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To:     Deans, Directors and Department Chairs

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

In August 2009, the UNC Board of Governors approved the implementation of a “hard waiver” student health insurance plan on all sixteen 4-year campuses beginning in fall 2010. 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 $863.50 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 was no longer be offered as an employer provided plan and enrollees do not have access to COBRA upon discontinuation of the plan.

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 2015-2016 enrollment process for the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program as well as other pertinent information. The 2015-2016 policy year is from August 1, 2015 through July 31, 2016.

For the 2015-2016 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 $3,234.00 ($269.50 per month). The Campus Health Fee is $190.00 per semester ($380.00 per academic year) for fiscal year 2015-2016.

Some important changes to note for the upcoming year:

Retroactive enrollments or terminations exceeding 60 days will no longer be allowed for administrative errors beginning August 1, 2015. Exceptions for extenuating circumstances (delays due to death, hospitalization, etc.) will only be considered.

The following policy, procedures, forms and manual (see links below) 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 919-843-4095
Disbursement Services 919-962-0213
Student Accounts and University Receivables 919-962-1368
BCBSNC Customer Assistance 919-967-5900

Note: This memo was also sent to Human Resource Officers and Secondary Contacts and University Business Managers.

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