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U-SHIP FAQs

FAQs

While the UChicago Student Wellness clinics can provide primary care for students, students often incur additional medical expenses for medications, laboratory work, hospitalizations, and specialty care. It is important that students are able to receive appropriate health care when necessary, without undue financial burden. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act requires most individuals to have health insurance that meets certain standards of coverage. 

You will be automatically enrolled in annual U-SHIP coverage and be responsible for the premium assessed on your student account. The coverage will not be prorated and will be effective September 1. It is important to remember that being default enrolled in U-SHIP due to inaction is binding for the full year (September through August of the following year).

For students who enroll at the University in Autumn Quarter, U-SHIP is billed in three quarterly (Autumn, Winter, and Spring) installments on your student account. Regardless of which quarter a student enters the University, the Spring Quarter premium provides coverage from the start of Spring Quarter through August 31. Students whose first quarter of enrollment is Summer Quarter will be billed for that period’s premium on their Summer bill. Note: students are automatically assessed an installment of U-SHIP on your Bursar bill the first quarter you are registered in the academic year; this does not mean you've enrolled/confirmed your coverage in U-SHIP.

Effective for the 2021-22 coverage year, which begins 9/1/21, U-SHIP enrollment is required for all PhD students at the University of Chicago. As such, PhD students are not eligible to waive U-SHIP with comparable coverage. Individual student premiums will be paid for PhD students at no cost to them. If you are a non-PhD student and have questions, please contact your dean of students for more information. 

In certain special cases it may be necessary to change health insurance coverage during the middle of the plan year (“mid-year change”). Specific circumstances that may qualify for a change in insurance enrollment in the middle of the plan year include:

  • Loss of existing health insurance coverage (i.e., aging-off a parent's plan; parent/spouse terminating a job)
  • Addition or loss of health insurance coverage as a result of a change in employment
  • Change in coverage as a result of marriage/divorce or change in eligible same-gender domestic partnership status
  • Need to add coverage due to the birth/adoption of a child
  • Recent immigration of a dependent spouse/eligible same-gender domestic partner or children

Petitions to add or waive* coverage must be made within 31 days of the qualifying life event noted above. If moving from U-SHIP to an alternate plan, that plan must meet the University’s comparable coverage requirements that are set for each academic year.

Your U-SHIP enrollment will become effective retroactive to the effective date of the quarter in which you are requesting to add U-SHIP. Students will be responsible for the full premium for the quarter in which the changed coverage takes effect. The premium is not pro-rated.

Please contact our Student Insurance Office at 773.834.4543 (Option 2) or uchicagoadvocates@uhcsr.com to inform them of your mid-year qualifying life event.

*Effective for the 2021-22 coverage year, which begins 9/1/21, U-SHIP enrollment is required for all PhD students at the University of Chicago. As such, PhD students are not eligible to waive U-SHIP with comparable coverage. Individual student premiums will be paid for PhD students at no cost to them.

Please refer to the Dependent Enrollment section for further information. 

No, the University Student Insurance Plan (U-SHIP) does not include coverage for dental or vision except in the event of certain injuries or illinesses (see the U-SHIP certificate of coverage for these exceptions). Voluntary dental and vision plans are available to all students regardless of U-SHIP enrollment for an additional cost. Students may enroll during open enrollment which occurs twice a year for vision and dental – at the beginning of the academic year and during Winter Quarter. Information about the voluntary (optional) dental and vision programs can be found on the Student Insurance website.

Yes, waivers are valid for one academic year. If you submit a waiver Autumn 2021 you will not need to submit another waiver until Autumn 2022. If you submit a waiver in Spring 2022, you will need to submit another waiver for Autumn 2022. All waivers expire August 31. Exception: if you take a leave from the University for one or more quarters, you will be required to confirm or waive U-SHIP upon your re-entry to the University.

*Effective for the 2021-22 coverage year, which begins 9/1/21, U-SHIP enrollment is required for all PhD students at the University of Chicago. As such, PhD students are not eligible to waive U-SHIP with comparable coverage. Individual student premiums will be paid for PhD students at no cost to them.

Yes, but only if you have a qualifying mid-year event. See above for more information about qualifying mid-year events. If you have waived coverage one quarter, but need to elect coverage in a proceeding quarter due to a mid-year qualifying life event, contact the Student Insurance Office at uchicagoadvocates@uhcsr.com or 773.834.4543 (Option 2).

After you confirm enrollment, your coverage is effective retroactive to the first day of the quarter (September 1 for Autumn Quarter). However, after you enroll in coverage, please allow two business days for processing. Once your application is processed, you will be able to print out your insurance card online through your UnitedHealthcare MyAccount.  If you have a healthcare emergency, or if you need to see a doctor more urgently than two days, your coverage will be effective immediately, but you may need to pay for medical services up front and be reimbursed. For questions, please contact the Student Insurance Office at uchicagoadvocates@uhcsr.com or 773.834.4543 (Option 2).

Once you enroll in U-SHIP and pay the premium, you will be responsible for meeting the annual deductible on U-SHIP (i.e., the first $500 of your medical costs) before your insurance begins to cover additional medical costs.  After your annual deductible has been met, you will be responsible for a percentage of the cost of obtaining medical care (co-insurance). For more information about the costs associated with receiving care while covered by U-SHIP, please refer to our insurance resources

There are many resources that exist to help you better understand how insurance works.  Here are a few suggested websites:

If you are graduating in June, your coverage will automatically continue until the termination date of August 31. Students who have been continuously enrolled under U-SHIP for 6 consecutive months prior to this termination date will have up to 31 days after the termination date to enroll into the continuation plan for up to three additional months. Otherwise, you may be eligible to enroll in alternate coverage through a state or federal exchange plan. For more information, refer to the Continuation Coverage section

Yes, once you have submitted your initial enrollment/waiver information, any subsequent changes can be made by contacting the Student Insurance Office at uchicagoadvocates@uhcsr.com or 773.834.4543 (Option 2) before the open enrollment deadline. 

*Effective for the 2021-22 coverage year, which begins 9/1/21, U-SHIP enrollment is required for all PhD students at the University of Chicago. As such, PhD students are not eligible to waive U-SHIP with comparable coverage. Individual student premiums will be paid for PhD students at no cost to them.

A referral is required before seeking care or treatment from a provider outside of UChicago Student Wellness. Only one referral is needed per condition. This referral requirement applies to psychotherapy visits as well as medical/specialist visits received outside of UChicago Student Wellness. Note: providers at UChicago Medicine also require a referral.

Once you are issued a referral from UChicago Student Wellness, it will be entered in UnitedHealthcare's referral system within 24 hours and valid for the duration of your academic program at UChicago. Without a referral, services you receive outside of UChicago Student Wellness will be subject to a $50 deductible non-referral fee per visit. Exceptions: You will not be assessed the $50 deductible if you seek care more than 50 miles from the Hyde Park campus or during the occasional time when UChicago Student Wellness is closed during a holiday break. 

Yes, U-SHIP covers you during quarterly  breaks, summer vacation and even if you’re traveling or studying abroad. You’ll be covered for the period for which you are enrolled and premiums are paid. In addition to being covered for medical treatment and services, you will also be covered by UnitedHealthcare Global for Emergency Medical Evacuation, Dispatch of Doctors/Specialists, Medical Repatriation, and other global benefits*. All services must be arranged for in advance and provided by UnitedHealthcare Global. Any services not arranged by UnitedHealthcare Global will not be considered for payment. For more information, please review the plan brochure

*International students are not eligible for Emergency Medical Evacuation, Dispatch of Doctors/Specialists, and Medical Repatriation if they are already in their home country.

Use the “Find Providers” feature on the UChicago page of UnitedHealthcare’s website to search for in-network providers.

Use the comparable coverage checklist to verify that your alternate insurance meets the University’s requirements.  If after reviewing the checklist you are still unsure, contact your insurance plan administrator and share the checklist with them to ensure your insurance meets each of the University’s requirements.

Effective for the 2021-22 coverage year, which begins 9/1/21, U-SHIP enrollment is required for all PhD students at the University of Chicago. As such, PhD students are not eligible to waive U-SHIP with comparable coverage. Individual student premiums will be paid for PhD students at no cost to them.

If you take a personal Leave of Absence and will not be a registered student for one or more quarters, you do not have an insurance requirement for the University. However, if you are taking a Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) or a Parental Leave and would like U-SHIP coverage while on leave, you may apply through your area Dean of Students office. U-SHIP coverage while on a MLOA is available for up to four quarters.

For additional information about U-SHIP, please contact the on-campus insurance office at 773-834-4543 (press option 2) or email uchicagoadvocates@uhcsr.com. For information related to University policies regarding U-SHIP, please contact Celia Bergman at cbergman@uchicago.edu.

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