Skip to main content


What resources are available through the NU-SHIP for COVID-19?

Effective immediately, Aetna Student Health members will have access to the following resources:

Aetna will waive deductible/co-insurance for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19. This policy will cover the test kit for patients who meet CDC guidelines for testing, which can be done in any approved laboratory location.

For the next 90 days, Aetna will offer zero co-pay telemedicine visits for any reason. Cost sharing will be waived for all video visits through the CVS MinuteClinic app, Aetna-covered Teladoc offerings and in-network providers delivering synchronous virtual care (live video-conferencing) for the NU-SHIP. Please note we highly encourage students to utilize Northwestern University Health Service (NUHS) prior to utilizing the telemedicine service. These services should be utilized if NUHS has no availability or you are residing out of state.

Through Aetna's Healing Better program, members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive a care package containing CVS over-the-counter medications to help relieve symptoms. The package will also include personal and household cleaning supplies to help keep others in the home protected from potential exposure.

Through existing care management programs, Aetna will proactively reach out to members most at-risk for COVID-19. Care managers will walk members through what they can do to protect themselves, where to get information on the virus, and where to go to get tested.

Aetna is extending its Medicare Advantage virtual evaluation and monitoring visit benefit to all Aetna members as a fully-covered benefit. This offering will empower members with other conditions that need follow-up care to engage with providers without the concern of sitting in a physician's office and risking potential exposure to COVID-19.

CVS Health is implementing the following programs to educate members about COVID-19 and help address any associated anxiety and stress:

  1. Opening Crisis Response Lines for all Aetna members who may be experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19.
  2. Expanding 24x7 access to the Aetna Nurse Medical Line for all Aetna members.
  3. Providing Aetna plan sponsors with a Resources for Living toolkit with materials specifically developed for members experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19.

Anyone presenting symptoms compatible with COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately.

For more information or to access these resources please reach out to Aetna Student Health at 877-626-2314 or visit Aetna's COVID-19 webpage.

How do I waive the NU-SHIP? (During Open Enrollment 7/1-10/1)

If you hold comparable health insurance coverage, please log into CAESAR to submit your waiver application. To determine if your alternate health insurance meets Northwestern University’s comparable coverage requirements, please review the comparable coverage checklist (pdf). Please review our screenshot guide for assistance on how to submit your waiver application. Once you have successfully submitted your waiver the default charge will reverse within 1-2 business days.

How do I enroll in the NU-SHIP? (During Open Enrollment 7/1-10/1)

If you intend on utilizing the NU-SHIP coverage please login to CAESAR to confirm your NU-SHIP enrollment. Please review our screenshot guide for assistance on how to confirm your enrollment.

When will I be billed the NU-SHIP?

The NU-SHIP premium will be billed to your student account following your tuition posting.

How do I pay the NU-SHIP premium?

The NU-SHIP premium will be billed directly to your student account. We recommend reviewing the payment methods posted on the Student Finance website.

Can I enroll quarterly?

The NU-SHIP is annual plan. Therefore, we are unable to enroll students on a quarterly basis.

Can you bill me quarterly?

The NU-SHIP is an annual plan. Therefore, we are unable to bill you on a quarterly basis. We encourage you to reach out to the Office of Student Finance to find out if you are eligible to enroll in a payment plan.

I submitted my waiver. When will the charge reverse?

The default charge will reverse within 1-2 business days of you successfully submitting your waiver. When reviewing your student account in CAESAR we recommend reviewing the real time activity versus the monthly snapshot.

How can I find out if my alternate plan meets Northwestern’s comparable coverage requirements?

We recommend downloading the comparable coverage checklist to determine if your insurance plan benefits meet Northwestern University’s comparable coverage requirements.

What insurance options are available outside of the NU-SHIP?

We recommend reviewing the alternative insurance coverage options we have posted on our website.

Why is this charge on my account?

Northwestern requires all degree-seeking students to carry comprehensive health insurance coverage. To ensure this outcome, the University defaults students into the Northwestern University Student Health Insurance Plan (NU-SHIP) annually.

Each academic year, in the first quarter in which you have an active registration status at Northwestern, you are asked either to confirm or waive your enrollment in the NU-SHIP, via the online form in CAESAR, at your earliest convenience:
  • If you intend to use the NU-SHIP for your insurance coverage this year, please confirm your enrollment to ensure you do not experience any eligibility or service issues.
  • If you will use alternate insurance coverage – which must meet all of Northwestern’s comparable coverage requirements – then please waive your NU-SHIP enrollment so you are not billed for coverage you do not need.
For additional information about Northwestern’s annual insurance requirements, and the need to confirm or waive your NU-SHIP enrollment annually, please see the Student Health Insurance website.

How do I enroll in Dental and/or Vision plan?

Northwestern has contracted with Delta Dental of Illinois to offer Northwestern students the ability to enroll in one of two dental insurance plans (a DHMO and a PPO), as well as a vision plan; enrollment for these plans is being managed by Benefit Partners. The bi-annual open enrollment periods for the academic year are:
  • Fall: August 1st - October 1st, (plan effective September 1st)
  • Spring: February 1st - March 31st, (plan effective March 1st) 
For additional information about plan benefits, premiums, and provider access, or to enroll in one or more plans, please visit Benefit Partners’ dental-vision enrollment site.

Note:  Students enrolled in the NU-SHIP may access discounted vision services with EyeMed providers; they also may purchase Aetna’s “Vital Savings for Dental” option, at an annual cost, which provides discounted dental services. For more information, click on the “Enroll” link on Aetna’s site for Northwestern students.

For questions related to dental or vision plan enrollment, plan benefits, or locating network providers, please contact Benefit Partners at 877.247.8817.

I signed up for a Delta Dental PPO plan. How do I locate an in-network provider?

You can locate an in-network provider by utilizing the Delta Dental provider search engine.

I signed up for eye insurance. How do I locate an in-network provider?

You can locate an in-network provider by utilizing the EyeMed Vision Care directory.

What is the difference between the Delta PPO plan and a Delta DHMO plan?

A Dental PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan offers a network feature. PPO dentists participate in the network thereby agreeing to accept contracted fees as payment in full rather than their usual fee for patients. When you visit a PPO dentist, you typically pay a certain percentage of the reduced rate (co-insurance) and the plan pays the rest. Preventive and diagnostic services are covered at 100%.

A Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plan requires you to choose one dentist or dental facility to coordinate all of your oral health needs. If you need to see a specialist, your primary care dentist will refer you. A DHMO plan does not have any deductibles or maximums. Instead, when you receive a dental service, you pay a fixed dollar amount for the treatment (co-payment). Often, preventive and diagnostic services have no copayment, so you pay nothing for these services. However, if you visit a dentist outside of the network, you will be responsible for the entire bill.

I signed up for eye insurance and never received an ID card?

You will not receive a vision care ID card. Your vision care provider just needs your name and date of birth to confirm benefits and verify coverage at the time of service. You can print and cut out this DeltaVision Card to be sure you have your plan information handy whenever you visit your vision care provider.

How do I cancel NU-SHIP due to graduation?

Students who will graduate at the end of Fall or Winter quarter may request to cancel their enrollment in the Northwestern Student Health Insurance Plan (NU-SHIP).

To cancel your NU-SHIP coverage upon graduating, please download, complete, and return the 2020-21 Insurance Cancellation Form to our office by the appropriate deadline.

Please note that we cannot process your form until your registration indicates that you have completed all of your program requirements, and the awarding of your degree has been verified in CAESAR.

Once we have confirmed your graduation status and processed your NU-SHIP cancellation, we will advise you that your account has been credited.

How to download/print my insurance ID card?

It typically takes five business days from when you confirm online in CAESAR or submit a manual enrollment form to the Student Insurance Office, for Aetna to generate your ID card. Please visit, and click on the “Get Your ID Card” to download a copy of your ID card.

I need a letter stating I have the NU-SHIP coverage.

You may request a certificate of credible coverage by logging into your Aetna Member Website. Please review this guide for the steps you will need to follow. You may also request the letter by contacting Aetna Student Health directly at 877-626-2314.

I lost my insurance coverage. Am I able to enroll in the NU-SHIP outside of the open enrollment period?

Students may request to add NU-SHIP coverage in the middle of a plan year as a result of a qualifying life event, i.e., aging off your parents’ coverage, or losing coverage through a loss of employment.

Please complete the 2020-21 Petition to Add form, and return it to us with a letter from your previous insurance company that confirms your last date of coverage under your current plan within 31 days of your qualifying life event.

Since the NU-SHIP coverage periods align with the academic calendar we can only process your enrollment in the quarter in which the qualifying life event takes place. We do not have the capability to adjust the coverage start date to align with your exact loss of coverage date.

I gained new insurance coverage. Am I able to cancel the NU-SHIP?

Students may request to terminate their coverage mid-plan year as a result of a qualifying life event, i.e., beginning a new job with insurance benefits (or receiving new dependent coverage through a spouse’s/partner’s new employment and insurance access).

Please complete the 2020-21 Petition to Cancel form, and return it to us with documentation from your new insurance carrier which indicates your first date of coverage under your new insurance plan within 31 days of your qualifying life event.

Since the NU-SHIP coverage periods align with the academic calendar we can only process your cancellation at the end of the quarter in which the qualifying life event takes place. Once we process the cancellation an adjustment will be posted to your student account for the remaining quarter(s) premium.


How do I locate an in-network provider?

Aetna Student Health has an online tool to assist you in locating in-network providers or identifying the network status of a provider you are seeing. Please visit Aetna’s Doc Find search engine, and enter either the name of your identified provider, or the medical specialty you are searching for.

We also encourage students to establish an Aetna Member Website, which will enable you to access the Doc Find search engine seamlessly, in addition to reviewing claims status and out-of-pocket expenses.

Please follow up with us if you have additional questions.

How do I enroll a dependent onto the NU-SHIP plan?

Students may enroll dependents into NU-SHIP coverage during the student’s annual open enrollment period, or within 31 days of a qualifying life event leading to a loss of coverage.

During open enrollment, please confirm your own NU-SHIP enrollment in CAESAR, and then visit Aetna’s dependent enrollment page and follow the prompts to complete your application.

If you need to add coverage for a dependent due to a qualifying life event, contact Aetna Student Health directly at 877.626.2314. Please note that you must enroll your dependent(s) within 31 days of a qualifying life event.

Please follow up with us if you have questions or require additional assistance.

How do I sign up for my Aetna Member Website account?

We encourage all students enrolled in NU-SHIP coverage to establish an Aetna Member Website. Your members-only account provides access to a comprehensive and individual portal which allows you to view claims information and review your annual out-of-pocket expenses to date, access the Doc Find search engine to identify in-network providers (and save you money!), and print your insurance ID card.

I graduated and my insurance ends on 8/31. Can I extend my NU-SHIP coverage?

Unfortunately, we are unable to extend your NU-SHIP coverage. However, as Northwestern University alumni you can take advantage of the health insurance plan offered through the Alumni Relations office. To learn more and enroll, visit or call 1-888-560-ALUM (2586). Otherwise, we typically recommend reviewing the plans available on the marketplace.

I am travelling abroad, and I need immunization prior to departure. Is this covered by the NU-SHIP and where can I go?

The NU-SHIP covers all CDC recommended travel immunizations at 100%. Additionally, the NU-SHIP covers the consultation and immunization administration at zero cost to students. We have worked with Aetna to make this extremely clear to providers by adding information to your insurance ID card.

We recommend printing or downloading your ID card if you have not done so already. To ensure students receive this benefit they must use an in-network provider. For students on either the Chicago or the Evanston campus we recommend the following clinics:

Do I have coverage while travelling outside of the United States?

If you need to seek medical care while you are abroad simply locate your nearest medical provider. There is no “network” outside of the United States. You will need to pay for services up front and then file for reimbursement with Aetna. When Aetna processes the claim, it will reimburse at the in-network rate of 80% after the $250 deductible.

Additionally, as a NU-SHIP enrollee you have access to On Call International. Please review the summary and ID card you should take with you while you are abroad. Please follow-up with us should you have any additional questions.

I paid for prescription or medical services. How do I file for reimbursement?

To initiate reimbursement process please complete the Medical Benefits Request or the Prescription Drug Claim form.

Where can I get my 1095 tax form?

You may access your 1095 tax form by logging into your Aetna Member Website. Please review the step-by-step guide on how to obtain the form. If you are unable to obtain the form via your Aetna Member Website account, you may contact Aetna at 855-531-6837 for assistance.

Why is my out of state HMO and/or Medicaid plan not considered comparable coverage?

Unfortunately, most out of state HMO/Medicaid plans do not meet Northwestern’s comparable coverage requirements. This is because these plans provide no non-emergency coverage in the Chicago and Evanston area, meaning that the student and the University assume the liability and financial burden of uncovered care should the student have non-emergency medical needs while on campus.

If you are enrolled in an out of state HMO plan we encourage you to reach out to your insurance carrier to see if a rider is available which provides a guest network for the Chicago/Evanston area. If this is not offered by your insurance carrier then you will need to either enroll in the NU-SHIP or seek alternative comparable coverage.

Why is it mandatory for international students to be enrolled in the NU-SHIP?

The mandatory NU-SHIP enrollment requirement applies to all international students. Northwestern University requires all degree-seeking international students – students holding a J-1 or F-1 U.S. visa – to confirm their annual Northwestern University Student Health Insurance Plan (NU-SHIP) enrollment, and maintain coverage in the NU-SHIP, for the entire time they are studying at Northwestern.

The requirement stems from J-1 and F-1 students having visa requirements involving insurance coverage. Additionally, the cultural difference between our healthcare system and many others in the world caused problems where international students either did not maintain enrollment for the full year or did not have adequate coverage.

The result was financial burden that resulted in a disruption to studies, as well as increased liability on the university’s side. A cross-campus policy committee deemed it necessary to ensure international students maintain sufficient coverage by requiring participation.

Do I need a referral to seek care outside of NUHS? (Please see the exception list below)

A referral is required when services outside NUHS are provided in Cook and Lake Counties.

When don’t I need a referral?

Referrals from NUHS are not required in the following circumstances:
  • Medical care received when the student is outside Cook and Lake County boundaries
  • Obstetric and gynecological treatment
  • Pediatric care
  • Mammography
  • Maternity
  • Mental health and substance abuse
  • Treatment for an emergency medical condition
  • Preventive/Routine services (services considered preventive according to the Affordable Care Act and/or services rendered not to diagnose or treat an Accident or Sickness)

What happens if I do not get a referral?

You will be responsible for a $50 penalty, per condition (in addition to any plan co-pay or deductible, which may apply), for any expenses you incur for which you did not obtain a referral from NUHS.

How to obtain a referral?

Referrals are issued by Northwestern University Health Service (NUHS). Please reach out to either of their offices to initiate a referral. 
  • Northwestern University Health Service - Evanston
    • 633 Emerson Street
    • Evanston IL 60208-4000
    • 847.491.8100
  •  Northwestern University Health Service - Chicago
    • Northwestern Medicine
    • General Internal Medicine
    • 675 North St. Clair Suite 18-200
    • Chicago IL 60611
    • 312.695.8134

Why do I need a referral?

The NU-SHIP is designed to work in coordination with Northwestern University Health Service to minimize your out of pocket healthcare costs.

My dependent is enrolled in the NU-SHIP. Are they eligible to utilize NUHS?

Dependents are not eligible to utilize Northwestern University Health Service and therefore are not subject to the referral requirement or penalties. Please visit Aetna’s Doc Find search engine, and enter either the name of your identified provider, or the medical specialty you are searching for.

I cannot afford the NU-SHIP. Is there any financial assistance available? (Undergraduates Only)

The Office of Financial Aid office provides aid to students who need to purchase the university plan and who have significant financial need. Please visit the following link to complete the Health Insurance Aid Request form. Please note this form is processed by the Office of Financial Aid and you would follow-up with them on the status of the application.

My program agreed to cover the cost or a portion of the cost of the NU-SHIP.

We do not manage health insurance subsidies here in the Student Insurance Office. Your program of study manages the health insurance subsidy. Please reach out to your program for confirmation of the health insurance subsidy amount and when it will be applied to your student account.

I can’t afford my out of pocket costs. (Copay, Deductible, Co-Insurance etc.)

We encourage you to reach out to Patient Support Services and/or Student Enrichment Services. The Patient Advocacy Coordinators collaborate with Student Enrichment Services to provide guidance on financial support for student’s medical expenses.

I obtained referral from NUHS to see a specialist and/or get diagnostic testing and I need help scheduling the appointment?

We encourage you to reach out to Patient Support Services. The Patient Advocacy Coordinators are able to provide assistance in scheduling appointments with a specialist or diagnostic testing.

Does NUHS accept private insurance?

Unfortunately, the Northwestern University Health Service does not contract with any health insurance provider, and thus does not submit insurance claims for students. For more information on the charge policy, you should contact the Patients Accounts at 847-491-2363 or email the Patients Accounts Coordinator Lisa Edwards at

I have private insurance. Am I eligible to utilize NUHS?

You are eligible to see the providers at NUHS free of cost even though you are enrolled in private insurance. Since Northwestern University Health Service does not contract with private insurances you will need to file for reimbursement with your insurance carrier for immunizations, labs, or x-rays etc. Please reach out to the Patient Accounts Coordinator at 847-491-2363 or email Lisa Edwards at to obtain an invoice.

To eliminate the extra step of filing for reimbursement you have the option to take lab-work, imaging, immunization orders from the NUHS provider to an in-network provider with your insurance carrier.

I have withdrawn from Northwestern and would like to cancel my NU-SHIP.

Students who withdraw from their degree program at Northwestern University may request to terminate coverage at the end of the quarter in which their withdrawal is processed. Please complete and submit the NU-SHIP Cancellation Form prior to your withdrawal being processed by the University.

Why did I receive a bill?

Medical services obtained outside of NUHS are subject to the $250 annual deductible. Once that amount has been met Aetna will pay 80% of in-network medical services and you are responsible for the remaining 20% co-insurance amount. We encourage you to download the explanation of benefits from your Aetna Member Website.

What does the NU-SHIP cover?

The NU-SHIP covers medically necessary in-network expenses at 80% after the $250 annual deductible. You are responsible for the remaining 20% co-insurance amount. Preventative services are covered at 100% with an in-network provider and are not subject to the deductible. We recommend reviewing the Aetna Student Health Plan Design & Benefits Summary for more detail on what is covered by the NU-SHIP.

Since NUHS does not schedule annual physicals, how can I get a physical?

Northwestern University Health Service (NUHS) is unable to accommodate physicals during the academic year. They can schedule them only on breaks (Summer, Spring, & Winter). Therefore, you can schedule a physical outside of NUHS with any in-network Aetna provider. Additionally, you do not require a referral from NUHS for the physical. Physicals are covered at 100% if your visit is with an in-network provider. You can locate an in-network provider by visiting Aetna’s DocFind search engine if you have not done so already. Once you have located an in-network you would simply call the providers office to schedule an appointment.

What is the patient responsibility for in-network mental health visits?

Maximum patient responsibility of $20 per visit. No policy year deductible applies.

What is the patient responsibility for out-of-network mental health visits?

$20 copayment then the plan pays 80% of the balance of the recognized charge per visit thereafter. No policy year deductible applies. This means that for a visit where the provider charges $165, your responsibility will be $33. However, reimbursement for out-of-network providers is based on the RECOGNIZED cost. If the recognized charge is $165, but your provider bills $185, then your patient responsibility would be $33 plus the additional $20 over the recognized cost. This would bring your cost to $53. It is important to use in-network providers wherever possible in order to reduce your financial burden.

What is the patient responsibility for CAPS mental health visits?

There is no charge for a student to see a CAPS provider.