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University Continuing to Study Health Insurance Options for Graduate Student Employees
In response to feedback from graduate assistants, including research and teaching assistants, the University is continuing to study health insurance options available to graduate student employees as part of the University’s new student health insurance policy.
Current graduate students are scheduled to be phased into the new policy for the start of the 2016-17 academic year, in approximately 17 months. Dean of the Graduate School Ben Ware today indicated that all graduate assistants will be allowed to remain on the University-sponsored employee health insurance plan until such time that a smooth transition is determined. This decision was communicated in a letter to the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) from Ware and Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz.
“University leadership met this week and decided all graduate assistants will be allowed to remain on the University-sponsored employee health insurance plan until a transition to the student health insurance plan is deemed agreeable by representatives of both the GSO and the University administration,” says Dean Ware. “We would like to work with graduate student leadership on an implementation strategy that meets the health insurance needs of our entire graduate student population, not only those who are eligible for the employee plan because of their assistantships.”
To aid this effort, the GSO and the University have agreed to form a new “Student Health Insurance Benefits Group,” comprised of staff with expertise in health insurance, communications and health services, to work with graduate students to review the best options for graduate student employees. Graduate students are also invited to serve on any one of the seven working teams charged with implementation of the new student health insurance policy.
On March 19, the University announced that in accordance with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), the University would be offering a new student health insurance plan for the 2015-16 academic year and require that all full-time matriculated students carry some form of ACA-compliant health insurance by fall of 2016. The policy change is in line with best practice and is in place at nearly every other large private college and research university in the United States. The new University-sponsored Aetna student health insurance plan has been designed specifically to meet the needs of the University’s entire student population, including international students studying here in Syracuse and SU students studying abroad.
Students immediately affected by the new policy who enroll in the University-sponsored student health insurance plan will have a premium that is more than $1,000 less for better coverage than the student plan the University currently offers. Even those students who are not immediately affected by the new policy but who enroll in the student health plan will see $175 in annual savings next year when compared to the current plan. The annual cost of $1,890 for an individual is far below what’s currently available for comparable coverage through the New York State of Health Marketplace, and students will have the option of paying the annual premium in installments over the academic year.
Information sessions about the new policy and student health insurance plan 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. Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the new policy and health insurance plan can be found online at http://health.syr.edu/new-student-health-insurance-plan.html.