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There have been some important changes made to the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) for  Penn State during this COVID-19 pandemic. Please know that Penn State, in collaboration with United Healthcare Student Resources, is regularly evaluating your insurance plans and will notify SHIP students of any changes made as we move forward in these uncertain times.

Students who may need assistance should contact the Student Health Insurance staff by email at or by phone at 814-865-4UHS(4847). United Healthcare Student Resources customer service can be contacted by email at or by phone at 888-224-4810.

Below you will find updates to and reminders of offerings through SHIP:


The SHIP for Penn State offers access to HealthiestYou for telehealth visits at no cost throughout the policy year. In addition, cost-share waiving for telehealth services will be extended as follows:

  • COVID-19 In and Out-of-Network: cost-sharing will be waived through January 15, 2022.
  • Non-COVID-19 In and Out-of-Network: cost sharing according to policy benefits does apply.

Students can log onto First Student’s website or call the number on their UHCSR ID card to learn more. Information on these services is housed under the “Plan Enhancements” tab on the left side of the First Student website homepage. Telemedicine and telebehavioral health services are currently available outside of the United States at no cost for students and dependents on the Penn State SHIP.

University Health Services is now offering telemedicine services. These services are covered at 100% under the SHIP for Penn State.  Visit the UHS Schedule an Appointment webpage to schedule via phone or through myUHS.

COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

Students and their dependents covered through the SHIP who live within or outside of the United States will have no copays, deductibles, or coinsurance for treatments or testing related to COVID-19 through the national public health emergency period.

Penn State and the United Healthcare Student Resources are continuously re-evaluating this coverage and are working to make sure students are being supported during this pandemic.

The national public health emergency period has been extended to July 14, 2022.

COVID-19 Testing & Physician's Visits

Medically-appropriate COVID-19 testing-related services have $0 cost-share (copay, coinsurance, or deductible) until July 14, 2022. This coverage applies to in-network and out-of-network tests and physician visits.

COVID-19 At-Home Tests

Beginning January 15, 2022, health plan members’ FDA authorized or approved over-the-counter (OTC) at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests will be covered without a doctor’s prescription. This at-home COVID-19 test benefit includes up to 8 tests per member per calendar month.

If you are a member with an OptumRx logo displayed on your member ID card, you can now receive reimbursement for an OTC at-home COVID-19 test. You may do this in two ways:

  1. Visit an in-store pharmacy counter at a Preferred Retailer for OTC at-home COVID-19 tests: To get OTC at-home COVID-19 test(s) at no upfront cost, you must make your purchase at a Preferred Retailer — and be sure you bring your member ID card with you.
  2. Visit any other in-store or online retailer: You may submit a receipt for reimbursement online along with the completion of a reimbursement form. To do this, visit, select your school, and login to your My Account.
    1. Maximum reimbursement of up to $12 per test
    2. Many COVID-19 tests are sold as a 2-pack kit (up to $12 for each test) and would be reimbursed at a maximum of up to $24 per kit
    3. Shipping costs are not reimbursable

The current list of preferred retailers is: Walgreens, Walmart Pharmacy, Sam's Club, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Bartell Drugs, and Kinney Drugs.

From the Federal government: The Federal government has launched a national website where each household can receive a one-time shipment of four free OTC at-home Covid-19 tests shipped directly from For more information on this program go to

COVID-19 Testing Related Visits

Cost-sharing will be waived for visits to a health care provider’s office, urgent care center, emergency department, or telehealth through July 14, 2022.

COVID-19 Treatment

Treatment is covered but cost sharing according to policy benefits does apply.

COVID-19 Vaccines

You will be able to get the vaccine at $0 cost-share, no matter where you get the vaccine in the U.S. and including when two doses are required, at both in- and out-of-network providers through July 14, 2022.

Prescriptions and Pharmacy

For those students and dependents living in the University Park and State College area, the UHS Pharmacy is providing curbside pickup for prescriptions. For those who are not living in the area around State College, the UHS Pharmacy is providing mail order service, but can only mail to Pennsylvania and Florida. There is a $3 charge for postage. Narcotics cannot be sent via mail.

Students on the Penn State SHIP are encouraged to order a 90-day supply of prescriptions from the UHS Pharmacy. Students can save the $10/$30/$60 copays that they will pay at another pharmacy for a 30-day supply. Students will only pay the $3 shipping charge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will testing and physician visits be covered for COVID-19?

Medically-appropriate COVID-19 testing-related services have $0 cost-share (copay, coinsurance, or deductible) until July 14, 2022. This coverage applies to in-network and out-of-network tests and physician visits.

Will treatment be covered for COVID-19?

No cost-share waivers are currently in effect. Coverage and cost-sharing (copay, coinsurance, and deductible), including out-of-network costs, are adjudicated in accordance with the member’s health plan.

Does UHC cover antibody detection tests (Serology - IGG/IGM/IGA for SARS-nCOV2) (COVID-19)?

For the duration of the national, public health emergency period, United Healthcare will cover FDA-authorized COVID-19 antibody tests ordered by a physician or healthcare provider to diagnose COVID-19 at no cost share to the member. Tests will be covered in and out-of-network. 

Will cost sharing be waived for Telehealth visits?

All policies that have access to HealthiestYou will continue to provide telehealth visits at no cost throughout the policy year. For other visits, please see below:

COVID-19 In and Out-of-Network

For COVID-19 in and out-of-network telehealth services, cost-sharing will be waived through July 14, 2022.

Non-COVID-19 In and Out-of-Network

For both in and out-of-network, cost sharing according to policy benefits does apply.

Penn State University Park UHS is currently conducting telehealth visits, which will be covered at 100%.

All insured students also have access to telehealth (HealthiestYou) at no cost through the school insurance plan. 


Does the plan include Telemedicine?

Yes, all insured students also have access to HealthiestYou and will continue to provide telehealth visits at no cost throughout the policy year for this service.  The HealthiestYou app provides telemedicine for students. To access these services, download the app or call 855-870-5858.

Will the SHC referral requirement apply?

Due to the increased demand for services at UHS and to improve access for students seeking care at local health centers off-campus, the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) for Penn State will be lifting the referral requirement for students within 25 miles of University Park.  This will be effective from Wednesday, September 22, 2021 through August 12, 2022. 

Students that will be continuing specialized care that cannot be provided by UHS, will need a referral from UHS to continue services in the Fall 2022.

What about services performed outside of the US, will it be covered?

Services performed outside of the US, with the exception of services incurred in your Home Country, are covered subject to the policy provisions and limitations.

How can students assure they are paying the least amount for services outside of University Health Services?

Use the Find a Doctor services to assure that your provider is in-network (contracted) with the SHIP for Penn State.  Students will pay more out-of-pocket if they use a provider that is not contracted with the SHIP for Penn State.

Additional Support Line

Optum is opening its Emotional-Support Help Line, providing access to specially trained mental health specialists to support people who may be experiencing anxiety or stress following the recent developments around COVID-19. Optum's toll-free helpline number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. 

Additional Services

Travel Assistance is available for students 24/7 in their home country for emergency and nonemergency care. Contact UHC Gkibak by calling the number on the back of your ID card (1-877-461-2273 or 1-410-453-6330) or email ( Use reference ID# 355751

Find A Doctor
Get An ID/Check Claim Status/My Account

Visit My Account. My Account is your insurance hub; you can download your ID card and check any claims statuses. 


Please reach out with any questions or issues

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COVID-19 Student Health Insurance Updates