Chancellor announces return to Berkeley-operated student health plan

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau issued the following statement today concerning changes to the student health-insurance plan:

Throughout this school year, student leaders and individual students have spoken with great passion and persuasiveness regarding concerns with the current health-insurance coverage offered through the university-wide program known as UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP), along with a desire to have a campus-operated plan where benefits and premiums could be tailored to the needs of Berkeley students.

Today I am stating my support for the students’ position and, following their urging, announcing that UC Berkeley will be withdrawing from UC SHIP and returning to a UC Berkeley-operated student health insurance plan, effective Aug. 15, 2013.

Student leaders from the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), the Graduate Assembly, the campus Committee on Student Fees and the Student Health Advisory Committee felt strongly that it was in the best interests of UC Berkeley students to leave UC SHIP and return to a Berkeley-based plan. Although there are many possible advantages in a system-wide plan, there also are features in our health coverage which are best optimized campus by campus. The advantages of having a Berkeley-specific student health-insurance plan have been made to me very forcefully in a letter (PDF) from the ASUC and Graduate Assembly, and this letter helped me reach this decision.

For 2013-14, the student health-insurance plan will return to a UC Berkeley-managed program. University Health Services successfully operated the campus-based student health-insurance plan for more than 20 years before joining UC SHIP, so I have complete confidence in this effort.  In the second year, campus and student leaders will evaluate whether continuing with a campus-based SHIP or returning to UC SHIP will provide the best insurance option for Berkeley students.

The new 2013-14 Berkeley SHIP plan will offer the same comprehensive coverage that students desire. We are pleased to announce that all insurance caps, including the lifetime maximum and annual pharmacy caps, have been lifted for the 2013-14 Berkeley SHIP plan. Dependent and voluntary coverage will also continue to be made available through a separate plan, as they have been under UC SHIP.  We will investigate possible improvements to these plans in the upcoming year.

For more information, see University Health Services’ FAQ.