1112 - Policy on Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP)


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP)

Policy Statement

Graduate students are eligible for enrollment in the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP), (frequently referred to as the RA/TA Health Insurance plan) provided the following four criteria are met:

  1. The student must be registered as a full-time graduate student in good standing at the University.
  2. The student must be functioning as a Research Assistant (RA), Teaching Assistant (TA), Fellow or Trainee.
  3. The student's service and non-service appointments must be based on academically-related endeavors within an academic program/department.
  4. The student must receive a minimum prescribed compensation for services, as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant, or receive a fellowship or traineeship award during a policy year from an appropriate source of University funds related to their academic appointment(s). The minimum prescribed compensation is updated for each plan year and can be found on The Graduate School's website.
  5. If the student receives funding directly through an external source (not through the University payroll system and not on their student account), the department may enroll the student in GSHIP and pay the premium from departmental sources.

Tuition remission, compensation for services as a temporary student employee, or payments received directly from an affiliated foundation or external entity do not apply toward these eligibility criteria.

Other Provisions of GSHIP

  1. The policy year is August 1 through July 31.
  2. The same sources of funds, which provide financial support to the graduate student, must also pay the proportionate cost of the health insurance premiums with one exception. If the source of funds includes Federal Work-Study program funds, the employing department is responsible for the proportionate share of the health insurance premiums.
  3. The premium cost per student for annual coverage under the program will be announced no later than 30 days before the plan year begins.
  4. Campus Health Services will provide care covered by the Student Health Fee. GSHIP will provide health care coverage that exceeds Campus Health's scope.
  5. Students must first pay the campus health fee, billed per semester by the University Cashier, in order to be eligible for the additional coverage provided under this policy. If the University has another policy that permits the waiver of fees, the student can still be eligible for the insurance policy.
  6. If a student withdraws from the University, or ceases to perform work in the academic program before the prescribed compensation level has been earned, the insurance coverage will be terminated as authorized by the department(s). The student may seek insurance coverage through the Healthcare exchange or though employer-based coverage on the basis of a qualifying event. If the student is still enrolled, but no longer qualifies for GSHIP, they may qualify to enroll in the UNC system-wide mandatory student health insurance plan.
  7. When a student takes an approved leave of absence (LOA), termination coincides with the beginning of their leave period.
  8. If an eligible student withdraws under the University Medical Withdrawal Process, GSHIP will continue to be provided by the academic program/department through the end of the policy term unless termination is requested by the student.
  9. When an eligible student graduates, the student must be removed from the insurance program. Students who graduate in December must be removed effective December 31. Students who graduate in May must be removed effective May 31. Students who graduate in August terminate from GSHIP on May 31 or July 31, at the discretion of the academic department.
  10. When the Spring semester ends, the eligible student continues to be covered under GSHIP from the period of June 1 through July 31 as long as the student does not graduate and is planning to return in the Fall. The student does not have to attend Summer sessions to be covered. However, the student must pay the campus health fee for the Summer sessions in order to receive services at Campus Health Services. Ineligible students should enroll in the UNC system-wide mandatory health insurance plan or a creditable plan.
  11. If the graduate student is not functioning as a Research Assistant (RA), Teaching Assistant (TA), Fellow, or Trainee for either the Fall or Spring semester, and if the program/department documents extenuating circumstances to substantiate the appropriateness to continue insurance coverage for both the Fall and Spring semesters, then the department can make an exception to continue the student's enrollment in GSHIP. Documentation for the exception must be forwarded to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the Graduate School and the GSHIP Administrator for approval.

Reason for Policy

This policy provides eligibility criteria and other provisions of the Graduate Health Insurance Plan (GSHIP).


GSHIP is a separate plan from the UNC system-wide mandatory student health insurance plan. Graduate students with a status of RA, TA, Fellow or Trainee should continue to be enrolled in the GSHIP plan through their academic program. GSHIP is a blanket accident and illness policy with a different set of benefits from the system wide student health insurance plan. Students cannot be enrolled in both plans.

GSHIP is a separate plan from insurance programs for Clinical Fellows, Postdoctoral Trainees, and Postdoctoral Research Associates.

Special Situations

In August 2009, the UNC Board of Governors approved the implementation of a "hard waiver" student health insurance plan on all sixteen four-year campuses beginning in F

all 2010. The term "hard waiver" means any graduate or undergraduate student meeting three specific criteria (enrolled in 6 credit hours if an undergraduate or 1 credit hour if a graduate student, degree-seeking, and eligible to pay the student health fee) is required to show evidence of an existing "creditable coverage" health insurance policy or enroll in the UNC system-wide plan.

In order to waive out of the UNC system-wide mandatory health insurance plan, graduate students must submit information to verify enrollment in GSHIP or they will be charged a premium for health insurance coverage, per semester, on their University account.


Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does "a registered graduate student in good standing" include?
A: Please refer to the Graduate School's Handbook for registration requirements.

Q: If a student is not eligible for the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan, is there other insurance available?
A: If these students are degree seeking, enrolled in at least one credit hour, and eligible to pay the Campus Health Services student health fee, they can participate in the student health insurance plan. More information about this plan is available through Campus Health Services.

Q: If an eligible student graduates, withdraws from the University, or ceases to perform work in the academic program before the prescribed compensation level has been earned, what will happen with the Graduate Student Health Insurance?
A: The insurance coverage will be terminated as authorized by the department(s). The student may enroll in an insurance plan through the healthcare exchange on the basis of a qualifying event. The student may be eligible for subsidies based on income. For North Carolina specifically, individuals interested in an appointment with a Navigator to enroll in coverage will have access to a statewide hotline by calling 800-579-8022.

Q: When a student has met the minimum compensation amount, worked as an RA/TA, Fellow, or Trainee during the policy year, but will not return to the position the following semester when does their GSHIP insurance terminate?
A: Insurance terminates at the end of the policy year, July 31. For students graduating in August, departments have discretion in continuing coverage through July 31.

Q: Are students who were not RA/TA, Fellow, or Trainees during the academic year eligible for GSHIP during the summer?
A: No. Only students who were eligible for GSHIP during the academic year are eligible for GSHIP during the summer.

Q: When does open enrollment begin?
A: Open enrollment begins July 1.

Q: My grant has ended. How do I change the chart field string used to pay a student's insurance premium?
A: Changes should be made in ePar by the appropriate HR staff member. You may also make changes on the GSHIP Premium Admin Page in ConnectCarolina. For assistance, contact gradstar@unc.edu.

Q: If I terminate a student's payroll is their insurance coverage automatically terminated?
A: No, you must terminate insurance coverage within ConnectCarolina's GSHIP module.

Related Data

Additional information about the mandatory student health insurance requirement is available at Campus Health Services.


Policy Contacts
Issue Contact Phone E-Mail
Process Brett Kenney, Cash Manager 919-962-1601 bwkenney@email.unc.edu
Process Kenyana Kimbrough, Accountant 919-962-7818 kkimbro@email.unc.edu
Campus Health Services Ken Pittman, Executive Director 919-966-7981 pittmank@email.unc.edu
Campus Health Services Vicki Warwick, Insurance Associate 919-966-6599 vwarwick@email.unc.edu
Office of Sponsored Research Director, Post Award Services & Cash Management 919-962-4676 resadminosr@unc.edu
Online Process (Technical) Kelleigh Huggins 919-962-3607 khuggins@email.unc.edu
BCBSNC Customer Service 800-579-8022 email@studentbluenc.com



  • May 5, 2022: Significant minor revisions throughout document as well as substantial changes which address: 1) how students who are funded directly through an external source may be eligible for GSHIP insurance; 2) a concise statement on length of the policy year; 3) change in language of enrollment status from "as long as student is enrolled'" to "as long as student does not graduate and is planning to return"; 4) insurance terminates at end of policy year and not end of semester of the term; and 5) how and by whom relevant changes can be made to chartfields for GSHIP payments when a grant has ended. 
  • April 27, 2022: Updated contact list
  • February 4, 2019: Removed Dwayne Pinkney from the list of contacts as he is no longer with the University.
  • April 20, 2018: Updated disbursement services to Accounts Payable and updated website.
  • August 1, 2016: Added termination dates; changed contact information
  • June 13, 2016: Updated Contacts list.
  • July 29, 2015: Removed Elizabeth Parker from Contacts.
  • July 23, 2014: Updated information about transition of plan from employer based plan with eligibility for COBRA to blanket accident and illness policy without COBRA eligibility. Updated contact information.
  • July 8, 2013: Updated program-related dates and reference information.
  • September 21, 2012: Changed contact information.
  • July 16, 2012: Changed contact information; amended provisions and criteria for GSHIP recipients.
  • July 20, 2011
  • November 3, 2010: Added Contact.
  • July 9, 2010
  • August 31, 2009
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Article ID: 131385
Thu 4/8/21 9:07 PM
Wed 1/10/24 12:48 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
05/09/2022 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Associate Dean for Finance and Operations
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
05/05/2022 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
05/05/2022 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
02/07/2024 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
05/16/2005 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
The Graduate School