Florida A&M University student health service hosted a meeting Oct. 27 to further inform students on the health insurance policy, as well as the Spring 2017 cost change.
FAMU’s new mandatory health insurance regulation has been in effect since the start of the 2016-2017 academic school year but many students still haven’t enrolled in the program. The new policy requires all uninsured students that are enrolled at least part time to either seek coverage through an outside provider, or to enroll in the university’s Consolidated Health Plan (CHP) to avoid $775 charges for this current semester and $1,260 for the spring and summer semester, totaling $2,035.
CHP is a leader in providing college and universities with different student health care solutions. No single plan covers all costs associated with medical care, but some cover more than others.
Coordinator of FAMU health promotions and outreach Melvena Wilson, Ph.D., explained common terminology used when talking about health insurance.
“The portion of your health care expenses that you pay before insurance starts covering is a deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium cost for the policy. For the university sponsored plan the annual deductible is $250,” Wilson said.
After paying the $250 deductible CHP pays a specified percentage of the cost that is insured to pay for all service after the deductible has been met. FAMU utilizes CHP’s Gold Plan which covers an 80/20 split, meaning the company will pay 80 percent of allowable cost after that deductible is met, and the student is responsible for the remaining 20 percent.
This year those who aren’t covered by a health insurance company will be charged $900 on tax returns for an individual, or up to $2000 for a family. The Affordable Care Act gave Americans until 2014 to get insurance.
Second-year pre-nursing student Clairminza Almonor wondered why some students weren’t charged $775 this semester if they didn’t waive or opt-in the school’s health insurance policy.
“It's not fair some people weren’t charged. If we didn’t opt-in would our accounts would have been charged, or no?” Almonor asked.
Students who are insured were encouraged to complete and submit the waiver form online before the Sept. 10 deadline, according to the numerous emails sent from Rasheeda McKay, a recent FAMU pre-occupational therapy graduate who works in the health center. Students who have not submitted a waiver for for the new insurance plan was, or will be, charged a $775 fee for the university-sponsored program.
“Just because you haven’t gotten charged yet doesn’t mean the charge won’t show up on your account before the semester is up,” Wilson said.
Student Health services is trying to give students the opportunity to register for spring classes before charging and putting a hold on their account.
Since open enrollment has now started, students have the option to either find their own insurance to waive the $1,260 spring semester charge or opt-in to have their accounts charged of that amount for the spring and summer semester.
“FAMU is one of the last universities within the state of Florida to mandate insurance for its students. If you need to opt-out for the spring semester you need to do it between Dec. 12 and Jan. 6,” Wilson said.
For students, faculty or staff that missed the informational event, there will be a Town hall meeting Nov. 21 to further discuss the policy. For further information about the new regulation, updates and the Town Hall meeting contact Wilson at Melvena.Wilson@famu.edu or visit www.famu.edu/Shs.