Health Insurance Requirement Information

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT UMD HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENT

Health Insurance Coverage Requirement - Automatic Enrollment & Billing

  • All undergraduate students at the University of Maryland, College Park, who are enrolled in 6 or more credits are required to have Health Insurance.  
  • In order to ensure coverage, the University automatically enrolls all undergraduate students taking 6 or more credits in the University-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) unless an approved waiver is submitted.
  • Students are automatically billed for SHIP. 
  • International undergraduate students who matriculated beginning Fall of 2017 are automatically enrolled in SHIP with no option to waive.

Purpose of Health Insurance Requirement

The purpose of the health insurance requirement is to ensure that students have adequate coverage and to avoid the accumulation of unexpected medical bills that could cause an interruption of one's education.  The American College Health Association notes the “SHIPs are an outstanding value for students due to robust and broad coverage, often at half the cost of comparable employee plans…SHIPs are uniquely designed for the lifestyles of college students.  Specifically, SHIP coverage accounts for the mobility of the student-patient population by remaining in place while a student engages in student travel or during anticipated breaks in the academic year.”  UMD’s SHIP is a platinum level plan which covers students both in College Park as well as nationally through the insurance company’s provider network.  

Waiver of Health Insurance Requirement

Students who do not wish to retain the SHIP must file an online waiver each academic year to have the charge removed from their tuition bill. This is referred to as a “hard waiver.”  

The waiver website opens in mid-May and remains open until September 15th.  A waiver is required each academic year without exception.  The waiver must be submitted online.  Providing insurance information at the University Health Center does not substitute for the waiver requirement. Once the waiver is received and approved, the insurance charge is reversed on the student bill. If no waiver is received, the charge will remain on the bill and the student will be enrolled in the UMD-offered plan.  The premium is billed annually and provides coverage between August and the following July. (Students may also proactively enroll in the plan through the website.)

State law mandates that retroactive terminations are not available. The University must pay the applicable subscription charges for a member covered under the plan until the insurer receives the notice that the member is no longer eligible for coverage. This means that all waivers must be completed on time. If you do not waive coverage by the deadlines, you will be held responsible for all charges made by the carrier. There are no exceptions.

For a waiver to be approved, the level of benefits provided to the student through a health insurance plan must be fully compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Coverage is considered comparable if it provides students with access to local providers and a range of services in the state of Maryland. Services include, but are not limited to, preventive and non-urgent care, emergency care, surgical care, inpatient and outpatient hospitalization, lab work, diagnostic X-rays, physical therapy and chiropractic care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Students who waive the UMD Student Health Insurance Plan are solely responsible for all medical expenses and bills incurred.

No Waiver for International Undergraduates

Beginning in the Fall of 2017, all newly admitted international undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in the UMD Student Health Insurance Plan and cannot waive.  This practice was implemented to insure that international students, who are not subject to requirements of the Affordable Care Act, receive appropriately comprehensive insurance coverage.

How UMD Communicates with Students about SHIP

All communication about the insurance requirement is sent directly to the student using the contact information that is on file with the University.  Parents and families are encouraged to communicate with their student about these important emails.  It is also important for the party responsible for the student bill to regularly check the bill for charges that may appear after the initial tuition and fees are posted so as not to overlook the insurance premium charge.

Important Health Insurance Requirement Dates

May: Waiver site opens, initial communication goes to students
Summer: Health insurance premium is applied to student bills.
Summer: UMD sends a letter to incoming first year students and parents which includes information about the waiver process.
Summer and Fall: UMD sends email reminders to students who do not complete the waiver.  Once the waiver is completed, the premium is removed from the student bill.
September 15: Waiver site closes.
September: Late waivers may be accepted prior to the official enrollment date in October by presenting in person to the University Health Center Business Office.
October 1: Final enrollment in the plan is completed with retroactive coverage to August 1 and waiver is no longer permitted.

To Appeal an Insurance Charge

After the enrollment date in October, appeals must be directed to First Risk Advisors who will render a final decision. First Risk can be contacted customerservice@firstriskadvisors.com.

The Hard Waiver process has been reviewed and approved by the University of Maryland Office of the General Counsel and Division of Student Affairs.