Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

What is the quarterly Student Life Fee that appears on my student account? Is there a difference between the Student Life Fee and the U-SHIP health insurance fee?

The Student Life Fee is a mandatory fee, assessed each quarter of registration at the University of Chicago. The fee supports various aspects of the student life experience including certain services provided by Student Health and Counseling Services through the Student Health Service and the Student Counseling Service.

The U-SHIP health insurance premium is assessed if you are enrolled in the University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP) which is made available to University of Chicago students through UnitedHealthcare Student Resources. Unless you specifically waive U-SHIP each year, you will be assessed this quarterly insurance premium on your Bursar account. 

I already have a doctor in the Chicago area who coordinates my health care. So why should I have to pay the mandatory Student Life Fee?

In addition to health and wellness services, the Student Life Fee supports other areas of student life. More details about what is covered can be found on the Student Life Fee webpage.

Students enrolled in U-SHIP who are studying in Chicago or within 50 miles of campus must begin by going to the Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service to receive care. The Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service serve as the "primary care provider" for those enrolled in U-SHIP. The Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service will coordinate your care and give you a referral, when necessary, to a specialist. One referral is needed per medical condition. Without a referral from the Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service, you will be assessed a non-referral penalty of $50 for each outside visit.

Even if you are not enrolled in U-SHIP you are encouraged to utilize the services of the Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service. Both offices provide high-quality care and are conveniently located right here on campus. The Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service have tailored their services to meet the varied needs of college and graduate students. These services include: a travel clinic for students preparing to study or conduct research abroad, a women's health clinic, nutrition/healthy eating resources, alcohol/substance abuse counseling, dissertation support groups, and health education events via the Health Promotion and Wellness office. 

If I have access to the Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service because I pay the mandatory Student Life Fee, then why do I also need to purchase insurance?

The University requires all registered students to have health insurance coverage either through U-SHIP or through an alternate comparable insurance. Having health insurance is especially important for decreasing your out-of-pocket cost for medical services that are not provided by the Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service—e.g., getting a prescription filled, seeing a specialist, in-patient or out-patient surgery, x-rays, lab tests, etc.

What is the deadline for making my decision to enroll in or waive U-SHIP?

Each year, all registered students are automatically enrolled in the University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP). Therefore, you must confirm U-SHIP enrollment annually, add dependents, or waive enrollment in U-SHIP no later than 5pm of the fourth Friday of the first quarter of registration for the academic year. Failure to do so will result in enrollment in U-SHIP coverage by default, and you will be responsible for paying the annual premium. To confirm or waive enrollment in U-SHIP go to: http://studentinsurance.uchicago.edu.

How do I know if I am enrolled in U-SHIP this year?

You can find this information through your myUChicago account at: https://my.uchicago.edu. Again, unless you take action to waive U-SHIP each year, you will be automatically enrolled in U-SHIP coverage and assessed the annual premium on your student account.

How do I sign up for Dental and Vision plans? Can I do this even if I am not signed up for U-SHIP?

Yes, you can sign up for dental and vision insurance without participating in U-SHIP.  You can get more information on plan options, premium costs, and how to enroll by clicking on the following:
Dental coverage
Vision coverage


For Students Enrolled in U-SHIP

As a U-SHIP enrollee, where do I go to receive health care?

Students enrolled in U-SHIP who are studying in Chicago or within 50 miles of campus must begin by going to the Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service to receive care. The Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service serve as the "primary care provider" for those enrolled in U-SHIP. The Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service will coordinate your care and give you a referral, when necessary, to a specialist. One referral is needed per medical condition. Without a referral from the Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service, you will be assessed a non-referral penalty of $50 for each outside visit. An exception is made in emergency situations (please note there is a fee for using the Emergency Room) or if you are more than 50 miles from campus. For more details see the U-SHIP Policy Guide.

What if I am enrolled in U-SHIP, but I am physically off campus (e.g., studying abroad or at home during an academic break)? Where do I receive my health care?

If you are more than 50 miles away from campus and you need health care, you should find a physician who is in the UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus national network by going to https://www.uhcsr.com/uchicago.  You do not need a referral from the Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service if you are more than 50 miles from campus.  However, please note that even if you are more than 50 miles from campus, preventive care is not covered by U-SHIP (exclusion #23). Rather, preventive care is provided at the Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service through your payment of the Student Life Fee.  During the summer, if you would like to access the Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service, you will need to pay the summer Student Life Fee.

If you are outside of the United States, then you should go to a local physician or hospital in the country in which you are residing. Most likely, you will be expected to pay the doctor in full at the time of service. After receiving care, you can seek reimbursement from UnitedHealthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) by contacting one of the University of Chicago U-SHIP insurance coordinators. It is recommended that you contact UHCSR before you leave to obtain any needed prescription and to learn about your benefits while abroad and what you will need to collect in order to be reimbursed. You may also want to seek preventive care (e.g., annual exams) at the Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service before you leave. Even if you are more than 50 miles from campus, preventive care is not covered by U-SHIP (exclusion #23).

How do I find out if I owe money for services I have received?

Students can check their UnitedHealthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) account balance by visiting www.UHCSR.com/uchicago and creating an online account. You may also visit one of the on-campus insurance coordinators.

I was examined in the ER and referred to a specialist. Why did I get a referral penalty for seeing a specialist?

The Student Health Service and Student Counseling Service serve as the gatekeepers for those covered under U-SHIP. Therefore, if you are covered under U-SHIP you must obtain a referral from a Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service provider first before seeking specialty care. One referral is needed per medical condition. An exception is made in an emergency or if you are physically more than 50 miles from campus. For more details, see the U-SHIP Policy Guide.

Can you back-date my referral because I was not aware of the referral policy? 

It is not the policy of the Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service to back-date referrals. You must call or make an appointment to see a Student Health Service or Student Counseling Service provider to discuss your situation and obtain a referral in advance.

If I have further questions about U-SHIP, who should I contact?

The University of Chicago has two on-site insurance coordinators. They can be reached at uchicagoadvocates@uhcsr.com or by phone at (773) 834-4543 (option #2).  Their offices are located in the Woodlawn Social Services Center, 950 E. 61st St., Suite 300A, rooms 368 & 370.

For answers to other questions specific to the U-SHIP plan, please also visit: www.UHCSR.com/uchicago .

Is gender reassignment surgery covered by U-SHIP?

Yes. The University of Chicago added gender reassignment surgery to U-SHIP as a covered benefit in the 2013-2014 plan year. Last year a committee of faculty and staff, including experts on transgender issues, researched this benefit and, based on the needs of our campus community and the experiences of peer institutions, they recommended adopting it.

Actuarial review and the experiences of peer institutions indicate that this will not affect the cost of health care coverage for our community. The health plan benefits will be administered according to standards of care influenced by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (http://www.wpath.org/) and health plan coverage limitations.

For additional information regarding the specific procedures covered under this benefit, click here.

For informaton regarding accessing this benefit through your U-SHIP coverage, please contact the on-campus insurance office at uchicagoadvocates@uhcsr.com.


Emergency/After Care

What should I know about using the Emergency Room (ER)?

1. ER services are NOT COVERED under the Student Life Fee; these services will be charged to the student and/or their insurance.

2. The ER is not appropriate for most ear aches, stomach flu, or sore throats.

3. If you are unsure whether you should go to the ER, call Student Health Service at 773-702-4156 or Student Counseling Service at 773-702-9800 during hours of operation. If you are calling after hours you can reach Student Health Service at 773-702-1915 or Student Counseling Service at 773-702-3625. 

4. If you do go to the ER it is important that you tell the ER staff you are a student, and that you take your insurance card with you.

When should I use the Nurse Advice Line? What number do I call?

The Nurse Advice Line can address urgent medical concerns that cannot wait until the Student Health Service opens.  The nurses will be able to provide advice for alleviating symptoms or for shortening the length of your illness.  

To contact the Nurse Advice Line, call (773) 702-1915. (If you have a severe emergency, please go directly to the ER and do not call this number.)