Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

Insurance Requirement

Having health insurance coverage is required as a condition of enrollment at Ohio State for students enrolled at least half-time and in a degree program of study.  Students are assessed the fee for Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan when they enroll in eligible classes. The student has the option to waive the health insurance fee by providing proof of other coverage. 

Annual Selection  A student's enrollment into or waiver out of the Student Health Insurance Plan is an annual selection.  The enrollment selection that the student chooses is binding for the entire plan year, beginning Autumn term thru the following Summer term, if they remain enrolled in eligible classes.

Please review this website for eligibility and benefit information on the Comprehensive Plan and the WilceCare Supplement, or for information about how to waive coverage if you have adequate coverage of your own.

Waiving the Comprehensive Plan
Students may waive out of participation in the Student Health Insurance Plan by documenting that they have adequate coverage under another health insurance plan. This documentation of coverage must be confirmed once each year. During the registration process students have the opportunity to complete the on-line waiver. Students have until 7 days  prior to the first day of classes (or within 10 days from enrollment for late enrollees) to fill out the on-line waiver form if they already have health insurance. Otherwise they will be automatically enrolled in the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan and the insurance fee will be added to their student account.  Note: Students enrolled at the regional campuses can waive Ohio-State's coverage without providing documentation of other coverage.  

Periodic audits are conducted to determine if waived students have provided correct and complete information and if the health insurance policy is in effect and meets the University's standards for adequate coverage. Those student's who's waiver information is deemed not in compliance will be contacted and then enrolled in the University-sponsored plan at the time of discovery and assessed a prorated fee.

Before making the decision to waive out of participation in the Student Health Insurance Plan, students and their parents are encouraged to take time to compare their current plan against the University-sponsored plan and ensure coverage is available in the Columbus area or other locations of attendance, that a student may need. If the student waives the Student Health Insurance Plan, he/she must wait until the following term to enroll, or else have a qualifying event such as an involuntary loss of insurance coverage.

Issues to Consider
Will my current insurance policy be in effect for the entire academic year, or does coverage drop on a certain date? Does my current plan include doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare resources in the central Ohio area?

Does my current plan cover doctor visits, lab work and other diagnostic services, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, ambulance services, mental health services, and prescription drug coverage in the central Ohio area?

Is there a maximum amount my current plan will pay for any one condition? What are my out-of-pocket expenses in the central Ohio area in terms of co-payments, deductibles, and co-insurances?

All students must complete the waiver form by the published deadline of the term in order to waive out of the University-sponsored health insurance plan. Failure to do so will result in automatic enrollment in the Student Health Insurance Plan, and the charge for the Plan will appear as a line item on your account statement from the Bursar

To complete the on-line waiver form to verify comparable health insurance coverage and to waive out of the Student Health Insurance Plan, the student will need to provide the following information that is found on a standard healthplan card:

Name of Insurance/Health Benefits Company; Group/Policy Number; Insurance Company Address, Including City, State, and Zip Code; Insurance Company Telephone Number; BR; Policy Holder* Name Policy Holder* Identification Number* Policy Holder* Telephone Number *Policy Holder is the primary person that the policy is under, such as parent, spouse, or student

The Ohio State University is committed to enhancing the academic success of our students by helping them to achieve and maintain the highest levels of health and well being possible. Although most students use the Wilce Student Health Center for their basic health care needs, this does not protect them from financial hardships in the event of a serious medical problem. For specialized and emergency medical care, our health center providers often need to refer the students to medical resources in the surrounding community. Community referral for a serious medical condition requires an insurance level that is at least comparable to that provided by the Student Health Insurance Plan that was designed specifically for the students of The Ohio State University. If you have additional questions, please contact us at (614) 688-7979 or e-mail Student Health Insurance, Office of Student Life at shi_info@osu.edu.

Enrollment System
The insurance enrollment system adopted by The Ohio State University is comparable to the insurance requirements that exist at many other major public universities.  The process ensures students have access to good coverage with local networks; is a means to afford a low cost plan; and is a catylist to review the student's coverage status on an annual basis.   Students are not required to purchase the University-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). They have the option of waiving out of the SHIP by providing proof of other health insurance. 

The American College Health Association recommends all universities and colleges require that students demonstrate adequate health insurance coverage or adequate financial resources to pay for expected and unexpected medical expenses as a condition of enrollment.


History (published in 2002)
Initially charged by former Ohio State President Brit Kirwan and Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Hall, the Health Insurance as a Condition of Enrollment Task Force presented its recommendations to the President's Coordinating Council in the spring of 2001. Following an additional year of investigation, the recommendation was approved on May 22, 2002.

Reasons for Requirement

In the long debate over the gap in health insurance coverage in the United States, the point has been made that some people are uninsured "by choice". These people actively choose not to enroll in health insurance plans because they do not perceive health insurance to be necessary, affordable, a good buy, easily obtainable - or all four. The population most often accused of thinking and behaving in this manner towards health insurance are young adults, and for the last decade, young adults have been the population group at greatest risk of being uninsured or having gaps in their insurance coverage.

Some argue that young people are more likely to lack health insurance because they feel "invulnerable" and therefore do not need health insurance. In addition, conventional wisdom suggests that young adults do not accurately perceive the risk of illness or injury, are generally in a risk-taking period of life, and think that either their parents or the health system will "be there" for them if they actually do need health care. Emergency room care is generally available for the uninsured, but is incredibly inconvenient, expensive, and not oriented toward primary care services.

These mistaken stereotypes of young adults have created concern among many college health professionals today. There is a growing body of evidence that shows a significant percentage of uninsured students will experience difficulty in obtaining health care in the surrounding community. Many people incorrectly believe that young people need very little medical care. In fact, young adults access medical care regularly when it is available, and have a growing need for routine and preventive health care. In spite of this increasing need, there is a trend among employer-sponsored health plans around the country to take actions to limit the rapidly rising costs of health insurance. Many are doing so by either lowering the age that dependents can continue to be covered by their parent's health plan, not subsidizing the costs of insurance for dependents, or adopting managed care networks that do not provide adequate benefits when students attend college away from home.

The leadership at The Ohio State University was concerned about the increasing percentage of college students without adequate health insurance and its relationship with higher student drop-out rates. Many students were incurring major medical bills that seriously impaired or completely halted their academic progress. In addition, referral to community medical providers for more severe and acute problems has become increasingly difficult without adequate health insurance. While Wilce Student Health Center provides for most of the basic medical needs of our students, without adequate health insurance, students may be denied access in the community to all but emergency care in the event of a serious illness.

Finally, failure to have adequate health insurance may cause students to defer care for medical problems until they have advanced to a more serious and potentially more costly problem to treat. If the problem is a communicable disease, this also presents a public health risk to the entire campus population.