Frequently Asked Health Insurance Questions
Who needs health insurance?
EVERYONE! Unfortunately, unexpected accidents and illnesses do occur and students without comprehensive insurance are more likely to drop out of school for financial or health-related reasons.
What about University Health Services?
All enrolled students are eligible for the medical and counseling care available at University Health Services, but 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.
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.
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.
Please note that International Students, Scholars and visa dependents are required to enroll in SHIP unless the qualifying criteria on the Waiver Application [PDF] are satisfied.
Five reasons to choose SHIP
- SHIP is designed specifically for UW–Madison students. Meeting the needs of our students is our motivation—not profit.
- UHS provides primary and preventive care on campus, keeping costs as low as possible.
- SHIP travels with you. SHIP members are protected by a nationwide network of hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical services.
- SHIP for Domestic Students has low member cost-sharing, with an in-network deductible of $600.
- Value. For many students, SHIP offers “Gold +” level coverage at a “Bronze” price.
How is SHIP affected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
SHIP coverage already equals or exceeds the level of coverage for student health plans under the ACA and satisfies the individual mandate.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just present your SHIP card to receive these discounts