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UC SHIP and COVID-19: A Guide for Students and Parents

Dear Students and Parents:

The information below is intended to provide you with guidance and useful information regarding how the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) will function during periods of mandatory remote learning imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As importantly, the entire UCI community and the UCI Student Health Center (SHC) want you to have peace of mind during these challenging times. It is our sincere hope that the information provided below will answer your questions and allay your concerns as we all confront and deal with the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19.

Please note that several operational changes have occurred at Student Health Center in response to COVID-19 and these may be reflected in some of the answers below. Our primary goal is the health and safety of students and staff and, therefore, we’ve instituted certain changes in protocols in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and prevent and/or mitigate the spread of disease.

If your questions or concerns are not answered below, then please contact the Student Health Center:

  • For UC SHIP related inquiries and referrals, contact Insurance Services: 949-824-2388; email: shc-insurance@uci.edu.
  • For appointments, call 949-824-5304.
  • For Dental Clinic, call 949-824-5307.
  • For general inquiries, call SHC’s main line at 949-824-5301.

You may also contact Anthem’s Customer Care Center at 866-940-8306 for inquiries regarding UC SHIP benefits, eligibility, claims status or to locate a network provider in your geographic area.

In addition to the UCI Student Health Center website, please visit the UC SHIP website at the UC Office of the President for important and useful information regarding your health insurance coverage. Check out this how to use UC SHIP video produced by UC SHIP.

 

For all new, incoming undergraduate and graduate students entering UCI in Fall 2020 and for all continuing undergraduate and graduate students, the Fall 2020 UC SHIP waiver period opens on 8-3-2020 and closes on 9-8-2020. As is always the case, a waiver will only be approved if the student can demonstrate that the health insurance plan with which they are waiving complies with UC’s waiver criteria. Visit SHC’s website here for detailed information >>> Waiving UC SHIP. Please note that separate waiver periods are established for programs that start during the Summer and/or "early start" programs such as School of Medicine and School of Law.

Yes. For AY 2019-20, students who are enrolled in UC SHIP for the Spring Quarter (Spring Semester for School of Law) are covered through 9-27-2020 unless a student chooses to waive out of UC SHIP during designated waiver periods. 

As a reminder, UC SHIP is a comprehensive health insurance plan that includes medical, mental health, dental, vision and pharmacy benefits. The plan features 24/7, year-round, world-wide coverage utilizing the Anthem Blue Cross Prudent Buyer PPO network.

Note Regarding Fall 2020: The UC SHIP plan is re-evaluated and renewed annually. Therefore, the start date of coverage for the new UC SHIP plan year coincides with the start of each new academic year in the Fall. There are exceptions such as a few post-graduate programs that start during the Summer.

In the case of AY 2020-21, the corresponding UC SHIP coverage begins 9-21-2020 for the vast majority of incoming students who are on the quarter system. “Early start” graduate programs (e.g., School of Law, School of Medicine, MSBA) have varying coverage start dates depending upon the start date of their respective programs. The 9-21-2020 coverage start date was approved by campus leadership in order to provide health insurance coverage for students who must arrive on campus prior to the official academic term start date (i.e., 9-28-2020) to attend mandatory orientations and events including housing related activities.

As a health care provider, Student Health Center is deemed an “essential” service by the University. As such, SHC remains open at this time and services will continue to be provided. However, on-site services could be curtailed in the future contingent upon directives and guidance from the University and local, state and federal public health authorities.

“Elective” and/or less-essential clinical services have been discontinued in order to prevent and/or mitigate the spread of disease. Acute illnesses, injuries and urgent conditions will, of course, continue to be treated.

If you live in relatively close proximity to campus and would prefer to schedule an appointment with a SHC provider, then please call the SHC appointment line at 949-824-5304. Online appointment scheduling and unscheduled “walk-in” appointments are unavailable until further notice. For updates, visit >>> Schedule or Cancel an Appointment.

Lastly, due to social distancing, certain administrative departments (e.g., Insurance Services, Billing, etc…) will continue to provide services to students and parents and respond to inquiries but will do so by telephone and/or email only until further notice.

Yes. There are currently two telehealth options for students both of which are covered benefits under the UC SHIP plan:

Option #1:

Primary Care and Psychiatry telephone and video consultations with a SHC primary care provider or psychiatrist are now available at UCI Student Health Center by appointment. Certain types of conditions or procedures may require an in-office appointment as determined by the provider. SHC-based teleheath encounters are currently covered by UC SHIP until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to ensure access to and continuity of care for students. Please be advised that telehealth visits with students who are currently residing outside of California could be suspended pending guidance from the University's health care legal counsel in light of the differences in regulations among the states related to the provision of health care across state lines.

Check the SHC website regularly for updates and/or call the SHC appoint-ment line at 949-824-5304 for information and/or to schedule a telehealth appointment.

Also, please check the Counseling Center website for information regarding telehealth counseling and behavioral health services that are available from the Counseling Center.

Option #2:

Another telehealth option for students for primary care and mental health care services is Anthem’s telehealth platform known as LiveHealth Online (LHO). LHO enables the student to video chat with board certified physicians, psychiatrists and counselors for conditions such as:

  • Rashes, minor cuts and scrapes
  • Stress, anxiety and other mental health concerns
  • Coughs, colds, and other symptoms associated with mild respiratory infections
  • And much more

The co-pay for a LHO primary care or mental health consultation for UC SHIP enrolled students is $10.00. There is $0.00 cost share for screening, testing and treatment services related to COVID-19. Visit https://shc.uci.edu/services/livehealth-online for more information. Follow the link to sign-up and use LiveHealth Online.

A:  To find providers that are in the Anthem network within the surrounding community of UCI or near your current place of residence, please utilize the following resources:

  • Visit the Anthem website at https://www.anthem.com/find-doctor/ and search for a provider within your zip code.
    • Choose to search as a guest or by entering your Anthem member ID
    • Under “What type of care are you searching for?” Select Medical
    • Under “What state do you want to search in?” Select California
    • Under “What type of plan do you want to search with?” Select Medical (Student Health)
    • Under “Select a plan/network” Select UCSHIP PPO
    • Click Continue
    • On the following page, please select the details of provider specialty or provider type such as an urgent care, hospital or other types of providers and location for which you would like to search.

You can also call Anthem directly at 1-866-940-8306 and ask a representative to generate a list of network providers in your local area and send to you via email.

A: For students enrolled in UC SHIP, Student Health Center is your primary care provider. Under “normal” circumstances, all care must begin at SHC. For services not provided at SHC, your SHC provider would generate a referral to a community provider. However, COVID-19 is not a “normal” circumstance and, as a result, SHC will be very flexible during the period of mandatory remote learning in terms of authorizing referrals to ensure timely access to medical care off-campus.

Although referrals are required for any service received off-campus (see exceptions below in question #8), you will not be required to make an in-office appointment at SHC in order to obtain a referral. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the telehealth options discussed above.

However, if you feel more comfortable with an in-office appointment; or need an in-office visit based upon your medical condition; and would prefer to see a primary care provider, specialist or mental health provider near your place of residence, then please contact SHC’s Insurance Services Department by telephone (949) 824-2388 or email shc-insurance@uci.edu to request a referral. The referral will be fax’d immediately to the provider you designate.

A:  To obtain a referral, you need to provide:

  • Your Student ID Number
  • Specialty (e.g., Dermatology, Cardiology, Psychiatry, etc…)
  • Reason for Visit (e.g., Acne, Anxiety, etc…)
  • Name/Address/Telephone #/Fax # of the Provider/Clinic

A:  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure access to and continuity of care for students, SHC will approve referrals to off-campus primary care providers on a temporary basis during the period of mandatory remote learning. Students are encouraged to avail themselves of the telehealth option discussed above in which they can continue with their SHC primary care provider.

Upon your return to campus and in accordance with UC SHIP referral requirements, you must transition back to SHC as your primary care provider. To obtain a referral to an outside PCP, please submit an email request to shc-insurance@uci.edu with the same information listed in the question and answer immediately preceding this question.

Yes. The following medical services DO NOT require a referral from Student Health Center:

  • Hospital Emergency Room
  • Urgent Care
  • Pharmacy services
  • Obstetrical or gynecological care
  • Dental services
  • Optometric (Vision) services
  • Pediatric services​
  • Services received during Winter Break

Yes. Please call or email SHC Insurance Services with the new provider information so that your referral can be updated and fax’d to the new provider.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Updated 4-24-2020:

The Student Health Center will not charge copays or coinsurance for either in-office or telehealth visits and related diagnostic services to any student enrolled in UC SHIP for any medical or mental health services related to COVID-19. This "no copay" policy applies to services rendered by UCI Student Health Center only; is temporary; and subject to change. For students not enrolled in UC SHIP, you will be charged our usual fees and these fees will be transferred to your campus billing account. However, you should be able to receive reimbursement from your health insurance plan unless it is a HMO-type plan (e.g., Kaiser, Sutter Health, Cal-Optima, other statewide/county Medi-Cal HMO plans, etc...). 

A: Please refer to the UC SHIP Summary of Benefits and Coverage on the SHC Website (UC SHIP Summary of Benefits and Coverage) for cost share information (i.e., office visit copays, coinsurance percentages and out-of-pocket maximums). As a reminder, there is no cost share for screening, testing and treatment services related to COVID-19 for services rendered between 3-9-2020 and 9-27-2020.

A: The Dental Clinic remains open during the Spring Quarter for emergency dental procedures only. Check SHC’s website regularly for updates. To find a dentist or dental specialist near your home, visit the Delta Dental website: Delta Dental. Dental services do not require a referral.

A: To find an Anthem Blue View Vision optometrist or other optical services provider near your current place of residence, visit https://www.anthem.com/ca/  or call Anthem Customer Care at (866) 940-8306. For benefits , click here >>> Blue View Vision Benefits .

A:  Download the StudentHealth app flier for instructions on how to get your medical ID card. You will need to show your Anthem Blue Cross (Anthem) ID card when you get care or prescriptions outside of the SHC. Go to the App Store or to Google play to download the StudentHealth app. Hard copy ID cards are not automatically mailed to students.

A:  Yes. The Student Health Service (SHS) at each University of California campus gladly offers reciprocal access to currently registered students from all other UC campuses under the same conditions that apply to its own students. If you visit an SHS at another campus, you may need to pay out-of-pocket and be reimbursed for any services you receive. Please check the SHS or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) website of the UC campus you plan to visit for more information about fees, filing claims to UC SHIP, etc...  You should call or email the SHS or CAPS center first to see what services are available on-site or remotely during this time in which either full or partial campus closures may be in effect.

A:  For students who are using Student Health Center Pharmacy for medication refills but will be out of the area during the Spring Quarter, please consider the following:

  • You may reach out to our pharmacy BEFORE you leave the campus.  Please communicate with our pharmacy via our Online Prescription Refill page to request additional medication supply for the Spring quarter. Please allow 48 to 72 hours for the pharmacy to prepare your prescriptions.  Please note that we will do our best to assist you with your request. However, refills that require a provider’s authorization will still apply and may take longer. 
  • We can provide up to a 60 or 90-day supply of medications as long as your prescription is not expired and your UC SHIP coverage is active.
  • To access the Online Prescription Refill page, please follow the instructions below if you are not familiar with the process.
  1. From the SHC website homepage at www.shc.uci.edu, click on the “Student Health Patient Portal” link.
  2. Login using your UCINetID.
  3. Click on “Request a Medication Refill”.
  4. Select “New Message”.
  5. Click on “I would like to send a secure message to the Student Health Center”.
  6. Click “Prescription Refill Request”.
  7. Continue to fill in appropriate text boxes as accurately and complete-ly as possible. Your Rx-number is located on your prescription label in the yellow bar right above your name.
  8. If you are unsure, please add a comment under the “Comment” section.
  9. Click “send”.
  • If internet access is restricted, you can also reach us via phone and leave us a voice message at 949-824-5923. Please provide us the following information:
    • Your name, date of birth, and student ID.
    • Prescription Number or name of medication.
    • Additional comments, if any.
  • If you stay local and have access to the UCI campus, there should be no change for you. Our UCI SHC Pharmacy will continue to operate under normal business hours contingent upon directives and guidance from the University. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our website regularly at www.shc.uci.edu.

A:  Please check the SHS website of the campus that is near your home and then call or email that SHS campus pharmacy to inquire if they are able to refill your medications for you. You should be ready to provide the name of your home campus, your UC SHIP ID number, and information on the prescriptions you need to have refilled. Co-pay amounts may vary from those you typically pay at your home campus SHS pharmacy.

A:  OptumRx administers the pharmacy benefit for UC SHIP and has a nationwide network of retail pharmacies (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, etc..). Contact your local pharmacy with your prescription and your Anthem medical ID card to see if they are able to refill your medications for you. Retail pharmacies are able to refill prescriptions with a 30-day supply of medications. Co-pays may vary from those you typically pay at your campus SHS pharmacy.