SHAC 101


For many Portland State students, investigating the Center for Student Health and Counseling, and the details of the Student Health Insurance Plan, may feel a bit cumbersome—especially when faced with the demands of coursework and other life issues. But just like obtaining a good grade in class, knowing how to make best use of your health services requires doing some homework.

With the various misconceptions surrounding student health services at PSU, SHAC Marketing and Communication Coordinator Angela Abel feels it behooves all students to become familiar with the benefits to which they are entitled.

Whether you need to find a dentist for a teeth cleaning or an acupuncturist to balance your qi, Abel said that SHAC offers Portland State students access to all these services and more. One of the many questions students may have is, how?

Fortunately, Abel has answers.

Vanguard: Who qualifies for services at SHAC?

Angela Abel: All students domestic and international taking five or more in-load, non-self-support credits are able to use SHAC’s medical, counseling and dental services. All students, regardless of credits, are eligible to use Testing Services.

VG: What are some services available at SHAC students may not know about?

AA: Counseling resources include emergency as well as walk-in services and “Let’s Talk” locations throughout campus. Group resources include interpersonal process groups, grief recovery group, “Calming Your Anxiety,” “Intuitive Eating” and “Reducing Social Anxiety.”

VG: Who qualifies for the PSU Student Health Insurance Plan?

AA: All domestic students taking five or more in-load, non-self-support credits, or one credit for international students, are eligible for the PSU Student Health Insurance Plan through Aetna Student Health.

VG: What are some perks of the Student Health Insurance Plan?

AA: It includes free or discounted birth control, some acupuncture benefits, naturopathic physician coverage, transgender surgery, diabetic testing supplies, impacted wisdom teeth surgery [and] allergy testing and treatment.
Prescriptions are also covered by the plan. Students can receive this benefit by providing their insurance card when [filling] a prescription at any pharmacy.

VG: What are the hours at SHAC?

AA: SHAC is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
VG: Can students obtain a primary care provider?

AA: Students can absolutely obtain a primary health care provider. They can see a provider at SHAC or they can establish care with an outside physician.

VG: How big is the SHAC staff?

AA: Combining five areas and the administrative staff, which includes student employees, SHAC has more than 100 staff members.”

VG: What kind of wait time might students expect for non-urgent issues?

AA: During the normal academic term, students with non-urgent issues or those needing routine care typically are scheduled one to two weeks after they set up their appointment. Students might get seen in one to five days if the need is more urgent, and for immediate care they can be seen the same day. Once a student checks in for their appointment, they are typically called back into the clinic right at their scheduled appointment time.

VG: How are students billed?

AA: All students who take five or more credits pay a student health fee, even if they waive out of the insurance. This covers most of their medical and counseling services at SHAC, along with allowing them to utilize the dental clinic.

At SHAC, the health fee does not cover some things, such as diagnostic services. For these types of things, if the student has the PSU Student Health Insurance Plan, SHAC would bill Aetna Student Health on behalf of the student. If they do not have the PSU plan, the charges would get billed to their PSU account.

The PSU Student Health Insurance Plan is $594 a term, or $148.50 a month, which for a no-deductible insurance plan is pretty amazing. The fee is billed to the student’s account with tuition for fall term and winter term. Spring and summer terms are combined. If students have the insurance during spring term, they get summer for free.

VG: Are other facilities in-network with the PSU Student Health Insurance Plan?

AA: The PSU Student Health Insurance Plan is administered through Aetna Student Health. Aetna has the second largest network in the country. In the Portland area alone this includes, but [is] not limited to, the full medical facilities of [Oregon Health and Science University], Legacy Good Samaritan, Providence, the Portland Clinic and Adventist [Medical Center]. Students are also able to look for providers and facilities that are in-network by visiting the website []. Because the Aetna network is so large, students are able to get coverage no matter where they are in the U.S.

For more information, visit

Top Services Offered

Screenings for sexually transmitted diseases and contraception counseling

Cleanings and fillings

Individual and group counseling

Accommodated testing and classroom make-up exams

Health promotion
Encouraging healthy and safe lifestyle choices and the student peer education team


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