Undergraduate Students: SHIP

The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) is a Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan, which provides coverage for preventive care, hospitalization, surgery, maternity, well-baby/well-child care, emergency care for accidents or illness, medically necessary physician care, prescription drugs and mental health. 

How an Individual Uses SHIP

Health care under this plan is provided by various groups of health care practitioners, suppliers, agencies, programs, and facilities called Select Providers who have agreed to join with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa to offer each student affordable health care. One hundred percent of the hospitals and more than 4,000 physicians in Iowa participate.

Non-participating providers do not have contracts with Blue Cross and Blue Shield. They do not agree to accept payment arrangements and are not responsible for filing claims for you. Non-participating providers may charge more for health care than participating providers. Payment is made to you and you are responsible for paying the provider.

Non-participating providers can bill you for the difference between what Blue Cross and Blue Shield will pay for a service and what they charge (balance billing).

Student Health

University of Iowa Students are encouraged to take advantage of Student Health when they need care. If enrolled for more than 4 semester hours, students are automatically assessed the Health fee with their tuition per semester. This fee supports many health and wellness services for UI students. For more information on the fee and medical services provided, please visit the Student Health website.

Covering Dependents

Students may also purchase coverage for their spouse or domestic partner and/or dependent children. To receive the greatest benefits from SHIP, dependents are advised to use the physicians from the Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield Classic Blue Provider list, which can be accessed at the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa website at wellmark.com.

If a student acquires eligible dependents while insured by this plan, they may only be added within 30 days (60 days for birth or adoption) after becoming eligible.

Eligible dependents are:

  • Spouse or Domestic Partner
    • Students wishing to insure a domestic partner must complete an Affidavit for Domestic Partnership
  • Dependent children up to the end of the calendar year after turning 26. Also including;
    • adopted children
    • stepchildren
    • foster children

Children over the age of 26 may continue to be covered if they are full-time students or disabled.

Transgender Coverage

All of the health plans offered through the University of Iowa, which are administered by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, provides coverage of medically necessary covered services associated with gender transition-related treatment.

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa follows the national standards set forth by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) when deeming if a covered service is medically necessary.

Covered services, when ordered by a health professional and deemed medically necessary associated with gender transition-related treatment, may include the following:

  • Hormone therapy;
  • Mental health services; and
  • Chest/breast and genital surgeries when ordered by a health professional.

Please contact Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa at 800-643-9724 for more information and to discuss the gender transition medical policy within the Interqual Prior Approval program to assure you have met all qualifications. 

The information presented on our website describes only the highlights of the plans and does not constitute official plan documents. Additional terms and conditions may apply. If there are any discrepancies between the information contained herein and the official plan documents, the plan documents will govern. For more detailed information you may contact Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield at toll-free number 800-524-9242 (TTY: 888-781-4262), Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Central Time). For more efficient service, please have your member ID number handy - it can be found on the front of your card.

Contact Information

University Benefits Student Insurance

Campus Address
120 USB
Mailing Address

120 University Services Building
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.