Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)
SHIP is Boston University’s insurance plan for students. It is offered through Aetna, a large national health insurer. SHIP may be the best—and most affordable—option for covering your health care outside of Student Health Services (SHS). While we automatically enroll all students in SHIP, Boston University has no financial stake in promoting this plan. Your premiums are automatically billed to your student account and 100% of this amount is paid directly to Aetna.
Find out more about SHIP coverage and enrollment and rates below.
SHIP offers three key advantages that make it ideal for a college student who is likely to want high-quality providers in the Boston area while keeping out-of-pocket costs as low as possible.
If you need to see a doctor, fill a prescription, or go to the emergency room, you’ll pay a fixed dollar amount when you use a network provider. The plan pays the rest. Copays keep your out-of-pocket costs predictable and manageable. For example, if you need to see a behavioral health provider, you will pay just a $10 copay for each visit—and you have unlimited sessions under SHIP.
You may also pay a deductible and coinsurance for certain visits, procedures, and diagnostic tests like x-rays. The plan has fixed coinsurance—generally 20%—but the amount you pay will vary. For example, after you meet your deductible, you’ll pay $20 coinsurance for a $100 lab test, but $40 coinsurance for a $200 visit to the hospital.
You’ll find a wide network of participating providers in Boston. Many are affiliated with Boston University and are just a walk, bus ride, or few T stops away. Search the Preferred Provider Network directory here.
SHIP offers two coverage options: Basic and Plus. Both options are part of Aetna’s nationwide Preferred Provider Network, so even if you’re home for the summer or away from campus and need health care, you’ll likely be able to find a nearby network provider. Also, if you want to use an out-of-network provider, the plan will still pay benefits—but your costs will be higher.
All full-time, three-quarter time, and international undergraduate and graduate students are automatically enrolled in SHIP coverage. Part-time students and students enrolled in online courses only may be eligible for SHIP coverage, but will need to enroll.
Depending on your student type, you may be able to waive SHIP coverage if have other coverage that meets ACA requirements. See Waiving SHIP section below to learn more.
If you have dependents
Dependent coverage is available only through the Plus SHIP option. Eligible dependents include your spouse and dependent children up to age 26.
Full-Year and Fall- or Spring-Summer Coverage
Depending on your eligibility, you may elect to have SHIP coverage for the entire year, Fall-only, or Spring-only, as follows:
Full-year and Fall-only Coverage
Most students will be automatically enrolled in full-year SHIP Basic coverage.
Students who meet either of the two following requirements may be eligible to request Fall-only SHIP coverage:
- If you are enrolled in fewer courses than the three-quarter time or full-time course load, or are not enrolled for the Spring semester, you may submit the Premium Adjustment Request Form.
- If you’ve been approved for MassHealth or a subsidized health plan through Massachusetts Health Connector prior to January 1, you may submit the Certification of Coverage Form.
If you’re only enrolled for courses during the Spring semester, your coverage will begin on January 1 and continue through the end of the plan year on August 22.
If you’re considering choosing SHIP, you have two options:
- Basic – generally meets the needs of most students, and is the option in which BU automatically enrolls eligible students.
- Plus – provides a higher level of coverage for a higher cost, and also offers coverage for dependents.
Both options cover 100% of the cost of eligible preventive care obtained from an in-network provider.
A Closer Look at SHIP
Depending on which SHIP you choose, your costs will vary. The chart below shows you what you pay for in-network benefits obtained through the Aetna Preferred Provider Network, in both SHIP options.
|Out-of-Pocket Maximum||$5,500||Individual: $3,000 / Family: $12,700|
|Premiums||See rate sheets below||See rate sheets below|
|Provider visit copay||$40||$25|
|Eligible preventive care copay||$0, no deductible||$0, no deductible|
|Prescription drug copay||
|Behavioral health provider visit copay||$10||$10|
|Laboratory test or X-ray coinsurance||20% of the negotiated charge, after the deductible has been met||$0|
|Emergency room visit copay||$150||$100|
|Hospital admission||20% coinsurance, after the deductible has been met||$250|
|Physical therapy visit||$40||$25|
*The deductible only applies for certain expenses. See the Plan Design and Benefits Summary to learn more.
For more information about each option, review Aetna’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage for the Basic option and Plus option.
Not Sure Which Option Is Right for You?
Review Your Health Insurance Decision Guide to learn more about SHIP coverage and both options.
Rates and Enrollment
Boston University automatically enrolls students in the Basic option. If you are satisfied with this coverage, no action is required. You will automatically be billed for the SHIP premium through your student account. Students upgraded to the PLUS plan are not automatically enrolled in PLUS the following year and can choose to upgrade every year.
However, you must take action by the deadline if you wish to:
- Elect the Plus option
- Cover dependents (available only through the SHIP Plus option). Dependent coverage does not carry forward and the dependent enrollment application will need to be submitted every year.
- Waive SHIP coverage. If you are eligible to waive SHIP below and do so by the deadline, you will not be billed for the SHIP premium. Please see the Waiving SHIP section below for additional information.
See links to Rate and Date sheets below.
Qualifying Life Events
If you experience a qualifying life event, you may change your coverage after the deadline. However, you must provide documentation within 31 days of the event in order to add SHIP coverage.
Qualifying life events include:
- Changes to your parent’s or spouse’s plan
- Getting married or divorced
- Aging out of coverage provided by a parent’s plan
- Loss of a job
Rates and Enrollment
Your SHIP coverage rates depend upon your school and program. See the table below to find your Rate and Date Sheet, which also contains your coverage period.
Are you a graduate student who receives a trainee stipend or research/teaching income? Read the SHIP FAQs to learn about the health insurance credit.
|Campus||Student Rate and Date Sheet|
|Charles River Campus (CRC)||Review the Plan Guide for your school and campus.|
|Medical Campus (MED)||Review the Plan Guide for your school and campus.|
If you’ve reviewed Your Health Insurance Decision Guide and decided SHIP is not for you, you may be able to waive coverage. However, international students may only waive coverage if they are enrolled under a U.S. Based plan that meets the comparable coverage requirements.
Am I eligible to Waive SHIP Coverage?
If you have other coverage available, such as through a parent’s plan, you may be eligible to waive SHIP coverage. If you do so by the deadline, you will not be charged the SHIP premium.
To be eligible to waive SHIP coverage, you must:
• Be enrolled under a U.S. Based plan that meets the comparable coverage requirements. Use the checklist below to determine comparability.
Please see the Changing Your Automatic SHIP Enrollment section for more detailed instructions for waiving SHIP.
Comparable Coverage Checklist
Required Plan Element or Benefit to Qualify as Comparable Coverage*
Does Your Plan Have It?
|A United States-based company (unless student is studying outside the United States).|
|No lifetime dollar limit on coverage.|
|Preventive care coverage without coinsurance.|
|Primary care coverage.|
|Emergency room coverage.|
|Coverage for surgery (in hospital and outpatient).|
|Coverage for hospital stays.|
|Coverage for outpatient medical visits (e.g. specialist visit).|
|Coverage for outpatient behavioral health visits (e.g. counseling or psychiatry visits), including those for substance abuse.|
|Coverage for behavioral health hospitalization.|
|Coverage for prescription drugs.|
*Required services (as listed in the above checklist) must be provided at a location within a reasonable distance of the greater Boston area. Health plans with a closed network of providers and accessible for only emergency services, such as out-of-area HMOs, EPOs, or Medicaid products generally are not acceptable.
Note: You are responsible for determining whether your current coverage meets ACA requirements. However, if Boston University becomes aware that your current plan doesn’t meet ACA criteria, Boston University may decline your request for a waiver.
Think Before You Waive
Even if your current coverage meets ACA requirements, SHIP may be a more affordable and convenient option. Read Your Health Insurance Decision Guide to make an informed decision about the coverage that is best for you.
Changing Your Automatic SHIP Enrollment
You may elect to change your SHIP coverage, either before the enrollment deadline or mid-year if you experience a qualifying life event (see Rates and Enrollment above).
- Before the open enrollment deadline, you may add dependents on Aetna Student Health’s website.
- After the open enrollment deadline, the student will need to contact Student Accounting (email email@example.com).
How to Waive SHIP
You must waive your SHIP coverage by the date listed in your Rate and Date Sheet. If you decide to waive coverage, you must do so by September 30.
|Campus||Student Rate and Date Sheet|
|Charles River Campus (CRC)||Locate the Plan Guide for your school and campus.|
|Medical Campus||Locate the Plan Guide for your school and campus.|
Complete the comparable coverage checklist under the “Waiving SHIP” section of this page.
Follow these simple instructions to apply for the enrollment waiver:
- If your current plan meets all of the requirements on the comparable coverage checklist, you can submit your waiver on the Student Link by selecting “Money Matters,” then “Medical Insurance.”
- Select “Medical Insurance Status – Confirm/Waive” and complete the waiver form.
- Receive confirmation of enrollment waiver
- You’ll see the SHIP premium credited to your student account immediately.
Plan Documents and Other Resources
Find all the information you need here in order to make an informed decision about SHIP, and to use your coverage well.
|Your Health Insurance Decision Guide|
Aetna Plan Documents
|SHIP Basic Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)|
|SHIP Plus Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)|
|2016 – 2017 Plan Design and Benefits Summary|
|Student Health Services (SHS)||www.bu.edu/shs||617-353-3575|
|Aetna Student Health||www.aetnastudenthealth.com/bu||800-966-7772|
|Aetna DocFind® (Provider Finder)||www.aetna.com|
|Student Accounting Services||www.bu.edu/studentaccountingservices/||617-353-2264|
Still Have Questions?
Insurance Coordinator Karen Goyette serves as your own personal, on-campus advocate for all health insurance-related matters when you enroll in SHIP. You can send a message to Karen regarding health-insurance related matters, billing questions, or to schedule appointment. Simply access the Patient Connect portal, select “Messages”, and the “Insurance” messaging option.