Health Insurance

Health Insurance Requirement

All students are required to maintain adequate medical insurance during their enrollment at Duke University. You must complete either the enrollment or waiver process within the open enrollment period. Failure to do so will result in a delay in coverage or a charge for insurance you do not need.

Duke offers a Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP) designed to meet the needs of students who have no insurance or who have inadequate insurance coverage in the Durham, NC area. Please review your coverage. While it may be acceptable for a waiver, it may not provide the kind of security and coverage provided by our student plan, which is tailored to a Duke students specific needs.

If you are an international student holding an F1 or J1 visa, enrollment in the SMIP is mandatory.

The Duke SMIP is underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of North Carolina. Student insurance plans with BCBS are identified as Student Blue.

Open Enrollment and Waiver Period

Fall Semester

If you do not enter your decision by September 15, you will be automatically enrolled in the DUKE SMIP for the period from August 1 until July 31. If you are enrolled by default, the insurance charge will remain on your Bursar account, and you will not receive your enrollment ID cards until after September 15. If you do not enter your decision and are automatically enrolled, you WILL NOT be able to waive.

Spring Semester

Spring open enrollment begins November 15. Spring matriculates, please log in to your Duke Hub account to enter your decision to waive or enroll in the plan.

A prorated charge for the student insurance plan will be placed on your tuition bill/Bursar account. This charge and coverage by the plan may be waived if you provide adequate proof of coverage under another health insurance plan. The waiver criteria is listed below. Please note that by paying the insurance charge on your Bursar account, it does not automatically enroll you in the plan at that time. Please confirm enrollment through your Duke Hub account.

Need to Enroll or Waive?

Please complete the enrollment or waiver process through your DukeHub account.

Students may petition to waive the SMIP through their DukeHub account if the following criteria are met:

Policy and plan used below refer to the plan the student will use in lieu of the SMIP.

  • The student does not hold an F1 or J1 visa.
  • The claims administrator of the plan is based in the United States, has a U.S. telephone number and address for submission of claims, and the insurance policy has not been issued outside the U.S.
  • The policy is not a traveling policy.
  • The plan provides both emergency and non-emergency routine health care and mental health benefits in the Durham, NC area, including at Duke Medicine.
  • The plan provides inpatient and outpatient mental health care (with at least 30 visits per year) with chemical dependency benefits that are comparable to the coverage provided by the Duke SMIP.
  • The plan provides coverage for prescription medication.
  • The lifetime benefit is at least $500,000.

Out-of-state Medicaid and state Children’s Health Insurance Plans, HMOs, and Kaiser Permanente plans do not cover non-emergency care in Durham, and DO NOT qualify for a waiver.

International students holding an F1 or J1 visa may not waive the SMIP.  Please note that traveling insurance or medical insurance policies issued from your country of origin or outside the U.S. will not be acceptable as means to waive the Duke SMIP.

Please contact your medical insurance carrier to confirm that your insurance covers non-emergency care at all Duke Medicine Clinics and that you have a deductible small enough to allow you to afford your portion of the bill.

In addition to waiver approval by the automated system, please note that all waiver requests will be reviewed by a Student Health representative. If the waiver submitted does not meet the waiver criteria, you will be enrolled in the SMIP.

The annual cost of coverage for all eligible students for the 2022-2023 plan year is $3,375.00.*

For dependents, the annual premium rates are as follows:

  • Add Spouse, $6,182.04* (in addition to the student premium)
  • Add Child(ren), $3,512.04* (in addition to the student premium)
  • Add Family, $9,692.04* (in addition to the student premium)

A portion of the cost of the SMIP is retained by Duke University to pay for administrative costs incurred by the University and for reserve funds. Any portion of the cost of the plan retained by Duke University is encumbered solely for the purpose of funding plan expenses or the equitable and non-discriminatory benefit of plan participants.

*Rates pending regulatory approval.

The Duke SMIP continues to provide excellent benefits at a valuable cost.

The plan has received a platinum tier rating under the Affordable Care Act rating system.

All out-of-pocket costs (coinsurance, copayments, and deductible amounts) will apply to the out-of-pocket limit. In addition, all students will be charged the same rate regardless of age.

Summary of Plan Benefits

Student Blue coverage for Duke Students through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina extends throughout the U.S. and worldwide to over 200 countries and territories. 

As a student, whether you are studying abroad or back in your home country visiting family, you can rest assured knowing that there are services available to you through your Student Blue health plan.

If you are in need of any of the below services, please call GeoBlue’s 24/7 assistance center at 1 (855) 445-1301.

We understand Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has been challenging and confusing!

  • Students should not worry about losing their current coverage since the Duke SMIP meets the PPACA’s standards 100%.
  • The Duke SMIP previously and currently maintains a no pre-existing condition waiting period policy to make sure our students receive the best possible health care coverage.  
  • Eligible dependents can be added to the student policy during our spring open enrollment through January 31. 
  • Duke SMIPs provides coverage at 100% for preventive care services in accordance with the PPACA.  
  • For further details, please go to bcbsnc.com/preventive or download a detailed Benefit Booklet for the Duke SMIP at studentbluenc.com/#/duke under “plan benefits”.

Helping Students Afford Dental Care

Members of the Duke SMIP have access to the Basix Dental Savings Program, which saves students up to 50% of the cost of general dental care and 20% of the cost of specialty care. The Basix Dental Savings Program is not insurance, rather it is a network of dentists that provide dental services at negotiated rates to students enrolled in the SMIP.

In Raleigh/Durham, there are 53 contracted general dentists and specialists. We also have a provider in Morehead City to serve students studying at the Duke University Marine Lab. We have thousands of providers contracted in other parts of North Carolina and in most other populous states members of the SMIP can access when home during breaks or pursuing study/research.

How to use the Program

Using the Program is straight forward, the student simply:

  • Finds a contracted dentist on our website: www.basixstudent.com. The rates the dentist accepts are shown so the student can “shop”.
    • The SMIP ID card is used as identification for the dentist (if the dentist wishes, they may also call BCBS to confirm the student is enrolled in the SMIP).
  • Pays the provider for the care received at the time of service at the negotiated rate.
    • Because the Program is not insurance, there are no claim forms, annual maximums, benefit limitations and conditions or other plan provisions.

Dental insurance is offered to Duke Students and their dependents.

We offer a dental insurance plan to help maintain your good oral health through BrightSmile for Students.  Review plan features and coverage amounts here. 

Plan Highlights

  • A $275 charge to your bursar’s account and you will be covered for an entire year.
  • The dental office on campus has price-matched the allowance, which means you’ll pay $0 when you visit them. When you visit any other dentist, you will only pay the amount beyond what is covered. 
  • See p. 8-14 of the member brochure for coverage amounts applicable to dental providers not located within Campus Smiles.
  • There is no network to search – go anywhere.
  • Visit the dentist as often as you like – you are covered up to $2,000 annually.

Once enrolled, a charge of $275.00 will be posted to your bursar’s account, and you will get an email from BrightBenefits@careington.com with policy materials, including a member ID card. You can visit the dentist as soon as you complete the enrollment form, even if you have not yet received an ID card.

We look forward to continuing to support your health and wellness. If you have questions, please email dental@duke.edu or call at 919-684-2800.

Enrollment Exceptions
New students enrolled at the University during the summer term, or students who have lost individual coverage, may enroll in the SMIP through the month of July. Please complete a Duke Exception Form and send to Student Health Insurance at insurance@studentaffairs.duke.edu. Alternatively, you may print the form and fax to 919-681-2874. A charge will be added to your Bursar account for the cost of the plan through the month of July. To ensure that you are enrolled beginning on August 1st, please complete the enrollment process through your Duke Hub account during open enrollment.

Terms of Coverage
The enrollment term and insurance charge for all eligible students is for the entire academic year - August 1 through July 31. If you obtain alternate coverage during the Fall term that meets the waiver criteria, you will have the opportunity to waive the SMIP for the Spring term during the spring open enrollment period - November 15 through January 31.

If this occurs, you must submit a change form to insurance@studentaffairs.duke.edu. If you would like to enroll in the SMIP for the Spring 2023 term, you will also have the opportunity to do so during the spring open enrollment period. At that time, the coverage will be active for the remainder of the benefit year.

Financial Aid
If you receive Duke University need-based financial aid and you are required to purchase the SMIP, your aid may be increased to cover the cost of the SMIP. Please complete the enrollment/waiver process through your Duke Hub account. If your current coverage does not meet the waiver criteria, you will be required to enroll in the student plan. If this is the case, please contact your financial aid advisor at the Office of Financial Aid to inquire as to whether   your aid package will cover the cost of the SMIP.

Dependent Coverage
Dependents (i.e. spouse and/or children) of eligible students may be enrolled in the SMIP. Any dependents to be covered under Duke SMIP should be enrolled by August 30 by visiting www.studentbluenc.com/#/duke, NO EXCEPTIONS. Payment for dependent premiums will be made directly to Student Blue (Blue Cross). Please refer to Cost of Coverage above for dependent premium rates. Duke DOES NOT enroll dependents. Please contact Student Blue at 1-888-234-2417 for dependent enrollment questions. 

Bursar Account Updates
Please allow up to 5 business days for the processing of your waiver. This will include a review of your waiver and, if approved, removal of the insurance charge from your Bursar account. Bursar billing statements are issued on a monthly basis. However, charge removals will be processed at least on a weekly basis. To confirm that the insurance charge has been removed, please refer to the account details in Duke Hub to see the most up-to-date account information. 

December Graduates 
Will you be graduating in the fall? If so, you will have the option of ending your Duke SMIP coverage with a December 31 termination date. Please submit your termination request to insurance@studentaffairs.duke.edu during Spring Open Enrollment - November 15 through January 31.

If we do not receive your termination request prior to the end of open enrollment, your policy will stay active until July 31, NO EXCEPTIONS

Continuation of Coverage 
We do not offer continuation of coverage, which means your current insurance plan will end July 31. As an option, you can apply for insurance at www.healthcare.gov (domestic students) and geobluetravelinsurance.com (international students) at least 30 days prior to your plan termination date.

U.S. Mailing Address
A U.S. mailing address is required for mailing of the insurance ID card, as well as any claims and/or benefit information. If you do not have a U.S. mailing address, your health insurance ID cards will be sent to the following address:

"Your Name"

Student Health, DUMC 2899, Durham, NC 27708

This is the mailing address for the Duke Student Wellness Center. We will hold insurance ID cards for student pick-up until September 30. Once you have established a U.S. mailing address, please contact Student Blue (1-888-234-2417) to change your address.

Failure to update your mailing address with Student Blue will interfere with receipt of your reimbursement checks and/or your 1095-B tax forms.

Which students are required to have student insurance?All students are required to maintain adequate medical insurance during their enrollment at Duke University.
I’m turning 26 and will no longer be covered on my parents insurance, what should I do?Send an email to insurance@studentaffairs.duke.edu informing us that you are turning 26, in turn, we will send you the proper forms to be completed and returned.
How will I be covered if I studied abroad for a semester?If you have Duke Student insurance your policy includes world-wide-coverage. If you do not have the student insurance plan, please contact your insurance carrier to verify coverage for international travel. If your carrier does not offer international coverage, please notify us at insurance@studentaffairs.duke.edu to enroll in the student plan for that semester.
When will my health insurance become active?Coverage begins either August 1st or January 1st depending on your matriculation date. Enrollment start dates can be modified based on a student's status.  (For example, exchange students, loss of current coverage.)
Will I be covered during the summer?If you have student insurance your policy will be active until July 31st. (Exceptions apply based on students status.)
I graduate in May, when will my coverage end?Your student insurance coverage will end July 31st. 
I graduate in December, when will my coverage end?
  • Non-Ph.D and Ph.D students insurance policy will end July 31st, unless you notify us to terminate your plan during spring open enrollment (November 15th– January 31st)
  • Ph.D. candidates, if your premiums are being paid for by the Graduate School the premium will only cover you until 12/31. If you choose to continue your enrollment in the student insurance plan beyond December 31st, you will be balance billed for coverage dates January 1st - July 31st.
Who should I contact if I need a copy of my insurance card?Contact Student Blue (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina) at 1-888-234-2417.
I have questions regarding my coverage who should I contact?
  • Contact Student Blue (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina) at 1-888-234-2417.
  • insurance@studentaffairs.duke.edu (monitored at all times)
  • Or the Insurance coordinator Calvin Vennie at (calvin.vennie@duke.edu) or 919-684-1000.
When can I add my dependents?Dependents have to be added by August 30th (fall semester) or January 31st (spring semester). If you have a qualifying life event (QLE) (marriage, birth, dependent/s arriving in the US) you have 30 days (NO EXCEPTIONS) from the QLE date to add your dependent. Documentation will be required. Contact Student Blue (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina) at 1-888-234-2417. Duke University DOES NOT handle dependent coverage. 
What address was my insurance cards mailed to?
  • Insurance cards are mailed to the mailing address listed in Duke Hub as of July 1st. If you need an additional insurance card you can call Contact Student Blue (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina) at 1-888-234-2417. Please verify your mailing address at that time.
  • Students with a non-US based mailing address will have their ID cards mailed to the default address at Student Health. 305 Towerview Dr, Durham, NC 27710 .
How often should the insurance waiver be completed?Insurance waivers are to be completed yearly.
EX: Fall matriculants (Complete insurance waiver between June 15th-September 15th)
EX: Spring matriculants (Complete insurance waiver between November 15th – January 31st)
Is the insurance charge on my bursar’s account billed each semester?

No. The $3375.00 insurance charge on the fall bursar’s bill is for coverage dates August 1st – July 31st. A 7 month prorated premium will be reflected on the spring matriculates’ bursar’s account.

What is the Health Fee charge on my bursar’s account?The health fee allows students to be treated at Duke Student Health (includes Nutrition and Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)) at no additional charge for medical services (Annual exams, Colds, Flu). Ancillary services (Lab, X-Rays, and CT Scans) will be billed to the student’s private insurance. The health fee is charge each semester.

How do prescription drugs work?

When you fill a prescription at a pharmacy, you will pay between $4 and $15 for generic (off-brand)drugs, $35 for preferred brand drugs, and $60+ for some specialty drugs. Emergency contraception with a prescription will cost between $4 and $35, depending on generic vs. brand status.

Can I get PrEP?

PrEP is a preventive drug regimen for HIV-negative people that is covered in-network* as a preferred-brand prescription drug benefit, so it will cost $35 per month in addition to the 20% you need to pay for the initial labs. You can see a clinician at Student Health to discuss your PrEP options.

What about mental health services?

Counseling and Psychiatric Services at CAPS are free to students regardless of insurance. The SMIP will cover in-network* mental health office visits for $25 per visit.If you have special services or are a patient at an in-network* hospital’s mental health ward, you’ll pay 20% of the cost of care.

What happens if I need emergency treatment?

You have two options (pro-tip: use the first option when possible):

  1. Go to an urgent care center: You’ll pay $45 for the visit and 20% of the cost for X-rays, labs, and other services.
  2. Go to the emergency room: You’ll pay $150 + 20% of the cost for the visit. If you are transported in an ambulance, you’ll have to pay an additional amount for that. If you are admitted to the hospital, you’ll pay 20% of the cost of services.

Does it cover routine physicals and exams?

Yes, up to one of each type per benefit year (August 1 to July 31)! These include routine physicals, routine OBGYN screenings, and other common exams. If you go to Student Health or another in-network* provider, these exams are free. If you go to an out-of-network* provider, you will pay a deductible* and 30% of the total charge.

What about dental care? Vision care?

Dental services are not currently covered by the SMIP, but all Duke students are eligible to receive discounted dental services at the CampusSmiles Dental Office in the Student Wellness Center. Learn more here.

You can get an in-network* annual eye exam for free and receive partial or total reimbursement for glasses, frames, and contact lenses.

Can I see a nutritionist?

Yes, appointments with Nutrition Services are covered by the student health fee. Learn more about their services and scheduling appointments here.

What if I get strep, mono, pink eye, etc.?

Bummer! The good news is that you can visit Student Health, get diagnosed, and, if necessary, receive a prescription. If you go out-of-network*, you’ll pay a deductible* and 30% of the cost.

Does it cover Sexually-Transmitted Infection testing?

Sure, because STI testing is like any lab test. If you visit Student Health or another in-network* provider, you’ll pay up to 20% of the lab fee.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Get tested for STIs when you get your routine physical. In most in-network* cases, this will save you the $25that you would otherwise pay for an office visit. (You should still get tested at any time if you have had unprotected sex).
  • Be clear with your provider what kinds of tests you want.You should discuss with your clinician which tests are recommended for you.
  • Take advantage of preventative resources. The student health fee covers free condoms available in the Wellness Center.

SOS! My parents can’t know that I’m getting tested for STIs.

You’re not alone, and you should still get tested! If you’re concerned about this, you can call Student Blue to change your mailing address so that any statements about testing get sent directly to you. If you are over 18 years old, you can do this even if you’re on your parents’ insurance plan. But it’s important to know that while the care you receive at Student Health is confidential, it is not truly anonymous. If you want to be 100% certain your parents won’t find out, your best bet is to go the Durham Health Department for anonymous – and free! – testing.

Can I get birth control? Plan B? An IUD?

Birth control and prescription Plan B are covered under prescription drug benefits (next page). IUDs and Nexplanon and their insertions are covered by the SMIP at no cost to you. Talk with your provider to learn more. 

Are covid vaccines covered by the Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP)?Yes, COVID vaccines will be covered for Blue Cross NC members. The Blue Cross NC website has been updated with helpful information about COVID vaccines – https://www.bluecrossnc.com/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine-information.

* In-network vs. out-of-network: visit bcbsnc.com/duketo see who counts.

* Deductible: Amount you have to pay before insurance kicks in