SHIP Will Cover Birth Control

     The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated Jan. 20 that most insurance plans must now cover contraceptive services for clients.

“UC SHIP wants to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act,” Director of Student Health Regina Fleming said. “The Affordable Care Act requires that contraceptives are available without a co-pay for patients.”
   While the ruling does not directly affect UC SHIP, the universities will adopt the policy. This would allow the plan to provide benefits similar to those found under a parent’s or private insurance’s policy.
     “The goal for UC SHIP from the inception has been to keep it in compliance with the regulations of the mandates of the Affordable Care Act,” Fleming said. “We’re trying to phase in each of those requirements as the time frame comes up that it’s supposed to be in effect. It’s very, very unlikely that the executive committee would select not to provide a benefit that is mandated by the Affordable Care Act.”

Female students at UC campuses will gain access to Federal Drug Administration-approved preventative and contraceptive measures. While SHIP currently covers prescriptions for birth control pills, it requires a co-pay of $15 per month for undergraduate students and $5 per month for graduate students to get generic brand pills from Student Health Services.
     Brand-name pills are more costly at $30 per month for undergraduate students and $25 per month for graduate students. For students that have waived the school’s insurance plan, the price could vary between $20 a month to $85 a month depending on the brand.
     A proposal of the benefits and premium rates for the 2012-13 academic year as well as the changes to SHIP must still be approved by the UC SHIP Executive Committee. The student health advisory committee of each UC school provides campus-specific input regarding the plan. 

This information is shared on the system-wide UC SHIP Advisory Committee through both the student and SHS staff representatives, providing further input for the UC SHIP Executive Committee, which makes final decisions about the plan.
   If the measure passes, students will not have to pay a co-pay. The brands covered by the formulary are still being decided, according to Fleming. The cost increase to enroll in SHIP for students is expected to be less than 1 percent. UC Regents have made health insurance a mandatory non-academic requirement to be enrolled in the UC system since September 2001, due to increasing health care costs and a rising number of students without health coverage. 

Currently, the enrollment cost for UCSD’s SHIP is $310 per quarter for undergraduates and $549 per quarter for graduates and professionals. The fee is automatically charged upon enrolling in classes.
     Students are allowed to waive the fee if they are already have comparable coverage by another plan and do not wish to pay for SHIP. UCSD has not yet determined whether the change in coverage plan will have an impact on the cost of SHIP. All students are able to use the on-campus SHS whether they are enrolled in the plan or not.
     According to Fleming, 20 to 25 percent of prescriptions currently filled at SHS are for birth control pills.

Readers can contact Michael Chang at [email protected]