Reduction of health insurance rates slated for fall semester

Students can now look forward to lower numbers on their tuition bill starting in the fall semester of 2017. Student health insurance rates are going down for MSU Denver students who rely on the school’s services.

health insurance

MSU Denver students Jessica and Thomas Mindenhall exit the Auraria Health Center Plaza building on April 11. Photo by Lauren Cordova • scordo22@msudenver.edu

Usually, rates go up and benefits get cut, making it hard for young people to have health insurance.

The plan that the Auraria Health Center offers was designed to help students afford health care, rather than put them in the tough situation of not being covered because of insufficient funds.

According to the Health Insurance Guide, students who are enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan enjoy benefits such as: 100 percent coverage for all medical services, free office visits,
$20 maximum cost per prescription, no deductible, no co-insurance and no copayments. All of this comes at the price of $2,766 for 12 months of coverage.

Starting fall semester 2017, rates will drop by 7.95 percent, which equates to $210. Students will now only have to pay $2,556 for insurance. Not only are the rates dropping, but there will also be new services available to students with this plan. Steve Monaco, director of the Health Center at Auraria, said that students can expect increased benefits coverage along with decreased prices.

“There will be six new additions to student health insurance,” Monaco said. “The plan will now cover intercollegiate and club sports injuries, add transgender benefits, cover learning disability testing, cover acupuncture up to 20 visits, cover high-cost radiology imaging – as long as there is a referral from the health center – and it will change from secondary to primary.”

Monaco also explained that the plan is in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, so students don’t have to worry about meeting the requirements that the government imposes. The plan was made to help students by giving them a low cost, high benefit option so they don’t need to worry about getting a penalty fine.

Rates are decreasing because of the good year that the health center had.

“The plan had a good year in the fact that the dollar amount of claims paid did not exceed the dollar amount of premiums paid. During most years, many student health insurance carriers end up paying out more in benefits than they collect in premiums. When this happens, rates go up the next year, at times considerably as a means to avoid this pattern repeating itself,” Monaco said.

Good negotiation skills also helped. Monaco and his team negotiate annually with caregivers to get the best rates possible.

Due to the productive year, they had more leverage to negotiate and were also able to get these new benefits at no extra cost.

Student Margaret Miller is relieved that rates are decreasing and that benefits are being added instead of removed.

“It’s nice that we won’t have to pay as much and we don’t have to worry about anything being taken away from us. The struggle is real as a college student trying to afford health insurance, so I’m glad that they are trying to make it more affordable for us,” she said.

The change in price and the added services will begin on August 20, 2017. Students will have to renew each semester or submit a waiver if they have health insurance elsewhere.

Author: Erika Foster

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