Why Consider a Student Health Insurance Plan?

Student health insurance or benefits plans (often abbreviated as “SHIPs” or “SHBPs”) are health insurance plans offered by colleges and universities and are specifically tailored to the needs of college students like you.

  • Broad coverage: These plans typically offer superior coverage at a lower cost. The range of coverage options and continuity of care under a SHIP is often more comprehensive and affordable than conventional insurance plans.
  • Mobility: These plans take into account your mobility as a student by remaining in place while a student studies abroad  or during anticipated breaks in an academic year.
  • Access to Services: In most cases, you can use these plans to access primary care and mental health care resources affiliated with your college or university health/wellness center.
  • Alternative to Medicaid: While millions of college students are eligible for Medicaid due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), coverage provided by Medicaid sometimes lacks portability, which may make health care access a challenge while at school.


  • A broad network designed to meet the diverse needs of students.
  • Coverage comparable to Gold or Platinum level plans found on the health insurance exchange.
  • Worldwide coverage that also includes travel assistance and emergency air transportation.
  • Low out-of-pocket costs (co-pays and deductibles).
  • Often includes dental and/or vision benefits.
  • Benefits are often integrated with accredited student health and counseling services specializing in meeting the unique preventive and therapeutic needs of undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Local area coverage for students attending school away from home (not always available on a family’s plan or under Medicaid).

Continuity of Coverage

  • No disruption in coverage enrollment and availability of benefits between semesters or while traveling over summer.
  • SHIPs run year-round.
  • Continuing coverage may be available when students need to take a leave of absence from their studies.

Cost to You

  • Out-of-pockets costs are often substantially lower than a comparable employee or marketplace plan.
  • SHIP premium costs can be included in financial aid awards, reducing the financial burden of monthly payments.
  • Check with your institution for full details about costs.

If you need help figuring out navigating your insurance options, reach out to your school; they are there to provide useful information and help you navigate the health insurance options available to you.