Student Health

Insurance FAQs


Check out this cheat sheet created by our Student Health Advisory Committee: Understanding the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan

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 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 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.
  • (monitored at all times)
  • Or the Insurance coordinator Calvin Vennie at ( 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 $3605.00 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 –

* In-network vs. out-of-network: visit see who counts.

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