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Frequently Asked Questions about Health Insurance

What is the difference between UHS and SHIP?

University Health Services (UHS) provides students with many basic health care services at no extra cost, including medical care and mental health counseling and psychiatry. UHS also has clinics for women’s health, STI testing and treatment, and allergy/immunization.

However, UHS is not a substitute for health insurance.  UHS is not open evenings and weekends and does not provide emergency care, hospitalization, or specialty care for complex problems.

SHIP is a comprehensive insurance plan for UW–Madison students, which covers additional health care costs incurred both at UHS and elsewhere. This includes travel, meningococcal vaccines, and the HPV vaccine at UHS, as well as after hours, emergency room, hospitalization, and other specialized medical services, locally and nationwide.

I already have health insurance. How can I tell if it is good enough?

Even if you already have health insurance, you need to be aware of the following:

  • Employer plans often limit coverage to emergency room care while you are out of the plan area, and you may have to take time off school to return to your hometown for treatment.
  • Even in their home area, some plans have increasingly narrow provider networks. As a result it can be difficult for enrollees to access key services such as mental health.
  • Many plans require enrollees to pay a large portion of their medical costs. High deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance can make enrollees reluctant, or unable to seek medical attention when they need it.

International students, scholars and visa dependents are required to enroll in SHIP unless they qualify for a waiver.

Five reasons to choose SHIP

  1. SHIP is designed specifically for UW–Madison students.
  2. UHS provides primary and preventive care on campus, keeping costs as low as possible.
  3. SHIP travels with you. SHIP members are protected by nationwide networks of hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical services.
  4. SHIP for Domestic Students has low member cost-sharing, with with network deductibles starting from $300.
  5. Value. Meeting the needs of our students is our motivation—not profit.

Can SHIP premiums be included in the UW–Madison Financial Aid package?

Undergraduate students can request that the cost of SHIP insurance be included in their financial aid package calculations. If the student qualifies, the financial aid package may be adjusted to accommodate the expense paid for SHIP coverage. If the student has already received an aid package and then purchases SHIP, the student will have to submit a receipt or other proof of payment of SHIP premiums. Graduate student financial aid packages already include an allowance for health care costs, so in general, no adjustments can be made for these students.

For more information, please contact UW–Madison Student Financial Services by calling 608-262-3060 or by emailing

Can I re-enroll in SHIP if I no longer meet the eligibility requirements ?

SHIP does not offer a continuation option.  If you are no longer eligible to enroll in SHIP, UHS recommends that you visit to see what other options may be available to you.


Contact the SHIP Office
333 East Campus Mall,
Madison, WI 53715-1381
In-Office Hours: 9 am–5 pm, Wednesday only (5th Floor)
Phone Hours: 9am–5 pm, Monday–Friday
Phone: 608-265-5232; Fax: 608-265-5668