Towson encourages student insurance plan
Towson is offering an Aetna insurance plan for students and encourages them to be insured by Jan. 1, 2014, as required under the Affordable Care Act.
Most students are covered under their parents’ employer’s insurance because they are under 26, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jana Varwig said. While the University offers the Towson Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), they do not enforce any mandatory insurance requirement.
SHIP can offer some students more benefits than plans they will find on the Health Insurance Marketplace, Varwig said. The Health Insurance Marketplace is an application also known as the ‘exchange’ that shows available health plans tailored to a person’s area, household size and income.
“The best way for most people who are under 26 is they have access to a parents’ plan,” Varwig said. “That is probably going to be the best coverage and the least expensive route to go and then if they don’t have that they should consider the University’s health insurance and compare that to the exchange.”
In order for undergraduate students to be eligible for SHIP they must be taking at least nine credits. For graduate students, they must be taking six credits or a dissertation credit, Dowell Director of Health Services Jane Halpern said.
If there is an uninsured person they will have a penalty from the government, starting with $95 in 2014, and then increasing annually after next year, Varwig said.
SHIP works through Dowell Health Center, Halpern said. Advantages of this plan are lower co-pays, deductibles are waived for care received at the health center and preventative care.
“It’s got pretty good coverage for the cost,” Halpern said. “It has a very low deductible than what would be available through the exchange.”
Halpern said she warns students that SHIP was issued in 2013 so met the 2013 Affordable Care Act requirements.
“If you have a preexisting health condition, you may have to wait for benefits to be covered,” she said. “After August when our plan renews there will be no preexisting conditions limitations for anyone.”