Waiving the SHBP

 

The process for waiving the Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) differs for U.S.-based students and international students. Please refer to the information that is relevant to you: 

 

1. New and Returning Students
2. New International Students Based Outside the U.S.
3. New International Students Based in the U.S.
4. Enrolling in the SHBP for International Students Returning to UMass for Spring '21
5. FAQ

 

The deadline to waive the SHBP for the Spring 2021 semester is 2/28/21.
Waivers and enrollments can take 10 to 14 business days to process, depending on volume.

 

1. New and Returning Students

To waive the SHBP for the Spring semester, new and returning students have three options:

  • Go to www.spire.umass.edu; do not login
  • Select the Health Insurance Waiver link (lower right)
  • Choose the 'Waive' option
  • Complete and submit the waiver

-or-

-or-

A confirmation email is sent within minutes of successfully completing the waiver request online. Print and save this email as proof of your waiver. If you don’t receive a confirmation email, call Wellfleet customer service, (800) 633-7867, for help. Approval can take up to three days.

 

2. New International Students Based Outside the U.S.

New international students studying remotely outside of the U.S. can waive the SHBP by certifying that they have insurance or socialized medicine that provides coverage in that location. If the waiver meets the UMass requirements, the insurance fee will be removed from the tuition bill.

If you are a new international student studying remotely outside of the U.S. and you wish to waive the SHBP, here's how:

3. New International Students Based in the U.S.

International students studying in person, remotely or on-line and residing on campus or anywhere in the United States 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. US-based international students seeking a waiver must complete an individual insurance plan review before the end of the Add/Drop period.

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.

 

4. Enrolling in the SHBP for International Students Returning to UMass for Spring 2021

If you are an international student who waived the Student Health Plan for Fall semester and are no longer studying overseas, you will need to enroll in the Student Health plan. This can be done by completing the Enrollment Form. This completed form should be sent to patientservices@uhs.umass.edu. All students are required to have comparable health insurance that is based out of the United States and covers visits at UHS and the immediate area.

 

5. SHBP Waiver FAQs

 

Eligibility

Waiver Submission and Approval

 

Eligibility

Who can waive the SHBP?

  • 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.
  • International students studying remotely or on-line outside of the US, or who are enrolled in an employer- or embassy-based health insurance plan from the US (see below for more information).

What plans cannot be used to waive the SHBP?

  • 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 plans cannot be used to waive the SHBP, except for students studying remotely in their home countries.

Can I enroll in the SHBP in the spring if I waived it in the fall?

  • Yes. Students who need to enroll in the SHBP after waiving in the fall should contact Patient Services at 413-577-5192. Should your current situation change, such as losing your private health insurance or your enrollment status changes from studying remotely/online to studying on campus, then UHS will work with students to be sure they have comparable insurance coverage.

How do I know if my health insurance plan is comparable coverage to the SHBP?

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.

Waiver Submission and Approval

How do I know if my waiver request was received?

  • 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 Wellfleet customer service, (800) 633-7867, for help.

How long will it take for my waiver to be approved?

  • Approval can take up to three days.

What if my waiver request is rejected?

  • 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.

Do I have to submit the waiver again in the spring?

  • Waivers submitted during the fall semester apply to the entire academic year. Only new or transfer students need to submit the online waiver request for the spring semester.

I have more questions, whom do I contact?

  • Contact UHS Patient Services: 413-577-5192; patientservices@uhs.umass.edu