Student Health Insurance Policy

The University requires all registered students to carry adequate health insurance to cover, among other costs, hospitalization and outpatient diagnostic, testing and surgical procedures. Additionally, the insurance must cover medical care provided in the Chicago area for both emergency and routine, non-emergency medical situations (or, if the student will not be in Chicago, it must provide this coverage wherever the student will be residing and studying during the academic year). In keeping with this requirement, each year all students registered in an insurance-required program are enrolled in the University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP). Students who are eligible to waive out of U-SHIP coverage and wish to do so must affirm possession of alternate comparable coverage before the enrollment/waiver deadline. Students who do not enroll in or waive the student insurance plan by the deadline will by default be enrolled in U-SHIP and remain enrolled in U-SHIP through the end of the plan year, and thus will be responsible for the annual premium, which is billed quarterly.

Effective September 1, 2021, 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.

The information below pertains to University policy, based in part on requirements set forth by the insurance provider. However, the information below is not fully exhaustive of policies set forth by the insurance provider. Detailed information about the U-SHIP plan, including full policy details as set forth by the insurance provider, can be found on the UChicago Student Wellness website.

The University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP) generally is available to all registered students enrolled in programs that convene in the Hyde Park Campus and their eligible dependents. Students in certain designated programs may not be eligible for coverage under U-SHIP. For additional information on specific University programs of study that are ineligible for insurance coverage under U-SHIP, students should contact their area Dean of Students Office or the Registrar. Students in certain programs may be eligible to opt-in to U-SHIP (see more information about the opt-in plan below).

Effective Autumn Quarter 2018, students are required to provide documentation to the University that establishes proof of a dependent relationship as defined in this policy. The types of acceptable documents and the instructions for submitting documentation will be provided at the time of enrollment in U-SHIP or can be found on the UChicago Student Wellness website.

Students enrolled in U-SHIP can choose to cover eligible dependents, including:

  • Same- or opposite-gender spouse or civil union partner
  • Same-gender domestic partner (only for domestic partnerships registered with the University prior to 7/1/17).
  • Children under the age of 26, including natural children, stepchildren, adopted children, or wards; any child named in a court order for whom you are legally responsible for providing coverage under the terms of a qualified medical child support order; and your eligible same-gender domestic partner’s child who depends on you for support and lives with you in a regular parent-child relationship.
  • Unmarried eligible children over age 26 if the child is incapable of self-sustaining employment due to a mental or physical disability that occurred before attaining age 26, is dependent on you or your eligible spouse, civil union partner, or eligible same-gender domestic partner for primary support and maintenance and is covered continuously by the plan prior to and beyond age 26.
  • Military veteran dependent children up to age 30 if the child has established residency in Illinois, served in the active or reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces, and received a release of discharge other than a dishonorable discharge.

The U-SHIP plan is an annual plan, dependent on quarterly student registration status. The plan year runs from September 1 – August 31. The period in which a student is enrolled in U-SHIP is determined by the first quarter a student is actively registered at the University, each academic year (for most students, this is Autumn Quarter), as follows:

  • For students whose first quarter of registration is Autumn, the plan period runs from September 1 through August 31 of the following year.
  • For students whose first quarter of registration is Winter, the plan period runs from January 1 – August 31.
  • For students whose first quarter of registration is Spring, the plan period runs from the first day of Spring Quarter through August 31.
  • For students whose first quarter of registration is Summer, the plan period runs from the first day of Summer Quarter through August 31.

Premiums are billed in three installments, generally on the Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarterly bills.  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. 

The deadline to add dependents or waive U-SHIP is 12 p.m. Central time on Friday of the third week of the student's first quarter of registration each academic year (typically Autumn Quarter).

Students who do not enroll in or waive U-SHIP coverage by the waiver deadline will be automatically enrolled in U-SHIP by default, will remain in U-SHIP for the remainder of the plan year, and will be responsible for the full cost of the insurance premium.  This default enrollment is binding for the entire plan year.

Students approved to register as a student after the insurance deadline must submit a manual insurance enrollment/waiver application to the on-campus insurance office within 10 days of registration if they wish to waive U-SHIP coverage. Failure to do so will result in the student remaining enrolled in U-SHIP coverage for the remainder of the plan year.

For more information about enrollment and waiver requirements visit the UChicago Student Wellness website.

A student who is eligible to waive U-SHIP and wishes to do so must provide proof of comparable coverage that meets University requirements and must show that the coverage is valid for the entire academic year (September 1 – August 31 OR the end of their academic program, whichever comes first). Students who are eligible and wish to waive U-SHIP must do so each academic year.  Waivers are subject to audit by the University to ensure the plan meets comparable coverage requirements.   

Effective September 1, 2021, U-SHIP is required for all PhD students at the University. As such, PhD students are not eligible to waive U-SHIP with comparable coverage. Rarely and in limited circumstances, PhD students may seek an exception to the U-SHIP enrollment requirement from the Office of the Provost through Celia Bergman Program Manager, Campus and Student Life.

The decision to enroll (including automatic enrollment by default) or waive U-SHIP coverage is binding for the remaining plan year, with the following exceptions:

  • Students who graduate at the end of Autumn or Winter quarters will have their U-SHIP coverage terminated at the conclusion of the quarter in which they graduate.  (See below for information on continuation coverage.)
  • Students who are no longer in an eligible status or who are no longer actively registered in their program will have their U-SHIP coverage terminated at the conclusion of the last quarter in which they were actively enrolled in their program.  (See below for information on continuation coverage.)

However, any student who made a claim on their U-SHIP plan during a particular quarter must remain in U-SHIP for the remainder of that quarter, regardless of when their ineligibility becomes effective.  U-SHIP premiums are non-refundable if a student has made claims on the plan at any point during that quarter, nor are premiums pro-ratable. 

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 civil union status
  • Need to add coverage due to the birth/adoption of a child
  • Recent immigration of a dependent spouse/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.

Approved mid-year petitions to add coverage become effective on the first day of the quarter in which the petition was approved. Students will be responsible for the full premium for the quarter in which the changed coverage takes effect. The premium is not pro-rated.

Further information on mid-year changes can be found on the UChicago Student Wellness website.

Students participating in U-SHIP who take an approved leave of absence for medical reasons (MLOA) may continue coverage in U-SHIP for four (4) quarters maximum while on a MLOA. If the MLOA crosses academic years, insurance coverage may be provided that crosses two separate plan years at the premium rates in effect during those plan periods (i.e., MLOA extending from Spring Quarter through following Winter Quarter). If the MLOA crosses academic years, the program administrator should make sure the MLOA is recorded in AIS for the new year, and the student must take action to enroll in U-SHIP for the new plan year before the current coverage is terminated (August 31) so that there is no break in U-SHIP coverage while on the MLOA. PhD students whose premium is paid at no cost to them while they are enrolled will continue to have their individual U-SHIP premium paid for up to four (4) quarters while the student is on a MLOA. All students should check with their deans of students and financial aid offices whenever considering a leave of absence of any kind to understand academic, immigration, and financial impacts.

Students who withdraw, take an approved leave of absence (LOA), or otherwise are not actively registered in their program of study are ineligible to remain covered under U-SHIP (with the exception of students taking a Parental Relief Leave of Absence, which need not affect U-SHIP coverage, or those on a Medical Leave of Absence as described above). Upon return from a non-medical LOA, the student will need to enroll/waive U-SHIP for the remainder of the plan year before the third Friday of the quarter in which they return.

If a student’s registration status is changed to LOA or any other ineligible status at any point after 5 p.m. Central time on Friday of the third week of the quarter and the student was covered by U-SHIP up to the date of the leave, then even though the LOA or change in status is backdated effective to the start of the quarter, U-SHIP coverage will remain in place through the end of the quarter in which the LOA or change in status was processed, with any assessment for premium remaining in effect. 

Furthermore, any student who made a claim on their U-SHIP plan during a particular quarter must remain in U-SHIP for the remainder of that quarter, regardless of when the leave of absence or ineligibility becomes effective.  U-SHIP premiums are non-refundable if a student has made claims on the plan at any point during that quarter, nor are premiums pro-ratable. 

Upon termination of U-SHIP coverage, if a student was enrolled in U-SHIP for at least six (6) consecutive months prior to termination, that student is eligible to enroll in "continuation coverage" for up to three (3) months. Payment is made directly to UnitedHealthcare StudentResources and must be received no more than 31 days from the date prior coverage is terminated.

Students who purchase Continuation Coverage are not eligible to visit UChicago Student Wellness.

To enroll in Continuation Coverage, visit your MyAccount in the UnitedHealthcare StudentResources portal. If you have questions, please contact the Student Insurance Office at 773-834-4542 (press option 2) or email uchicagoadvocates@uhcsr.com.

Due to the nature of the programs below, students in these programs do not go through the same U-SHIP enrollment/waiver process and will not by default be enrolled in U-SHIP.  However, students in these programs may opt-in to U-SHIP by purchasing annual only coverage directly through UnitedHealthcare:

  • Booth School evening and part-time programs
  • Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice evening and post-masters certificate programs
  • Harris Public Policy part-time master's program
  • Graham School of Continuing Studies (following programs only)
    • Master of Liberal Arts
    • Master of Science in Threat and Response Management
    • Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics
    • Returning Scholars
  • UChicago Professional Education Master of Science in Analytics (part-time program)

Please note students in these programs are not eligible to visit UChicago Student Wellness.