UC parents of UC students: Waive out of UC SHIP?

My son is starting at UCSD this Fall, and I’m trying to figure out what we should do about health insurance, and whether he should waive out of UC SHIP.  I work at Cal, and the whole family is currently insured through my employer, i.e. UC Berkeley at Anthem Blue Cross (the “UC Care” plan).  There must be other families like ours! Have others in similar situations made use of UC SHIP? Did you drop the dependent from your insurance or keep both?   I would like it to be the case that he can easily access medical care in San Diego if needed, but if he needed major medical treatment, I imagine he might want to receive care here in the Bay Area, so we could take care of him at home.   I’m not understanding the UC SHIP’s *or* Anthem’s webpages that seem relevant here. Can you help?

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When my child was in college back east, we had Anthem Blue Shield and I found the "Away From Home Care" department to be VERY knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful.  The number is (800) 622-9402.  https://www.blueshieldca.com/bsca/documents/find-a-provider/A12075-LG_9-...

Hello! If you can afford it, I would recommend that you opt IN to the SHIP plan in san Diego. I work at UHS at UCB and I can't tell you how many times students arrive for care and then there is a delay because we need to refer them out because of their insurance. Then, of course, they have no idea where to go for lab work because they weren't informed about all that stuff, and often, their primary care provider is far away and their office is overworked and unhelpful. Also, they may avoid care because they don't want to ask you (read: STD, birth control, etc.) 

If you can't afford it, then I would strongly recommend that part of your child going to school orientation include where they would go for labwork, what is their primary care provider willing to do remotely, etc. Certainly UC Care is a great plan, but when someone feels sick is not the time to try to figure out how do you get the proper doc to order needed labs and where is the lab to go to?

My daughter is going away to school this year, but is much closer to home (1 hour) than San Diego is. Remember that even though you think you'd have your child fly home for care...what if they are in no condition to fly? Or what if they need something more urgently? Since she is closer, she is much better able to access her care with her usual docs in the bay area. My other kid is looking at schools in So Cal, so I will be making different decisions for him when the time comes!

Last bit of advice: there are services that ALL students can access at Tang regardless of whether they have SHIP or not, and there are some services that they cannot access. See if you can figure out what those services are at UCSD. I understand that it might be hard to figure out on line. 

And, yes, the odds that your kid will need care while in school is remote--they are probably young and healthy! And, my viewpoint is biased because I'm the one that sees the cases that are problematic. (For example, we had one person who needed to fly back across the state because her health insurance was only good on the military base her mom was stationed at!) And yes, SHIP is expensive, but it is comprehensive care and a great plan. 

My daughter started UCSD last year and we waived SHIP. She pays a small fee for RAFT, which I think is required if you waive SHIP. It allows her to use student health for minor stuff. It’s a really nice combo for her to be able to access both student health for small stuff and Kaiser if needed for bigger stuff. 

If your student's health insurance is covered by your employer you don't need UCSHIP, but you will have an option to pay a small amount so that he can access the campus health center. The full UCSHIP is a good option for students whose parents have to pay out of pocket for their insurance, and is often covered by financial aid.

Hi, well I have a *sort of* similar situation: daughter with heart condition, now a sophomore at UCLA. Our private Blue Shield insurance covers her for annual care at Children's Hospital Oakland, which is now under the UCSF/Benioff umbrella. But try as I might, I could not find a way for her to have unfettered access to medical care at UCLA  *and* medical care that would be guaranteed to cover her at UCSF/Benioff. The UC SHIP is *supposed* to cover them at UC-related facilities (like UCSF) when they are away from campus in summer, but in practice I could not make it work. On the other hand, if you don't have UC SHIP it seems kind of impossible to get seen on campus by doctors, or to get any dental care there. I know you don't want to hear this but: we ended up keeping both policies.  

I hope this is not too late.  My son is starting at UCLA.  His pediatrician and also an NP at another group, told us they kept both insurances (PPO and SHIP) when their kids went to college.  I didn't really understand why, exactly, but a previous poster explained it well, and I am glad you asked the question.  

When I first attended Cal in the late 80s, I

was in my 20s and SHIP met my care needs perfectly. Tang even referred me out when I needed a procedure they were not able to do at the campus health center. The one aspect of the care I received that I didn’t like was the inability to have a doctor with whom I could build a relationship; each visit I saw whomever was available, despite my attempts to book follow up appointments with the doctor who had originally seen me.

I returned to Cal for a PhD while in my 40s. By this time I had a complex health history, including the need to be monitored in case my cancer returned. I had a team of medical professionals at UCSF whom I liked and with whom I had been working for some time. At that life stage I couldn’t imagine going to student health services,  needing special permission to be seen by my UCSF care team, and having to constantly explain my health history to practitioners who had limited contact with patients my age, let alone patients who had the conditions I did/do. 

In light of my experiences, I would agree that SHIP offers excellent, comprehensive, and appropriate care for students in their teens-20s who are essentially healthy and require only routine, primarily preventative, care. However, if your child has a complex history, and especially if they need ongoing mental health services, I wouldn’t rely on SHIP for primary coverage.