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Waiving UC SHIP

UC SHIP Waiver

All registered UC Merced students are automatically enrolled in the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) in order to meet the UC Regents mandate that all UC students have health insurance coverage as a non-academic condition of enrollment. However, if you are already covered by a health insurance plan and do not wish to be enrolled in UC SHIP, you can waive enrollment by submitting an online waiver application during the waiver period. 

If I waive UC SHIP, can I still use Student Health Services on my campus? 

Yes, all registered UC students can receive care at the campus Student Health Services (SHS), regardless of what type of insurance they have. Please note, that SHS does not submit claims to plans other than UC SHIP.


Waiver Criteria (PDF)

Waiver Worsheet (PDF)

Glossary of Medical insurance Terminology (PDF)

How to waive with Medi-Cal (PDF)


  • Fall Waiver opens June 1, 2020

  • Fall Waiver closes August 1, 2020


If You Plan to Waive SHIP

UC Merced students who have waived out of SHIP can be seen at UC Merced Student Health Services (SHS) for primary care and other health related concerns, however your medical condition may require care that is not available at SHS.

If you plan to waive SHIP, you must first make sure your insurance provides coverage for non-emergency medical care within 55 miles of UC Merced. This is one of the waiver criterion and will ensure you have access to necessary medical care in Merced when you need it. Your waiver will be denied if your insurance does not provide coverage within 55 miles of UC Merced. Avoid having your waiver denied and take the necessary steps now to make sure you have the necessary coverage before you need to use it.

You must contact your insurance company, whether it is Kaiser, Medi-Cal, or a private HMO, to let them know you are attending college in Merced. Ask them if you have coverage for non-emergency and non-urgent care while in Merced. Most HMO plans, including Medi-Cal, require that your non-emergency and non-urgent care be obtained through your assigned medical group or primary care physician (PCP) and will only allow local care if it's an emergency or urgent care. This will be a problem if your medical group or PCP is not located in Merced.

Most PPO plans do not have this requirement and will provide coverage in Merced whether it is an emergency, urgent or not.

If you do not have the necessary coverage in Merced, ask your insurance representative how to change your coverage. You may find the following information helpful as you transfer your insurance coverage to Merced.


  • UC SHIP fees are charged to your student account each semester along with your registration fees. You will be required to pay these fees and will be covered by UC SHIP unless you have an approved waiver application on file with Insurance Services at the Student Health Center.

UC Merced requires all students have a primary care provider within 55 miles of their school address (on or off campus). Many students with Medi-Cal or HMO insurance cannot meet this require­ment. If you cannot identify a provider within this 55 mile radius, you may not qualify to waive UCSHIP.

UC SHIP Mandate Letter from UC Regents


Students with an HMO:

Before waiving UC SHIP, please note that HMO plans only cover you for medical care from your designated primary care provider or upon referral from that office. It is not automatically a portable plan. In order to seek non-emergency care in Merced County using an HMO plan, the student must select a new doctor in our area and transfer their care to that physician. Please contact your insurance company to change your Primary Care Provider (PCP) to one in the Merced area within 55 miles. We will need a copy of the front and back of your insurance card.

Students with Medi-Cal: 

Full coverage is mandatory and emergency Medi-Cal is not acceptable. For those students who do not live in Merced, Madera, Mariposa, Stanislaus, or Tuolumne Counties, you need to contact your case worker in your home county to let them know you will be attending college at UC Merced (County Code 24). You will need to update your physical address where you will be living in Merced (house, apt., dorm). This will take you out of your current county plan and put you in the Merced County health plan, Central California Alliance. (This is only temporary as you go home for breaks and holidays.) This will allow you to seek all services in the Merced area and not just emergency services and will help you qualify to waive out of the UC insurance plan. We will need a copy of the front and back of your county insurance card to be kept on file. Please do not upload your Benefits Identification Card, this can get your waiver reversed. (BIC Card)

Medi-Cal and College Students Information

How to waive with Medi-Cal (PDF)


If you have one of these Insurance Plans, this is what you need to do:


1. Contact Kaiser member services 800-464-4000 to obtain a Northern Kaiser ID number.

2. Schedule an initial visit with a primary care provider (PCP) at the Kaiser Modesto or Fresno facility.

3. Once PCP is established, most visits can be scheduled online.


Kaiser Medi-Cal  


1. Contact the Department Of Health and Human Services or your Case Worker in the county where your Medi-Cal was obtained. (Home County) Explain you are attending UC Merced but will still reside in your home county during vacations and school breaks.

2. Once your physical address has been updated in the state's Medi-Cal database and Merced County Code 24, you should receive a package with information on Central California Alliance.

3. Make sure you pick a primary care doctor in Merced County.

NOTE: This process can take 30-60 days or more to complete and may require long phone calls and multiple follow-up calls. Get started on this process as soon as possible. Your waiver cannot be approved until your Medi-Cal coverage is active and provides non-emergency coverage in Merced County.

If you are having difficulty getting your case worker to change your physical address, you can contact the California State Ombudsman at: 888-452-8609 option #9. Monday through Friday​, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.



1. Contact Customer Service or Member Services on your ID card and explain you are attending UC Merced. Let them know you need to change your Primary Care Provider (PCP) to within 55 miles of UC Merced.

2. Be sure you know how to access medical care when you need it.