The following are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the insurance waiver process

General Questions

Appeal Questions

General Questions

Considering Waiving UC SHIP?


Q: Why choose UC SHIP??
A: IMPORTANT!  UC Santa Cruz requires that all students have a primary care provider within 30 miles of their school address (on or off campus). Many students with Medi-Cal​ ​​or HMO insurance cannot meet this require­ment. If you cannot identify a provider within this 30 mile radius, you may not qualify to waive UC SHIP. If you are receiving financial aid, please check with the Financial Aid Office to see if UC SHIP or CruzCare is included.

Students and their parents should first ask: "Are We Really Covered?" Consider the following:

  • If you have an HMO plan such as Health Net, Aetna, as your insurance plan. Before waiving UC SHIP, please note that the HMO plan only covers you for medical care from your designated primary care provider, or upon referral from this provider. It is not automatically a portable plan. In order to seek non-emergency care in Santa Cruz County using this plan, the student must select a new doctor in our area and transfer their care to that person.
  • ​​If you have Kaiser as your insurance plan. Before waiving UC SHIP, we ask you to consider the distance from campus to Kaiser facilit​ies​. Kaiser is now in Santa Cruz County, but most services are in Scotts Valley and Watsonville.​ For families who live close enough to drive their student, or if the student has a car, Kaiser may be a​ good​ option. For families ​and students without transportation, ​you may want to consider ​UC SHIP.​ 
  • Most HMOs and PPOs, including Kaiser, PacifiCare, and Health Net, will NOT cover care provided on campus at the UCSC Student Health Center, requiring students to travel off campus even when care could be provided at the Student Health Center. The UCSC Student Health Center and UCSC health care providers are not contracted with any insurance companies. Before making a decision to waive UC SHIP, check with your insurance carrier to verify whether or not charges incurred at the UCSC Student Health Center are covered.
  • Most HMO and PPO plans will only cover laboratory tests, X-rays, or care by specialists when the order or referral is made by the student's primary care physician. Students coming to UCSC from other locations may have to return home to have care authorized.
  • Many students enroll in UC SHIP to supplement their existing coverage for services at the Student Health Center and in the Santa Cruz community that HMO plans do not cover.

Q: I have coverage back home. Why do I need UC SHIP - and why was my waiver denied?
A: Your health insurance must have primary care, behavioral health, and emergency coverage within 30 miles of your local residence while you attend UCSC. UCSC asks for the name of your primary care provider in Santa Cruz County to ensure that you can receive local medical care.

Link to UC SHIP Mandate letter from UC Regents

Q: We waived UC SHIP last year because we have coverage through our family plan. Do we need to submit the waiver again? 
  Yes, waivers must be submitted ANNUALLY, every academic year. If the family's health insurance situation changes, please notify the Student Insurance Office. We will verify that the plan meets UCSC insurance requirements, at which point you may retain your waiver. The student could also choose to enroll in UC SHIP. Additionally, they will be notified that they can waive UC SHIP before each academic quarter for the upcoming quarter.

Q: What information is required to waive UC SHIP?
A: See link in the left column. (waiver criteria and waiver worksheet)

Q: I waived the insurance but I have not received an email with an approval or a denial. Why not?
A: All waivers are audited, so AHP takes approximately 15 business days to process and respond to waiver requests.

Q: How do I reverse a waiver so that I get UC SHIP?
A: Download the waiver reversal form in the left column.

Q: I have a complaint about waivers. 
 If you are experiencing any issue regarding your online waiver including technical issues, error messages, requests for additional information, denials, or appeal, please contact the waiver administrator AHP at


Q: I am on the Education Abroad Program (EAP) and I was charged for UC SHIP. 
A:  Health Insurance is a requirement for ALL UCSC students, even those on the Education Abroad Program (EAP).  This is also a requirement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for residents who spend any portion of the calendar year outside the United States. EAP students need to have health insurance while abroad. EAP provides travel insurance, but that does NOT qualify as ACA compliant health insurance.  UC SHIP provides worldwide coverage with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core Program. EAP students will be automatically enrolled in UC SHIP health insurance unless they successfully waive UC SHIP during the online waiver period by following the waiver process described on our website: Note: the waiver requirement for services within a 30 mile radius of UCSC is not in effect for EAP students. 

Q: I successfully waived UC SHIP but the fee is still on my portal. 
 If you have successfully waived UC SHIP, any fees that you have been charged will be credited back to your student account within 30 days. Continue to check your portal / AIS account to be sure the fee has been removed. Credits will be posted to your portal / AIS account at least weekly on Fridays.

Q: I missed the deadline to waive UC SHIP, but I still want to waive. 
 In the summer, students are sent a minimum of 6 notices of the opportunity to waive UC SHIP - 2 postcards sent to the home address - 2 emails - 2 portal messages - with all the deadlines, instructions, and information. The premium fee for UC SHIP is added to your AIS account before the deadline, so that the university can pay the premiums to the insurance carriers under the UC SHIP plan, ensuring that students are covered by insurance on the first day of the quarter. If you missed the deadline, then you have UC SHIP for that quarter. Students who are on UC SHIP are notified of the next opportunity to waive for the following quarter. The waiver questions must be submitted via an online form to AHP, our waiver administrator. Your submission will be audited and you will be notified if your waiver has been accepted. If your waiver has been accepted but the fee for UC SHIP is already on your AIS account, the fee will be credited back to your account within 30 days.

Q: I am an International Student, do I still need UC SHIP? 
 International students must have full, acceptable health insurance coverage, in compliance with University of California and Affordable Care Act requirements. Travel plans DO NOT qualify as acceptable health insurance. All students are automatically enrolled in the UCSC health insurance plan UC SHIP and charged each registered quarter unless they choose to submit an online insurance waiver with proof of suitable coverage.

The submitted waiver must pass the audit that verifies that the health insurance meets the UC waiver criteria. Please review the waiver criteria carefully, as found on our website. Quarterly waiver notifications are sent to the student’s UC email address or student portal (under My Messages) for the online waiver process. Once accepted, the waiver is in effect for the current quarter and the remainder of the academic year. A new waiver must be submitted at the beginning of each academic year. View the information at:, click on the Insurance tab.

Appeal Questions

Q: Who do I contact?
A: Here are a few things to know:

  • If the appeal is for a waiver denial, please start by contacting AHP in case you can give them additional information
  • If the appeal is for a claim, you must contact the insurance carrier, usually Anthem Blue Cross, but also Anthem Blue View Vision, Delta Dental and Optum Rx.  Please see our benefits documents for their contact information
  • Note for Parents: General questions from parents can be answered with a telephone call; however, questions specific to their student must go to or through the student. The student may give the Student Health Center written permission by completing and submitting the Authorization for Release of Information form, allowing Student Health Center staff to speak to the parent. If your student agrees, please have the student submit that authorization form.

Q: Why is Academic HealthPlans (AHP) calling me? 
 AHP may contact you, usually via email regarding the need for more information to waive UC SHIP, since they are the UC SHIP waiver administrator.  AHP could also be returning calls regarding enrollment for voluntary plans.

Q: Who is Academic HealthPlans (AHP)?
A:  AHP is the health insurance waiver administrator and broker for UC SHIP.