For information about the Oxy Student Health Insurance Plan (OSHIP), and how to waive enrollment in OSHIP, visit our Student Health Insurance page. 

See below for common questions and concerns about navigating care at Oxy! Have more questions? Email us at or

Understanding your health insurance

All enrolled students at Oxy must have health insurance. Students are automatically enrolled in Oxy’s Student Health Insurance Plan (OSHIP) and must opt-out of OSHIP each summer if they have other health insurance coverage and do not want Oxy’s plan. As of August 2023, OSHIP is administered by Aetna. Students can use their OSHIP insurance off campus for medical and mental health care anywhere Aetna is accepted. Read more about OSHIP and the waiver process here.

  • Occidental College has implemented a waiver system that allows students to provide their insurance information and, if your current insurance meets the requirements set forth by Occidental College, the Student Health Plan and the fee for the insurance will be waived.
  • The health insurance waiver is only accessible electronically, and can be found at
  • Waivers only need to be completed once a year unless the student has a change of insurance between semesters. If you waived in the Fall with an insurance plan that termed before Spring semester, you will need to complete the waiver again in order for Oxy to verify that your insurance still meets the requirements. The waiver system opens during the summer every academic year so that students are afforded enough time to complete their insurance waiver.
  • If, at any time, you are found to not have active health insurance coverage through an insurance company, you will be signed up for OSHIP.
  • If you waived OSHIP in the Fall, but decide you would rather be enrolled on the OSHIP for the Spring, you can always contact Emmons at (323) 259-2657 to make the switch.

It is common for Oxy students’ parents to waive OSHIP without their students’ knowledge. If you’re not sure, you can always email Emmons at or call us at (323) 259-2657 and ask us to check if you have waived OSHIP.


  • Counseling services are available to all students, free of cost. Emmons Counseling does not bill insurance, so you will not get a bill regardless of your health insurance coverage. 
  • Emmons Medical is also available to all students regardless of insurance coverage. However, Emmons Medical is only contracted with OSHIP, which means that all care provided to students without OSHIP is considered “out-of-network” (see below for what this means!). Because Emmons is out-of-network with all other insurance providers, the costs associated with your visit will depend on your care and your out-of-network coverage, but generally, students without OSHIP receive a 50% discount on Emmons Medical services. You can learn more about what to expect for the cost of your visit by scrolling to the bottom of this page.
  • STI screenings are always free to all Oxy students, regardless of insurance.

In-network vs. Out-of-network

  • Your health insurance’s “network” refers to the facilities, doctors/providers, labs, hospitals, and pharmacies that your health plan has contracts with to provide health care. “In-network” care will be cheaper or fully-covered depending on the service and the other details of your plan. “Out-of-network” refers to doctors/facilities, etc. that are not contracted with your insurance plan. A percentage of services from these other doctors/facilities, etc. may still be covered, but it depends on your insurance’s “out-of-network” coverage.


  • The premium is the fee you pay, usually monthly, to have insurance. If you have insurance through your parents’ employer, the employer will often pay part or all of the premium.


  • Refers to the amount you pay directly to the doctor/facility, rather than the amount that is billed to your insurance.


  • The amount you must pay out-of-pocket until your insurance coverage kicks in. It usually resets yearly. For example, if you have your first doctors’ visit of the year and you are charged $500 and you have a $1500 deductible for your plan, you will have to pay the entire $500 amount because you have not yet “hit your deductible.”


  • The amount you must pay for your doctors’ visit or medication (even though you have insurance). You can think of this amount as the “cost share” for your visit. Copays can be higher or lower depending on the service. Some preventive services may not have any copay.


  • A referral is when a doctor or provider recommends that you see a specialist or get treatment or testing at another facility. The referring doctor has to send over paperwork to the receiving office and that paperwork needs to be processed before you can schedule the appointment. Sometimes you will be required to call to schedule the appointment, and sometimes the receiving office will call you directly.


  • HMO refers to a “Health Management Organization.” HMO plans have contracts with a “network” of providers and facilities and costs are generally lower, but any providers or doctors outside of the network are usually not covered. Kaiser is one example of an HMO. A PPO, or “preferred provider organization,” plan offers more flexibility with provider coverage, but often comes with a higher monthly premium in exchange for wider coverage. 

You can find a glossary of even more health insurance terms here.

  • You may need to provide a physical copy of your health insurance card when you book medical or mental health appointments.
  • If you have OSHIP, you can find your health insurance card by visiting the Aetna Student Health Insurance portal and entering your student ID and date of birth.
  • If you have another form of insurance, you can often use your insurance’s online portal to view and print your health insurance card. You can also call the customer service line of your insurance provider to request a card be mailed to you.

  • A primary care doctor (or primary care provider/PCP) acts as a primary contact for all of a person’s health needs. They provide preventive care, provide diagnosis and treatment for common illnesses, and can work with patients to figure out if and when they need a referral to a specialist. 
  • Having access to a primary care doctor means having someone who is aware and familiar with all of the health conditions you may be dealing with, and can prevent needing to take trips to urgent care or the ER for more basic health issues.
  • If you have an HMO health insurance plan, you may need to get a referral from your primary care doctor to see any kind of specialist. Establishing care with a primary care provider you trust in advance can speed up the process if you end up needing to see a specialist.
  • If you have OSHIP, you can (and should!) still establish care with a local primary care doctor as long as they take Aetna, OSHIP’s insurance administrator.
  • If you need help finding a primary care provider you trust and/or who takes your insurance, you can find ratings and reviews on ZocDoc and/or your insurance’s provider database.

  • If you have OSHIP, Aetna offers lots of additional benefits, like discounts on acupuncture, yoga supplies, travel cost reimbursement, and much more. Visit the Aetna Student Health Insurance members page to explore.
  • If you don’t have OSHIP, your insurance may still have other benefits like care managers, gym membership reimbursement, virtual urgent care, an advice nurse line, etc.—look into it!

If you have OSHIP and/or visited Emmons and are having trouble understanding your Explanation of Benefits or any bills you may have received, please contact Krista Place at Emmons via e-mail at . If you have copies or PDF files of the bills or EOBs, make sure to attach them with your email as Emmons does not have access to this information; often times we only need to see the EOB to be able to answer your billing questions. 


The health fee is separate from insurance. All students must pay the annual student health fee. This fee serves to cover the operational costs of the health center. Our services—available to all students regardless of insurance—include free mental health counseling and free STI testing, in addition to low cost medical services. We also provide health education and promotion during the academic year and set health policy for the college. The fee supplements our ability to provide all students these free and low cost services, as well as operate toward the goal of positive health outcomes for the whole community.

Paying for care

  • Emmons strives to make medical care accessible and affordable for all students, regardless of insurance type.
  • Emmons Medical Services is contracted only with Oxy Student Health insurance. Students with OSHIP have an Office Visit Copay of $10, which includes the fees for the visit, in-house testing, medications, immunizations, and supplies. (If you have OSHIP and go off-campus for care, your copay for most visits will be $25.)
  • Many students have other forms of private insurance rather than OSHIP. If you waived OSHIP and have another form of private insurance, your coverage for services at Emmons—from the initial visit to lab tests to medications—will differ depending on your plan's coverage for out-of-network care. If you do not have Oxy insurance and your private insurance does not cover your visit, you will receive a 50% discount on Medical services. The cost per visit will vary depending on the diagnosis and what our medical providers deem medically necessary during your visit. Most office visits cost between $50 and $120. Follow-up appointments are free of charge. You can find more details and examples for bills by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.
  • For students with OSHIP, Emmons received at Emmons are covered entirely by insurance. However, if you are given a prescription to fill at a local pharmacy because Emmons does not have the medication you require, you will owe money for that medication. Depending on the type of medication you have been prescribed, you could owe either $20, $40, or $65 for your medication every time you have it filled. Always ask the Pharmacist how much you will owe before picking up the prescription. If the medication is not affordable, please contact Emmons right away to see if there is an alternative. 

You have options! If you think short-term therapy is the right fit, you are trying therapy for the first time, or you just know you need some support asap, you can: 

  • See a therapist at Emmons (see the Counseling page for more details)
  • Use TimelyCare (virtual appointments only)
  • Both of these options are free and open to all students!

If you know you want longer-term therapy, want a therapist with a certain specialization or area of expertise, or you want in-person therapy and just don’t want to go to Emmons, you also have options! You can: 

  • Find a local therapist who accepts your insurance
  • Pay out of pocket if you identify a therapist who doesn’t accept insurance or doesn’t accept your form of insurance
  • Pay out of pocket, ask your therapist for proof of payment, and then send your expenses to your insurance carrier for reimbursement if you have a PPO plan with good out-of-network coverage
  • Utilize one of Los Angeles’ sliding scale-based counseling centers for an out-of-pocket option that is more affordable
  • Fuller Psychological and Family Services in Pasadena offers weekly therapy with a clinical graduate student trainee for $45/session
  • Find more resources here (while not all are close by, some offer telehealth)

  • Call your insurance provider and ask for a list of names of providers for talk therapy on their insurance panel.
  • Or, check your insurance carrier’s online directory. Many carriers have a provider search function. You may need to do some calling around to make sure they are still accepting your insurance.
  • For individual therapy, look for people with LCSW, LMFT, Psy.D, LP, or LPCC credentials.
  • You'll want to do your own research by searching their names and reading their websites, if they have them.
  • Be sure to call or contact the therapist directly to ensure they take your exact form of insurance, and confirm how much each session will cost.
  • You can also search for providers using various search engines, like’s therapist finder or another directory such as Latinx Therapy, Alma, Clinicians of Color, or Los Angeles-specific Zen Care, and filter by your insurance.

  • You can search therapists based on identity, topics or methods they specialize in, education and training, values, etc. It's up to you what you will connect most with. Sometimes the easiest way to get started is to just start speaking with therapists via consultation. Usually consultations are about 15 minutes and free of charge.
  • Feel free to schedule consultations with multiple therapists to get a sense of their approach and whether it’s a good fit. You can let the therapist know you’re speaking with multiple people and will get back to them.
  • It can take time to find the right person, but don't give up!
  • Ask as many questions as you want. Here’s a list of questions you could consider asking during your consultation.
  • Stop by our Drop In hours to speak to our Health Promotion Specialist if you need more support finding someone.


  • The records from your visit are always confidential under HIPAA unless you fill out a release of information, which gives written permission for someone other than yourself to access your health information.
  • Some students are concerned that their bill for their Emmons visit will be viewable by their parents or other guardians with access to their eBill account. If you pay cash or check at the time of visit, your bill will not be visible on your Oxy eBill account. If you do not pay with cash or check at the time of your visit, your bill will be visible and payable on your Oxy student eBill account. There will be no details visible on your account other than the date and “Emmons visit.”
  • If you are concerned about your bill showing up on your eBill account, bring cash or check to your visit.
  • You can always access free urgent and non-urgent telehealth medical visits by using TimelyCare, which is free for all Oxy students regardless of insurance, and does not bill insurance for visits. (If the provider determined that you needed a lab test or prescription, you would need to pay out-of-pocket or your insurance would be billed for those services.)

  • Even if you are on your parents’ insurance, your parents cannot access your medical or mental health records without written consent from you.
  • They will be able to see what services are being billed for and from where.
  • If you are over 18, you can contact your health insurance provider and request that other subscribers are blocked from having access to your claims history (which can divulge care and diagnosis).
  • You can request from your health or mental health care provider that your claims be sent to your on-campus mailbox instead of your parents’ address.
  • You can always access free urgent and non-urgent telehealth medical visits by using TimelyCare, which is free for all Oxy students regardless of insurance, and does not bill insurance for visits. (If the provider determined that you needed a lab test or prescription, you would need to pay out-of-pocket or your insurance would be billed for those services.)
  • Both TimelyCare and Emmons Counseling offer confidential, short-term therapy that is never billed to your insurance.
Contact Us
Emmons Student Wellness Center


Appointments: (323) 259-2657
Oxy 24/7 Confidential Hotline: (323) 341-4141