U-SHIP FAQs

FAQs

While the Student Health and Counseling clinics can provide primary care for students who pay the Student Life Fee, 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 charged the premium, in three quarterly installments. 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.

Some PhD programs will cover the cost of U-SHIP for certain students. The insurance premium will be posted on the quarterly student account, and the charges will be paid for by the academic department. If you are a 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 on the day your previous insurance terminates or the day after your Petition to Add has been approved by the Student Insurnace Office—whichever is later. 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. 

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; however, all students enrolled in U-SHIP are automatically enrolled in UnitedHealth Allies Discount Program, which provides discounts on healthcare-related items that may not be covered under your plan. 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 2018 you will not need to submit another waiver until Autumn 2019. If you submit a waiver in Spring 2019, you will need to submit another waiver for Autumn 2019. 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.

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. 

Yes, a referral is required before seeking care or treatment from a provider outside of SHCS. Once you are issued a referral from SHCS, 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 off-campus 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 the Student Health and Counseling Service 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 for Emergency Medical Evacuation, Repatriation of Remains, Security and Political Evacuation, Natural Disaster Evacuation and 24-hour worldwide travel assistance services through UnitedHealthcare Global. 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

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.

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