Is Health Insurance required for all students at Mount Holyoke College?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all college students to have health insurance. The college is required to have a process that ensures that all students enrolled at half time of greater have insurance coverage. We strive to be sure that students and their families have information to make informed decisions regarding purchase or waiver of the student plan. This link provides more information about the state requirement.
A new program was introduced this this year is the Premium Assistance Program. This program helps qualified MassHealth Managed Care Organization members pay for their health insurance. There is more information about the Premium Assistance Program and the Student Health Insurance Plan at www.gallagherstudent.com/mountholyoke under “My Benefits and Plan Information.”
How does the college select an Insurance Plan to offer to their Students?
Each year a group of directors and administrators meet with our insurance agent regarding the student health insurance renewal. This involves Director of College Health Services, Director of Counseling, Risk Manager and Financial Services. The insurance agent secures proposals from 1-3 companies which compare prices, benefits and customer service components. All must meet the requirements set out by the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. Each year our plan has met the highest level of coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The issues that influence the selection are access to both regional and national network with minimal barriers to outpatient and inpatient services and the cost of out of pocket expenses. Periodically there will be a change in insurance carrier and networks. This has occurred 3-4 times over the past 20 years. Each year there may be changes in some of the coverage details so review of the plan each year is helpful.
Do I have a choice to enroll or to waive or elect out of this plan?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all students to be covered with what is described as comparable coverage to those elements of plans meeting the Division of Insurance requirements. The waiver process provides a series of questions to assist a students and their family to be sure they have adequate insurance coverage while at school. Specifically the student needs to be able to receive all services, not just emergency room services, in this area, such as mental health, imaging services, follow up to emergency services, etc. Many families have high family or individual deductibles. This means that the student or family must pay the amount of the deductible required by their plan before the insurance will pay. If for example that deductible is $5,000 or more, this may create barriers to receiving needed specialty services. International Students are required to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan. Students who have insurance through a state funded insurance plan outside of Massachusetts are not allowed to waive the plan. These plans do not cover for services in Massachusetts beyond emergency services.
How does the cost of health insurance factor into my financial aid package?
Health insurance is not factored into the financial aid package and students who elect or are required to take the health insurance will be responsible for those costs. For some students with the lowest family contributions (less than $5,000 as determined by Student Financial Services), full or partial health insurance grants may be available. Funds are limited. Students may request a health insurance grant by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org documenting that they attempted to waive the health insurance.
What is covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan?
The coverage for the Student Health Insurance Plan changes annually. Each year the plan is in effect from August 15 to August 14 at midnight. It covers students while on campus, at home and outside of the United States. While this plan is a health (medical, mental health and pharmacy) insurance plan, there are discount plan components associated for dental and vision providers. The link to the current plan can be found at:
Is there a College Health Fee?
Mount Holyoke does not require a health fee for students. All students can access the services of College Health Services, Counseling Service, and Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program without payment for the visit. College Health Services does not participate in insurance networks and does not bill directly for the services of lab testing, physical therapy, nutritional counseling, medical supplies or extended nursing care in the infirmary.
Please see https://www.mtholyoke.edu/health/hcfees for explanation of the cost of services and the option to purchase a prepaid health center option.
Where do I go for answers to my questions?
Student Financial Services manages and answer questions regarding enrollment and waiver process. This includes review of requests for waivers that are denied and appeals. This office processes the placement and removal of premiums on the student bill. Student Financial Services also responds to questions or concerns about payment of the premium and how that impacts the overall financial package.
The staff of both College Health Services and Counseling Services can assist students in understanding the insurance coverage benefits, the requirements or prior approval procedures and how to find in network providers. The staff will also assist to either explain or seek explanation for payment coverage or bills that are received. Health Services staff do not receive the bills or claims explanations from community providers or the insurance company but will assist student in seeking more information and developing a plan for addressing the outstanding claims.