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To:       Deans, Directors and Department Chairs, University Business Managers, Campus Finance Unit Leads
From:   Kate McAnulty, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Graduate School;  Ken Pittman, Executive Director, Campus Health

In 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 Health Fee) is required to show evidence of coverage through an existing “creditable” health insurance policy or purchase a creditable insurance policy OR enroll in the UNC System Student Health Insurance Plan.

Graduate students enrolled in the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP), frequently referred to as the RA/TA Health Insurance Plan, must submit an online waiver to using their GSHIP insurance as evidence of coverage or their University account will be charged each semester for the UNC System Health Insurance Plan available to all undergraduate and graduate students.

The UNC Chapel Hill GSHIP plan is a separate insurance plan from the UNC System Health Insurance Plan often referred to as Student Blue.  Graduate students functioning as Research Assistants (RA), Teaching Assistants (TA), Fellows, or Trainees should continue to be enrolled in the GSHIP plan each semester through their academic program. RA/TAs should not enroll themselves in the UNC System Student Health Insurance Plan (Student Blue) available to all undergraduates and graduate students.

Due to ongoing state and federal regulatory changes in health care and the insurance marketplace, effective with the 2014-2015 plan year, the RA/TA Plan is no longer offered as an employer provided plan and enrollees do not have access to COBRA upon discontinuation of the plan.

Other GSHIP plan benefits remain the same and require fewer out of pocket expenses than the UNC System Student Health Insurance Plan. (Student Blue) The Student Blue 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 2021-22 enrollment process for the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP) as well as other pertinent information. The 2021-22 policy year is from August 1, 2021 through July 31, 2022.

For the 2021-22 policy year the minimum prescribed compensation amount for services that a student must receive is $5,700.00. The premium cost per student for annual coverage provided through Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, is $4223.04 per year or $351.92 per month.  This premium amount is as always subject to anticipated final approval from the North Carolina Department of Insurance.  The Campus Health Fee is $205.08 per semester ($410.16 per academic year) for fiscal year 2021-22.

Please note the following:

Blue Cross will not automatically waive graduate students that are enrolled in the GSHIP insurance. Students must complete an online waiver or be charged for the UNC System Student Health Insurance Plan.  The fall waiver deadline is September 10, 2021 and the spring waiver deadline is January 31, 2022.

To ensure students receive their GSHIP Blue Cross ID card prior to August 1st the department must enroll their RA/TA’s into GSHIP with ample time for them to receive their cards.  Enrollment must be completed even for those students currently on the GSHIP. Please note that students must be enrolled in classes in order for their GSHIP enrollment to be active.  If GSHIP enrollments are not received by Blue Cross prior to August 15, 2021, students will receive a HIPAA certificate from Blue Cross stating coverage terminated July 31, 2021.  If they feel they have received the letter in error, they will be directed to their academic program/department for any questions concerning receipt of this letter.

Please note that retroactive enrollments or terminations exceeding 60 days from August 1, 2021 will no longer be allowed for administrative errors.  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.


GSHIP Enrollment Form v 2021-2022

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