The University of California Student Health Insurance Plan is a self-funded student health insurance benefit designed by the UC Office of the President to meet the healthcare needs of students on campus. The university is one of only six publicly funded universities with an insurance plan designed specifically for its students. As of March 2020, over 5 million students enrolled at UC campuses and receive these health benefits through their university-sponsored medical insurance.
The policy is designed to serve the needs of UC students, as well as other students at participating schools within the University of California system. It provides students the choice of paying monthly premiums and receiving a variety of benefits, or enrolling in an insurance plan with a low-premium option that includes doctor visits, hospital stays, outpatient care, emergency care and prescription drug coverage. The University’s Student Health Insurance Program covers approximately 75% of the student’s health care costs, including dental and eye care services, hospital stays, prescriptions, office visits and preventive care.
The student health insurance program is based on individual student needs. Most plans include the same benefits, such as medical doctor visits, preventive care, emergency care, prescriptions and emergency room visits. There are many plans available and each plan has different restrictions and premiums. For example, plans are offered in two different fee levels, ranging from the lowest to the highest, as well as a range of deductibles.
The cost of an individual health insurance plan can be significantly more than those for family plans, which are more commonly provided by private insurers. However, some plans are more affordable than others. The level of health care covered by the plan may be dependent on age, health status, current employment status, length of enrollment, family history and academic performance, among other factors.
Students enrolled in a student health insurance plan are eligible for coverage in almost all areas of personal health care. Coverage options may also vary depending on the policy plan selected by the student but are generally comprehensive in nature. There is no pre-existing condition exclusions in most student insurance plans, and policies generally cover preventative care, emergency care and minor procedures like eye exams and dental check-ups. The types of benefits offered by student insurance plans are not uniform across each school or university.
Some insurance plans offer coverage for outpatient care. Inpatient care through doctors’ offices and hospitals may be covered. Others will cover hospital stays for a specific period of time or may include preventative care, such as annual cleanings. Some insurance plans offer coverage for prescription drugs and certain types of surgical procedures, while others offer nothing.
The cost of an individual health insurance plan depends largely on the number of covered services, which will vary between health insurance plans. In some cases, a student insurance plan may pay for up to 50% of a patient’s bill, while in others it may cover as little as 10%. Some insurance plans cover medical care through the University’s general health insurance system, known as UHIP, while other may use the State-wide Student Health Insurance Program, which is funded by taxes on the state’s students’ health-care insurance premiums. For uninsured students, UC SHIP, or a state-sponsored program, provides a medical insurance program that covers all or part of a student’s health care costs. When choosing an individual or family health insurance plan, students should ask about the specific needs of their particular health care.
Health insurance is necessary for students enrolled in a student health insurance plan because it ensures adequate, high-quality care. and a comfortable life on campus. Students who have access to the same type of health insurance coverage offered by their parents or teachers can be confident that they have a safe financial base for long-term and unexpected medical expenses. Most health insurance plans have no medical underwriting requirements, and there is no age limit to enrolling in a health insurance plan.