Andrew Szeri
Andrew Szeri

Dear Graduate Students,

Soon this semester will conclude and 2014 will be here. January will bring unprecedented change to millions of Americans as formerly uninsured and under-insured citizens gain access to new health insurance options created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.”

The University of California has long invested in providing our students with high-quality health care. On our campus, every enrolled student — including those who are not documented U.S. citizens — has access to Berkeley SHIP, which covers preventative medical, mental health, dental and vision benefits in coordination with campus health providers at the Tang Center.

You’ll be glad to know that SHIP provides all of the ACA-mandated “essential health benefits” — plus vision and dental benefits! SHIP is the “Platinum plan with a Bronze price” and students who are GSIs, GSRs, or fellowship holders generally pay no premiums.

All students should understand how Berkeley SHIP compares to plans available through the ACA, particularly the marketplace known as Covered California. Staff at University Health Services (UHS) have been creating tools and offering workshops with essential information for making individual health insurance choices. For example, certain students might benefit from enrolling dependent children in less expensive plans through the marketplace, while retaining the benefits of SHIP for themselves.

Whether you are a student with dependents, an international or undocumented student, or will soon be graduating, you will find answers to questions in the very thorough Health Care Reform tutorial created by UHS Tang Center staff.  Please do check it out so you can make the right choices for you.

I wish you a productive end to the semester and a very rejuvenating winter holiday break!

Andrew Szeri signature