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Student Health Benefit Plan

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 an overview, review the plan summary.

More in-depth information is available in the SHBP brochure.

How do I enroll?


Automatic enrollment
Those taking five or more credits as a matriculated student in a day academic program are automatically enrolled in the individual SHBP and charged on the semester's tuition bill.

To be eligible, students must have paid the Student Health Fee, also charged on the tuition bill. Health fee requirements differ for students participating in official off-campus programs; see below for details.

Students wishing to waive SHBP coverage must meet eligibility guidelines and complete the waiver process before the stated deadline.

Optional enrollment
Those who are:

A) matriculated in a day (not Continuing Education) academic program taking fewer than five credits per semester;

B) graduate students matriculated in a day (not Continuing Education) academic program who have paid the Continuous Enrollment Fee for the semester;

C) 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;

-or-

D) online students who meet the enrollment guidelines detailed in item C, above,

must pay the Student Health Fee and then are eligible to purchase the SHBP. Come to UHS Patient Services before the end of the Add/Drop period to enroll.

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, the student must be personally enrolled in the SHBP and paid the Student Health Fee. A marriage certificate and birth certificates for qualifying dependents are required to enroll in the family plan. Come to UHS Patient Services before the end of the Add/Drop period to register.

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 without paying the Student Health Fee during the time they are off-campus.

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

What does it cost?

Student Health Fee, Student Health Benefits Plan and Student Family Plan costs per semester:

Fall, 2013:

• Student Health Fee: $327
• Student Health Benefit Plan: $1,377.50
• Student Health Fee/Family: $1,418
• Student Family Plan: $4,377.50

Individual plan total, Fall 2013: $1,704.50
Family plan total, Fall 2013: $5,795.50

Spring, 2014:

• Student Health Fee: $327
• Student Health Benefit Plan: $1,377.50
• Student Health Fee/Family: $1,418
• Student Family Plan: $4,377.50

Individual plan total, Spring 2013: $1,704.50
Family plan total, Spring 2013: $5,795.50

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

Coverage dates

The SHBP provides coverage on an annual basis; effective dates for the 2013– 2014 coverage period are August 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014.

ID cards

Once you’ve enrolled in the SHBP, you'll receive an ID card. Keep this card with you and show it when you go for medical care. If you need care and haven't received your card, go to the Consolidated Health Plans website and choose the 'Online ID Card' option from the menu on the left.

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, including Commonwealth Choice, 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.

International students will automatically be enrolled in the SHBP. However, those already enrolled in an employer-based health insurance plan from the United States may be eligible to waive the SHBP. 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.

Waiving the SHBP


Instructions for U.S. students



SHBP online waivers for new and transfer students starting at UMass with the spring, 2014 semester can be completed beginning Dec. 21, 2013 and should be completed before midnight on March 29, 2014.

If you do not waive within this time period, you will remain enrolled in the SHBP and the full charges will be assessed on the semester's tuition bills.

Appeals should be directed to:
Student Health Benefits Coordinator
University Health Services, UMass Amherst
150 Infirmary Way
Amherst, MA 01003

Waivers submitted during the fall semester apply to the entire academic year. Only students beginning at the university as of the spring semester have the option to waive for that semester. Those who may have missed the fall waiver deadline have the ability to appeal and waive in the spring semester.

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

    or
  • Go to www.chpstudent.com;
  • Start by Selecting UMass Amherst from the drop down box;
  • Next click on the “Waiver” tab located in the center of the page;
  • Enter your Student ID and Date of Birth, click “Continue”;
  • Complete all information as directed; and “Submit”;
  • Your request will NOT be completed until you:
    - Check the box confirming that your information is correct;
    - Provide your electronic signature; and
    - Click the Submit button.

A confirmation e-mail is sent within minutes of successfully completing the waiver request. Print and save this e-mail as proof of you waiver. If you don’t receive a confirmation
e-mail, 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

Submit documents via e-mail to patientservices@uhs.umass.edu.

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

Insurance waivers must be completed before the semester's Add/Drop date to prevent enrollment and charges.


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.


Choosing insurance

There's a lot to think about when choosing insurance coverage.

If you already have coverage, it's important to find out if that plan will meet your needs and state requirements.

For example, your plan may have a high deductible that must be met before benefits begin, or it might not pay for prescription drugs or provide coverage when you're away from home or traveling abroad. And, some plans don't meet the state’s minimum threshold for coverage.

Compare your plan to the SHBP to see which option makes the most sense for you.