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To: University Business Managers

From: Dwayne Pinkney, Vice Provost for Finance and Academic Planning
Dennis Press, Assistant Vice Chancellor and University Controller
Mary Covington, M.D., Executive Director, Campus Health Services

The term “hard waiver” means any graduate or undergraduate student meeting three specific criteria (enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours if an undergraduate or 1 credit hour if a graduate student, degree-seeking, and eligible to pay the student health fee) is required to show evidence of an existing “creditable coverage” health insurance policy or purchase a creditable insurance policy OR enroll in the UNC system-wide plan. Graduate students enrolled in the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP), frequently referred to as the RA/TA Health Insurance Plan, must submit information to verify enrollment in the GSHIP insurance plan at or they will be charged $802.00 per semester on their University account.

The UNC-Chapel Hill GSHIP plan is a separate plan from the student health insurance plan. Graduate students functioning as Research Assistants (RA), Teaching Assistants (TA), Fellows, or Trainees should continue to be enrolled in the GSHIP plan through their academic program. Due to ongoing state and federal regulatory changes in health care and the insurance marketplace, UNC General Administration has been reviewing all University-sponsored health plans system-wide. Effective with the 2014-2015 plan year, the RA/TA Plan can no longer be offered as an employer provided plan and thus enrollees will not have access to COBRA upon discontinuation of the plan. The discontinuation of COBRA benefits applies to all current and past plan year enrollees and includes those currently enrolled in the COBRA plan. Current enrollees in COBRA must find another option for their health plan needs by July 31, 2014, to avoid gaps in coverage. Current enrollees were notified by Blue Cross Blue Shield NC of this change in benefit structure at the end of June.

Other plan benefits remain the same and require fewer out of pocket expenses than the system-wide health insurance plan so the UNC system-wide mandatory health insurance plan cannot be substituted for the GSHIP plan.

The insurance program for graduate students is separate from insurance programs for Clinical Fellows, Postdoctoral Trainees, and Postdoctoral Research Associates. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide information regarding the 2014-2015 enrollment process for the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program as well as other pertinent information. The 2014-2015 policy year is from Aug. 1, 2014, through July 31, 2015.

For the 2014-2015 policy year, the minimum prescribed compensation amount for services that a student must receive is $2,667. The premium cost per student for annual coverage during the current policy year under the program, provided through Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, is $3,082.56 ($256.88 per month). The Campus Health Fee is $208.00 per semester ($416.00 per year) for fiscal year 2014-2015.

Some important changes to note for the upcoming year:

  • The new policy year 2014-2015 will open in ConnectCarolina on Aug. 4 for enrollment of students. Computer-based training for the system will begin in July. More information will be forthcoming about the transition.
  • Premium expenses for a particular month are prorated among each student’s salary, and non-service award sources of the same month. Previously expenses were prorated based on sources of the previous month.

The following links to policy, procedures, forms and manual provide detailed information about the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan. Please review all documents.

The information in this memorandum is the result of extensive discussions among academic and administrative departments concerning appropriate procedures and practices for the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program. Your additional comments regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of the procedures and practices are most welcome as efforts to improve the program administration.

Please notify the following individuals regarding your questions or comments. Thank you for your continued efforts regarding the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program.

Contact Information
Issue Contact Phone Email
Process Emily Coble 919-962-1601
Process Deon Hallback 919-962-7793
Policy Dwayne Pinkney 919-962-1091
Campus Health Services Mary Covington, M.D. 919-966-9176
Office of Sponsored Research Director, Post Award Services and Cash Management 919-962-4676
Online Process (technical) Sockie West
Elizabeth Parker
Disbursement Services 919-962-0213
Student Accounts and University Receivables 919-962-1368
Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina Customer Assistance 919-967-5900

Note: A PDF of this memo can be found at:

This memo is also being sent to Deans, Directors, Department Chairs and School/Division HR Officers and Secondary Contacts.

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