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Students in eligible programs are encouraged to visit Student Wellness for primary medical care, psychiatry, wellness programs, or short-term psychotherapy, and for recommendations on specialty care. Accessing Student Wellness is a good option for students who need timely access to high-quality care at no additional cost. When necessary, UChicago Student Wellness can assist students in eligible programs with referrals to other medical or mental health specialists.

Counseling Referrals

UChicago Student Wellness offers both short-term individual and couples therapy. The number of sessions is determined by you and your therapist.  After your initial appointment, or after a number of sessions, your therapist may suggest that you meet with a mental health provider in the community if ongoing therapy is clinically indicated. If your therapist suggests that ongoing therapy could be an effective way to address your concerns, they will discuss this recommendation with you. Some students may decide on their own that they want to meet with a therapist outside of UChicago Student Wellness and can request assistance in getting connected to a provider in the community.

Our staff can work to help you find a therapist outside of UChicago Student Wellness who accepts your insurance. We also have Clinical Case Managers on staff who can provide additional support in your search to find a therapist who may be a good fit for you.

Medical Referrals for Specialty Care

Eligible students are encouraged to first seek care at Student Wellness unless it is an emergency. At the time of your visit, the provider may recommend specialty care depending on your situation and can make a recommendation on a provider based on your insurance. Students are encouraged to contact the Care Navigation team at Student Wellness for assistance with referrals or guidance on accessing specialty services. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Student Wellness if you are having trouble accessing care. 

Special Note for Students on U-SHIP

Due to a recent Illinois Department of Insurance mandate eliminating referral requirements for insurance plans like U-SHIP that are considered “Preferred Provider Organizations” (PPOs), effective September 1, 2022:

  • U-SHIP enrollees will no longer be required to obtain a referral from UChicago Student Wellness for medical or psychotherapy services outside of Student Wellness, and the $50 per visit non-referral deductible will be eliminated.
  • U-SHIP enrollees remain eligible for the special $10/visit copay (coinsurance and deductible do not apply) for psychotherapy with providers on the Student Wellness Community Provider list. Please contact Student Wellness if you are on U-SHIP and would like to be connected to a therapist on this list (please note, this Community Provider list is different than those providers who are in the United Behavioral Health Network).
  • Dependents on U-SHIP may now access providers outside Student Wellness with no deductible charge.  As such, effective Autumn 2022, dependents are no longer eligible for services at UChicago Student Wellness, which is intended to serve enrolled students at the University.  Students with dependents will no longer be charged the quarterly U-SHIP Dependent Fee.
  • For more information on referrals for students and dependents on U-SHIP, please see this FAQ.
  • If you have any additional questions, please contact Student Wellness at studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu

Frequently Asked Questions About Referrals

Student Wellness recognizes that navigating the healthcare system can be difficult and confusing. That’s why we have a team of experienced Registered Nurses, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, and healthcare administrators who can assist with the process of finding off-campus medical or mental health care. 

Just call Student Wellness at 773.934.9355 and let them know whether you need assistance with medical or mental health referrals. The staff who answer the phones will be able to connect you with the appropriate team member.

In the U.S. healthcare system, “specialists” are licensed individuals with expertise in a particular clinical area. Examples include dermatologists, cardiologists, gynecologists/obstetricians, surgeons, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. This is in contrast to “primary care” providers who offer general medical care relating to a variety of medical conditions and health maintenance. 

No, neither students nor dependents on U-SHIP will be required to receive a referral. However, eligible students are strongly encouraged to continue to first receive care at Student Wellness, unless it is an emergency. Our providers can treat a range of conditions, advise on whether specialty care is best for you, and in many cases treat the same conditions a specialist may treat – at no additional cost. 

Please know that many specialists who accept U-SHIP are accustomed to the referral requirement and may ask to see your referral before making an appointment. If they do, you may inform them that the referral requirement has been eliminated. Eligible students are encouraged to contact Student Wellness if they are experiencing any difficulties getting connected to a specialty provider. During the 2022-23 academic year, dependents who were previously seen by a Student Wellness provider and need assistance navigating care or finding a suitable specialist, can contact our Care Navigation team for assistance.

Individual providers, hospital systems, and private practices set their own processes for verifying patients’ insurance information, and many will do so before an appointment is scheduled. Since there are thousands of providers in the UnitedHealthcare network, it is not possible for Student Wellness to communicate this change to all providers that U-SHIP enrollees may visit. Students are encouraged to contact the Care Navigation team at Student Wellness for assistance with referrals or guidance on accessing specialty services. 

UnitedHealthcare StudentResources has two on-campus representatives who can answer your questions about U-SHIP.  The representatives are located in the Student Wellness Center or can be reached at 773-834-4543 (press option 2) or uchicagoadvocates@uhcsr.com. Please call to verify the representatives’ hours before visiting the Student Wellness Center.  

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