New Student Health Insurance Plan and Policy Introduced
In accordance with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), Syracuse University will be offering a new student health insurance plan as of Aug. 1. The plan offering coincides with a revised University policy—to be phased in over the next two years—requiring that all full-time students carry some form of ACA-compliant health insurance.
The policy change brings Syracuse in line with policies already in place at nearly every other private college and university in the United States.
The decision, based on the recommendations of the University’s Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee, is designed to ensure students have the health coverage vital to their well-being and to meet the requirements of the new health care reforms.
“Our current health insurance plan was unsustainable as it was,” says Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz. “To provide all students with access to an affordable, ACA-compliant plan, we needed to assess different options to ensure no student was left underinsured and at risk of jeopardizing their education or financial stability. It’s the right thing to do.”
The advisory committee, which spent 18 months assessing the impact of health care reform on the University’s existing program and exploring student health insurance options, recommended Syracuse adopt this higher education best practice. Doing so will ensure full-time students have adequate, ACA-compliant health insurance during their time at Syracuse. Under the ACA, students must maintain health insurance or pay a penalty to the federal government.
While all students can access health care services through University Health Services, Syracuse University has long encouraged students to maintain health insurance coverage for medical emergencies and hospitalization. Nevertheless, a survey conducted by the University indicates that while the vast majority of students already carry appropriate coverage, some students still come to campus either uninsured or underinsured. With this new policy, the University wants to make sure that students are prepared for any medical situation and their continued well-being and success while at Syracuse is the priority.
Starting August 1, the plan will be available to all students. However in the 2015-16 academic year only full-time students new to the University—including undergraduate, graduate and law, along with all full-time international students and all graduate Fellows, will be affected by the requirement. Those students will be required to demonstrate proof of appropriate existing coverage prior to registration for classes or adopt the student health insurance plan through Aetna Student Health. The premium for this improved plan is less than $2,000 a year—a significant reduction from what’s currently available through the federal government’s health exchange marketplace, as well as the University’s current plan, which is being discontinued.
Beginning in the fall of 2016, all full-time, matriculated students will be required to demonstrate proof of appropriate health insurance coverage upon registering for classes. This can include insurance provided through a parent’s family plan, through an employer, health care exchange or other source. Those without qualifying coverage will be required to enroll in the University’s student health insurance plan.
Director of Health Services Ben Domingo, co-chair of the advisory committee, says when uninsured or inadequately insured students face health concerns or financial barriers to accessing health care services off campus, their ability to pursue their education is greatly impacted.
“We all know the kind of stress a serious medical event can place on a student and his or her family,” Domingo says. “We have an obligation to ensure our students are healthy when they arrive on campus and that they continue to have appropriate access to emergency care and specialty care when needed throughout their years in Syracuse.”
Karen Morrissey, executive director of Human Resources Operations and co-chair of the advisory committee, says there have been students in the past who have delayed seeking proper medical treatment because they did not have adequate insurance coverage. “Students’ well-being is our top priority, and we want to be sure no student is ever faced with a situation where he or she must assume an added financial burden because of an unexpected medical event,” Morrissey says.
To assist students with these changes and to provide more details on the new student health insurance plan and proof of insurance requirement, informational sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, from 6-7 p.m. and Wednesday, April 15, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Grant Auditorium.
If you have any immediate questions, or would like to speak confidentially about a specific health concern, please feel free to contact Palma Cassano,business manager at Syracuse University Health Services, at 315-443-6417.
More information will be available soon on the Health Services website, including a Frequently Asked Questions page.