Several modifications to UR health insurance requirements took effect last month. Officially announced by University Health Service (UHS) this February, these revisions were laid out in response to students with immense uncovered bills due to health insurance deficiencies.
“A number of students waived the University-sponsored health insurance plan and then incurred large bills for serious health problems for which they had no coverage,” UHS Director Ralph Manchester explained. “We feel it is essential for students to have coverage for things like prescription medications, mental health care, pregnancy and preexisting conditions.”
One of these changes includes extending coverage from 11 months to a full year.
Whereas years past covered only the period from Sept. 1 to July 31, the new requirements will now also provide coverage during the month of August. Manchester hopes this extension will better cover the health of students who arrive at school early for academics, athletics and extracurricular activities.
Manchester emphasized the key role student opinion played within UHS decision-making and encouraged students to continue voicing their concerns. “The new [policies] worked well over the summer and [were directly] adjusted in response to feedback from students and parents,” he said.
Additionally, all requests for insurance waivers will be audited to ensure compliance with University benchmarks. If the waiver cannot be verified by the third-party insurance company, students may submit a written appeal once per academic year. On a related note, UHS specified that most international insurance plans do not meet University standards for waiver.
Along with the aforementioned changes in policy, waiver procedure will be expedited through earlier deadlines.
Students covered by American insurance companies should submit appeal documentation by Sept. 1 or within 30 days of acceptance to UR. Similarly, students with international insurance companies should complete the online health insurance waiver process by Aug. 15 or within 30 days of acceptance to UR.
According to UHS Associate Director for Administration Ann McMican, “more students will have adequate health insurance this academic year than ever before, providing a safety net for those with extraordinary medical needs.”
Manchester likewise expressed confidence in the recent revisions. “For the first time in UR history, virtually all students now have good health care coverage,” he concluded.
Gould is a member of the class of 2014.