
- offering an insurance option for students after graduation.
- SHIP continues to address these concerns.
Berkeley SHIP currently offers a dependent plan and a continuation plan for those who graduate or leave the University.
NOTE FOR FAMILIES THAT WAIVED SHIP: If students who waived SHIP lose their coverage due to ACA or other changes, they can submit a waiver reversal and join SHIP at any point in the semester.
Additionally, all eligible students are offered SHIP regardless of their immigration status.