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Student Health Insurance Plan for Penn State

Most full and part-time graduate and undergraduate Penn State students are eligible to purchase SHIP for Penn State, even if coverage is not required.

Students eligible for SHIP include:

  • All current undergraduate students enrolled in six or more credit hours
  • Undergraduate students who are enrolled in the Intensive English Communication Program (IECP); or those who participate in a cooperative work experience program as part of their required academic program
  • Penn State College of Medicine Students enrolled in one or more credit hours.  (Including Physician Assistants)
  • Graduate Students enrolled in four or more credit hours (Including Graduate Assistants, Graduate Fellows, and Graduate Trainees)
  •  Graduate Students enrolled in departmental 600, 601, 610 or 611 courses
  • Penn State Law Students enrolled in 6 or more credit hours.
  • International Students (F or J visa holders) enrolled in one or more credit hours

Please note: a change in student registration status that no longer meets the criteria listed above may result in termination of student health insurance benefits.

  • Undergraduate students enrolled in independent study through correspondence classes
  • Undergraduate students enrolled in home study, correspondence, and television courses
  • Individuals not enrolled at Penn State who are currently auditing courses
  • World Campus students

World Campus students are not eligible to purchase the SHIP for Penn State.

Undergraduate students and graduate, law, and medical students without assistantships (domestic and international)

  1. Log on to LionPATH
  2. Go to the Health Insurance page 
  3. Under current coverage year, for International and Medical students, select “Enroll”.  All other students must click "Purchase"
  4. Follow additional instructions to enroll

Graduate assistants, graduate fellows and graduate trainees
(domestic and international)

Graduate Assistants/Graduate Fellows/Graduate Trainees are eligible for subsidized premiums for medical, dental, and vision insurance. New Graduate Assistants/Graduate Fellows/Graduate Trainees are automatically enrolled in the SHIP for Penn State. Students can change  their coverage, add eligible dependents, or update benefit elections in Workday.

Health insurance rates have seen a steady incline nationally over the past decade. This is due in part government policy changes as well as lifestyle changes among the population.

Health care costs have skyrocketed and those costs are passed along to the end consumer—this includes everything from diagnostic tests and procedures to hospital stays and prescription medications. In addition, chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease are on the rise in the U.S. They are expensive and difficult to treat.

All of these factors combined drive the cost of health insurance within the United States.

The undergraduate student population is higher than the graduate student population at Penn State. In a group health insurance plan, the cost of the associated health risks of a few people are spread over an entire group; the more people in the group, the lower the cost to the individual.

 For domestic undergraduate students and graduate students without an assistantship or fellowship, your insurance premium will be paid directly to UnitedHealthcare StudentResources at the time of enrollment and can be paid by credit card or electronic check. Graduate assistants, graduate fellows, and graduate trainees will have their percentage of the insurance premium deducted from their paycheck.

Penn State College of Medicine and International students (F & J visa holders) will be billed on LionPATH by the fall and spring.  New students starting over the summer will be billed on LionPATH.

SHIP policy details are available on the UHCSR website.

Yes, loss of coverage is considered a qualified life event. You will need to provide the Certificate of Credible Coverage or a letter from the insurance company that states that your medical insurance is being terminated and the date of the termination. This letter needs to be received by the Student Health Insurance office within 31 days of the termination date. The letter can be emailed to or faxed to 814-863-1390. The Student Health Insurance office will then provide you with a prorated enrollment form to be completed and returned for processing.

Graduate Assistants and Graduate Fellows

Please log in to Workday and complete a new "Benefit Event." You will be able to upload your Certificate of Credible Coverage directly to the Workday system.

Medical ID cards are available on the UHCSR website. To print your card login and select "My Account."

Dental and vision ID cards are mailed to the address listed in Workday. Please login to review your personal information to ensure this address is correct.

Yes, read the eligible dependent policy on the UHS website then visit the UHCSR website. Select your College or University to get started.

New Graduate Assistants/Graduate Fellows/Graduate Trainees must enroll their dependents through Workday. It is important to note that dependent coverage will remain the same for returning Graduate Assistants/Graduate Fellows/Graduate Trainees each year if they do not elect changes in Workday.

Yes, as long as you are actively attending classes for the first 31 days of a coverage period your coverage will continue through the end of the academic year, typically mid-August, if enrolled in the annual or spring/summer policy. Confirm your exact coverage dates on My Account through UnitedHealthcare StudentResources.

Students must actively attend classes for at least the first 31 days after the date for which coverage is purchased. If you withdraw from school within the first 31 days of the start of classes, you will not be covered under the policy and the full premium will be refunded less claims paid. After 31 days from the start of classes, your coverage will continue through the end of your coverage period.

No, your coverage will continue through the end of your coverage period. Fall coverage terminates December 31, annual and spring/summer coverage terminates at the end of the academic year, typically August 12th.

Medical Go to the UHCSR website. Select your College or University to get started.

Dental (Graduate Assistants/Graduate Fellows only) - For in-network Centre County providers please see  United Concordia’s website.
For in-network providers outside Centre County please see United Concordia’s website for information on the Elite Plus Network.

Vision (Graduate Assistants/Graduate Fellows only) - For in-network providers please see the Highmark Blue Shield website- Click on Find a Doctor or Rx. Click on Find an Eye Care Provider.

The Penn State Student Health Insurance office can attempt to answer general benefit questions based on the current insurance plan policy, however, specific benefits questions should be referred to UnitedHealthcare StudentResources at 888-224-4810.

University Park students and their covered spouse must obtain a referral from University Health Services before receiving any medical care outside of the Student Health Center. Referrals are needed for each diagnosis/condition, and a new referral must be obtained each academic/policy year. If the covered student or their covered spouse does not obtain a referral from UHS, no benefits will be payable. UHS does not provide retroactive referrals.  After a claim denial, you can contact the Student Health Insurance office if you believe a referral is on file with UHS and that the claim was denied incorrectly.

University Health Services will collect your private insurance information and attempt to determine if your policy is active. University Health Services will submit a claim to MOST private insurance plans on your behalf for services rendered at the Student Health Center. Any amount that is not covered by your insurance may be billed to you or your Bursar account after the claim has been processed.

University Health Services does NOT check your insurance plan benefits.

University Health Services can NOT determine if your insurance is accepted or participating

If you would like to know whether or not your insurance plan will pay for your University Health Services visits, your insurance company is the most reliable source to help you. 

  • Call the customer service phone number on the back of your insurance card.
  • To determine if University Health Services is "in-network/participating," give the following information
    • NPI # 1316063126
    • Tax ID # 246000376
    • Address: 308 Student Health Center, University Park, PA 16802

Your insurance plan can give you information related to co-pays, deductible, and plan limitations. Even if University Health Services is considered in-network/participating, you may still have charges related to your co-pay, deductible, or benefit package.

Many students arrive at Penn State uninsured or underinsured and are not covered to receive health care services. Health care services can be very costly and unexpected expenses can be disruptive to a student’s academic progress. The SHIP for Penn State provides students with high-coverage health insurance at a competitive price and is recognized widely at all Penn State campus locations and within the United States.

  1. The SHIP for Penn State offers a vast community of in-network providers at all campus locations, and additionally, throughout the entire United States.
  2. There are no copays for visits to the Student Health Center at University Park with SHIP for Penn State
  3. The SHIP for Penn State is a platinum-level health insurance plan with a low deductible and a capped out-of-pocket maximum. The SHIP for Penn State is designed specifically for Penn State students and selected with the help of Penn State students.

Undergraduate students and graduate, law, and medical students without assistantships (domestic and international)

  1. Log on to LionPATH
  2. Go to the Health Insurance page 
  3. Under current coverage year, select “Waive”. 
  4. Follow additional instructions to waive.

Graduate assistants, Graduate Fellows, and Graduate Trainees
(domestic and international)

Graduate Assistants/Graduate Fellows/Graduate Trainees are eligible to waive their benefit elections in Workday.

To waive this coverage 

Step 1

  • If you choose to waive medical, dental, or vision coverage, you must also complete a benefit event action through Workday.

Step 2

  • Log on to LionPATH
  • Go to the Health Insurance page  
  • Under current coverage year, select “Waive”
  • Enter policy details for an alternate health insurance plan

International Student Questions

The University has gone through a competitive process to continue to offer quality health care benefits at a competitive price. Students have been part of the process for making decisions about health insurance for many years. The Student Insurance Advisory Board/Council (SIAB/C), which includes representatives from the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), the Commonwealth Campus Student Government (CCSG), and representatives from other international student organizations were invited to take part in the selection of a new health insurance carrier. These groups also provide input to University Health Services and its Student Health Insurance Office regarding the SHIP for Penn State, including the selection of insurer, plan design, and mechanisms to manage costs. As the University has vetted the providers for the students, the plan that the University has contracted with is the only plan that is promoted and encouraged.

When a large group of people (both sick and healthy) pay an established amount of money for some protection against future health costs their money is put together in one fund, called an insurance pool. When members of the fund get sick or injured and incur medical costs, money is taken from this insurance pool to pay for part or all of their costs. People in the United States are financially responsible for their own medical or health care needs.

Penn State requires all international (F & J visa holders) undergraduate and graduate students, and any accompanying dependents to have health insurance coverage. They must either enroll the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) for Penn State or submit proof of coverage that meets a specific set of requirements.

Health care can be very costly and the United States does not have a national health care plan. Without health insurance, health services could be restricted.

To waive insurance you will need to be enrolled in a comparable insurance plan that meets the waiver requirements. You will need a copy of your active insurance ID card and your insurance policy brochure. Your insurance effective dates must be for the academic year or if later from your arrival date in the United States per arrival stamp on Passport/VISA thru the end of the academic year.

Sponsored international students that have an approved sponsored insurance plan (approved by the Student Health Insurance office), reach out to Penn State Global – Sponsored Relations should the SHIP for Penn State premium be on your LionPATH account.  Sponsored Relations will work with the Student Health Insurance office to have the premium removed from LionPATH as appropriate.

Waiver applications done through LionPATH will be reviewed by United Healthcare Student Resources (UHCSR).

Graduate Student Questions

Graduate Assistants/Graduate Fellows/Graduate Trainees can enroll dependents or waive benefits through Workday

Please visit our eligible dependents page for more information. 

Please visit the Workday website to acknowledge your student status and to ensure that your enrollment is processed.

Graduate Assistants/Graduate Fellows/Graduate Trainees who did not receive a dental and/or vision ID card should log in to Workday to verify that their address is entered correctly as part of their personal information. If your address is correct and you feel as though there has been an error, please contact the Penn State Student Health Insurance Office.

Graduate assistant and graduate fellow address updates must be updated through Account Management​​​​​​.

International Graduate assistants/fellows Your address must also be updated through your department.

Many factors impact the costs of health insurance for students. The SHIP for Penn State covers all students, which includes graduate students as well as undergraduate, medical and law students, and certain categories of visiting scholars.

The primary determinants of health insurance costs are the medical costs of students paid by the plan. A platinum plan must pay out between 88 percent - 92 percent of the premium it collects as medical benefits. Additional costs associated with the plan include taxes and fees that insurers must pay to support medical and health services research, charges for administration and marketing of the plan, and risk charges associated with the size of the group being insured. In addition, since insurers in the United States are private companies, there are costs associated with the profits that the company earns to enable distribution to shareholders, research and development, and similar future expenses to be paid from retained earnings.

There are several ways that students and their families impact the overall costs. As health care consumers, the choices individuals make drive overall costs. If the group of students collectively make choices that lead to the insurer paying out more than 92 percent of the premium, the insurer is going to increase the premium in future years. Student choices about whether to use an in-network provider or out-of-network provider, whether to get good primary care or delay care in ways that might later require expensive emergency treatment, whether to get a flu shot, or whether to have a discussion with their doctor about the most cost-effective ways to address a health issue, all factor into the current and future health plan costs.

Another significant factor that impacts that cost of health insurance is the number of students that enroll in the plan. When a large number of students enroll in the plan, the statistical predictability of their overall health care costs becomes more reliable. When enrollments decline, insurers will increase the risk charge to prevent a situation where they collect too little premium to pay for the medical costs. So, a smaller group of students enrolled in a plan drives up the cost of health insurance for all students.

Penn State subsidizes health insurance (medical, dental and vision) for graduate assistants and full-time graduate fellows and graduate trainees.

The University contributes 80 percent of the annual medical premium for graduate assistants, fellows and trainees, and 75 percent -76 percent for dependent coverage.

The University also contributes 80 percent of the premium costs for individual and 70 percent for family plans for dental and vision insurance for graduate assistants (and typically for fellows and trainees, as well).

Students have been part of the process for making decisions about health insurance for many years. While insurers make the decision to contract with the University, graduate students serve as representatives on two groups, the Student Insurance Advisory Board (SIAB) and the Student Insurance Administrative Council (SIAC). SIAB and SIAC, including its student representatives, work with UHS and its Student Health Insurance Office regarding the SHIP at Penn State, including the selection of insurer, plan design, and mechanisms to manage costs.