Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP)

Massachusetts requires college students to have comprehensive health insurance. 

The Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) sponsored by UMass Amherst offers coverage for the academic year through Consolidated Health Plans. The SHBP meets or exceeds state requirements. UMass Amherst has elected to voluntarily configure plan benefits to comply with regulations issued by the federal Department of Health and Human Services as required by the Affordable Care Act for fully-insured student health insurance plans. 

For SHBP subscribers  |  How do I enroll?  |  What does it cost? |  Coverage dates  |  ID cards  |  Waiver eligibility  |  Waiving the SHBP

For SHBP subscribers

For complete plan details or information about your enrollment and claims, go to the Consolidated Health Plans website and select UMass Amherst from the drop-down menu.

How do I enroll?

Enrollment is on a semester basis. If you are covered both semesters, that equals a full year of coverage.

Automatic enrollment

Those taking five or more credits as a matriculated student in a day academic program are automatically enrolled in the individual SHBP each semester and charged on the semester's tuition bill. Enrollment is based on credit count, not full time status. Students wishing to waive SHBP coverage must meet eligibility guidelines and complete the waiver process before the stated deadline.

Optional enrollment

Optional enrollment is available for those who are:

  • matriculated in a day academic program taking fewer than five credits per semester
  • graduate students matriculated in a day academic program who've paid the Continuous Enrollment Fee for the semester
  • matriculated into an undergraduate program through Continuing Education or University Without Walls, are legal residents of Massachusetts and are taking six or more credits per semester
  • matriculated into a graduate program through Continuing Education, are legal residents of Massachusetts, and are taking six or more credits per semester
  • online students matriculated into a graduate program through Continuing Education, are legal residents of Massachusetts, and are taking six or more credits per semester

-or-

  • matriculated Continuing Education students participating in off-campus programs

Enrollment forms must be filled out each semester for any optional enrollment.

If you need to complete the enrollment form for the fall semester, it's highly recommended that you submit it in late June or early July. Fall semester coverage begins August 1. For the spring semester, it's best to submit the enrollment form in December; coverage begins mid-January.

You must be registered for at least one credit or have paid the Continuous Enrollment Fee for your enrollment form to be processed. If you haven't registered yet, Patient Services will hold your enrollment form until you do, but processing will be delayed.

Processing can take up to 20 business days. If you submit the enrollment form before the semester's add/drop deadline, enrollment will backdate to the start date of that semester's SHBP. You'll be able to be seen at UHS right away; if you're seen elsewhere or try to obtain prescriptions, you may encounter difficulties until the enrollment is fully processed.

SHBP family plan

The available SHBP family plan covers a student’s spouse or same-sex domestic partner, and/or unmarried dependent children under age 26. To purchase the family plan and enroll eligible family members, you must be personally enrolled in the SHBP. A marriage certificate and birth certificates for qualifying dependents are required to enroll in the family plan.

Family plan enrollments must be renewed every semester by filling out the enrollment form. Fax, email, mail, or deliver the form to  UHS Patient Services before the end of the semester's add/drop period .

Off-campus programs

Matriculated students participating in official off-campus programs are eligible to enroll in the individual SHBP and purchase the SHBP family plan.

Non-matriculated students are not eligible for health plan enrollment.

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What does it cost?

Undergraduate rates

Undergraduate student health fee, SHBP and undergraduate SHBP family plan costs per semester:

Fall 2017:
• Individual SHBP: $772.50
• SHBP family plan*: $3,000

*Family plan purchase requires individual plan purchase

Individual plan total, fall 2017: $772.50
Family plan total, fall 2017: $3,772.50

Spring 2018:
• Individual SHBP: $772.50
• SHBP family plan*: $3,000

*Family plan purchase requires individual plan purchase

Individual plan total, spring 2018: $772.50
Family plan total, spring 2018: $3,772.50

Graduate rates

Graduate student health fee, graduate SHBP and graduate SHBP family plan costs per semester:

Fall 2017:
• Individual student health fee: $374.50
• Individual SHBP: $1,485
• Family student health fee*: $1,239
• SHBP family plan*: $3,000

*Family plan purchase requires individual SHBP purchase and payment of the family student health fee

Individual plan total, fall 2017: $1,859.50
Family plan total, fall 2017: $6,098.50

Spring 2018:
• Individual student health fee: $374.50
• Individual SHBP: $1,485
• Family student health fee*: $1,239
• SHBP family plan*: $3,000

*Family plan purchase requires individual SHBP purchase and payment of the family student health fee

Individual plan total, spring 2018: $1,859.50
Family plan total, spring 2018: $6,098.50

For Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) rates or other questions, call UHS Patient Services, (413) 577-5192.

Coverage dates

The SHBP provides coverage on a semester basis with yearly coverage; effective dates for the 2016 – 2017 coverage period are:

  • Fall 2017 semester: Aug. 1, 2017 – Jan. 14, 2018
  • Spring 2018 semester: Jan. 15, 2018 – July 31, 2018

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ID cards

If you waive the SHBP and remain on another plan, it's imperative that you have a copy of your insurance card. Many plans have separate prescription drug, eye care, flexible spending account (FSA) and/or health savings account (HSA) cards. You must have copies of all cards related to your plan.

The backs of insurance cards are as important as the fronts – be sure you have copies of both sides.

Students who remain enrolled in the SHBP will receive an ID card after the add/drop period. If you need care before getting your card, go to the Consolidated Health Plans website and choose the 'ID Cards' option from the menu at the top. Enter your student ID number, (Example: 123456789) and your date of birth to obtain a printable version of your card.

Important:

If you use Walk-in Care at UHS and receive prescription medications during times when the UHS Pharmacy is closed, bring your insurance card to the pharmacy on the next business day. The medications you received will be billed to your insurance plan. If you do not take this step, you'll be billed for medications received.

Waiver eligibility

UMass Amherst may elect to allow students to waive SHBP participation. Audits are performed; students whose waivers are rejected during an audit will have an opportunity to correct the information submitted. Waivers not accepted by the university will be recharged to the tuition bill. Coverage waived for the fall semester is also automatically waived for the spring semester; you do not need to submit a second waiver request. Only new or transfer students need to submit the online waiver request for the spring semester.

Waiver guidelines

U.S. students with comparable coverage under another major medical insurance plan can waive the SHBP. 

Veterans with benefits that provide access to Veterans' Administration healthcare facilities and those with benefits through the U.S. Family Health Plan, a military coverage, can waive the SHBP. 

Mass Health plans are acceptable; however, enrollment is subject to state eligibility. 

Closed network plans, which provide coverage through a closed network of providers not reasonably accessible in the area where the student attends school, are not eligible for SHBP waiver.

Out-of-state Medicaid plans cannot be used to waive the SHBP.

International students are not automatically eligible to waive the SHBP. However, international students enrolled in an employer- or embassy-based health insurance plan from the United States may be eligible for a waiver. Eligibility is based on federal and state guidelines for the minimum essential coverage needed in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. International students seeking a waiver must complete an individual insurance plan review before the end of the Add/Drop period. See the 'Waiving the SHBP' section, below, for instructions.

Coverage guidelines

  • Must be a United States-based employer health plan, with claims paid in the United States; or embassy/fellowship sponsored student.
  • Cannot be travel insurance.
  • Coverage must be in force for the full time period in which the student is at UMass Amherst.
  • Student coverage cannot be a closed network of providers that would prevent reasonable access to medical services in the area, except in the event of an emergency.
  • No pre-existing condition clause.
  • Annual plan maximum: $500,000.
  • Ambulatory patient services.
  • Emergency services.
  • Hospitalization.
  • Maternity and newborn care.
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.
  • Prescription drugs.
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
  • Laboratory services.
  • Preventive and wellness services, and chronic disease management.
  • Pediatric services.

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Waiving the SHBP

SHBP waivers must be completed before the semester's add/drop date to prevent enrollment and charges.

Instructions for U.S. students

SHBP online waivers for students attending UMass during the fall 2017 semester can be completed beginning July 19, 2017 and must be completed before September 18, 2017.

Online waivers for spring, 2018 new or transfer students can be completed beginning December 15, 2017 and must be completed before February 6, 2018.

If you don't waive by the deadline, you'll remain enrolled in the SHBP and charges will be assessed on the semester's tuition bills.

Waivers submitted during the fall semester apply to the entire academic year. Only students beginning at UMass Amherst as of the spring semester have the option to waive for that semester.

Those who missed the fall waiver deadline can appeal and waive for the spring semester. Direct appeals to:

Patient Services
University Health Services, UMass Amherst
150 Infirmary Way
Amherst, MA 01003

Completing a waiver

  • Go to www.spire.umass.edu
  • Select the Health Waiver page link
  • Click the Online Waiver Site link
  • Complete and submit the waiver form

-or-

  • Go to the Consolidated Health Plans website
  • Choose the 'Enroll/Waive' option
  • Follow the instructions to complete and submit your waiver request

A confirmation email is sent within minutes of successfully completing the waiver request. Print and save this email as proof of your waiver. If you don’t receive a confirmation email, call Consolidated Health Plans' customer service, (800) 633-7867, for help.

Instructions for international students

International students enrolled in an employer-based health insurance plan from the United States may be eligible to waive the SHBP.

To request a review, mail health plan documentation to:

Patient Services
University Health Services, UMass Amherst
150 Infirmary Way, Amherst, MA 01003

-or-

Email documents to patientservices@uhs.umass.edu. Be sure to include your name and contact information in all emails.

UHS' Student Health Benefits Coordinator will review the health plan documentation and notify applicants of their status via email. If approved, UHS will process a paper waiver allowing removal of SHBP charges from the tuition bill. 

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