Dear New and Current Graduate Students,
We hope your summer is off to a great start! The fall semester is a few months away, but we wanted to share with you some important information about a new University of Maryland student health insurance requirement.
Beginning with academic year 2023-24, if you are a graduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park, who is full time (i.e., enrolled in 48 or more units in a semester or 36 units in a 12-week term), you will be required to have health insurance. To ensure coverage, the university will automatically enroll full-time graduate students in the university-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) each year they are at UMD. Automatic enrollment was supported unanimously by the Graduate Student Government and the Graduate Council to maximize coverage while keeping premiums as low as possible.
Graduate assistants who are appointed by July 31, part-time students, non-degree-seeking students, and students enrolled in certificate programs, exclusively online programs, and/or programs at the Shady Grove campus will not be automatically enrolled in SHIP. They are eligible to purchase SHIP using the voluntary enrollment process.
Why Do I Need Health Insurance?
The purpose of the health insurance requirement is to ensure that our graduate students have affordable access to high-quality healthcare while avoiding unexpected medical bills. These costs can be prohibitive and lead students into debt or even bankruptcy, and cause them to interrupt their studies. For example, the average cost of a 3-day hospital stay in the US can be around $30,000, and fixing a broken leg can cost $7,500.
Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)
SHIP is a reasonably priced insurance plan and provides coverage comparable to other premium insurance plans on the market.
- For Academic Year 2023-24, the annual premium is $2,334 and will automatically be posted to your student account.
- The SHIP insurance carrier is United Healthcare.
- You may begin using your insurance as early as August 1, 2023.
To learn more about the Student Health Insurance Plan coverage details visit umd.myahpcare.com.
What if I Already Have Insurance?
You must waive SHIP by providing proof of comparable insurance coverage (“a waiver”) online at umd.myahpcare.com. Comparable insurance must be compliant with the standards of the US Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will require approval.
- You may apply for a waiver as early as June 15, 2023, and no later than September 30, 2023.
- If you submit a waiver and it is approved, the charge of $2,334 will be removed from your student account.
- If you do not waive by the deadline of September 30, you will remain enrolled and will be responsible for paying the full premium amount.
- You must follow the same waiver process every year you are at UMD, and you will receive notification annually.
For more details about the health insurance policy and the automatic enrollment/waiver process for graduate students, please go to gradschool.umd.edu/health-insurance.
International graduate students who are planning to purchase insurance before arriving in the US should make sure that their plan meets ACA standards. The plan must be filed and approved in the United States and must comply with United States law. If you are unsure whether an insurance plan meets these standards, it would be best to budget for and be enrolled in SHIP.
Plan Administration and Communications
SHIP is administered by Academic HealthPlans (AHP). Communication about the insurance requirement and how to submit a waiver will be sent to graduate students directly from the AHP email address (email@example.com) to your University of Maryland email account. Please do not ignore these communications, especially if you have other acceptable insurance and are planning to submit a waiver. Questions should be directed to Academic HealthPlans Customer Service at help.ahpcare.com.
Associate Provost and Dean, The Graduate School
Director, International Student and Scholar Services
Spyridon S. Marinopoulos, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P
Director, University Health Center
Chief Medical Officer, University of Maryland