Why is my tuition more expensive than I expected?
🤔📖 It could be because of your school’s added student health plan.
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New college students in Massachusetts may be surprised to see an additional insurance cost on their tuition, up to $5,000. College is already a massive investment, and you shouldn’t have to pay for insurance if you’re already on your parent’s plans or have another qualifying plan. Find out if you’re required to take your college’s insurance, and find out how to submit a student health plan waiver to your school below…
Do I have to take my college’s health insurance in Massachusetts?
You may qualify to waive your school’s insurance plan, although most schools are adamant about their own plan.
- Massachusetts state law requires students enrolled in 75% of full-time curriculum in any Massachusetts institution of higher education to participate in a school-sponsored qualifying Student Health Insurance Program (“SHP”) – UMass Boston
- Chapter 15 of the General Laws of Massachusetts requires that all students enrolled in nine or more credit hours participate in the College Student Medical and Accident Insurance Plan. – NECC
- Massachusetts law requires that any full-time or part-time student enrolled in an institution of higher learning in Massachusetts participate in a qualifying student health insurance program or in a health plan of comparable coverage, even if they are learning remotely. – Harvard University
So, do I have to take student health insurance if I already have insurance?
Image provided The Balance
It depends. It’s up to each school to determine what type of policies and additional coverages are required for enrollment. Even some standard family plans may not meet your school’s requirements…
Even if you have solid family health insurance, it may not meet the requirements of the college your child attends. You may be forced to buy a separate health insurance policy that the college sells or sponsors. At some colleges, the cost of the policy is over $5,000. – Forbes
Don’t worry, you aren’t alone in this struggle. For perspective, here’s a list of student health plans at different colleges and universities… (via Forbes)
College Costs of Student Health Plans:
- Stanford $5,208
- Pomona (and other Claremont Colleges) $2,551
- Northwestern $4,050
- Oberlin $1,694
- Boston University $2,466 (basic plan); $3,297 (premium)
- Swarthmore $1,784
- Duke $3,535
- Davidson $2,295
How do I submit a student health plan waiver?
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- Find out your college or university’s health insurance requirements. This information is usually available through your college’s student portal. You can also contact your school’s student health services as a resource.
- Obtain “proof of insurance” from your health insurance provider. Contact your health insurance provider for your proof of insurance. It may save you time and hassle to cross-reference your school’s requirements and your existing coverage before submitting a waiver. You can always reach out to your provider directly to have them cross-reference your school’s health plan requirements. If your school denies your waiver request and you believe it was a mistake, it may be helpful to have assumed eligibility in writing from your insurance provider.
- Submit a student health plan waiver request to your college or university. This can usually be done automatically through your student portal. You may have to contact your school’s student health services or deliver the waiver by mail. Every school has its own form, so make sure you complete it entirely and include your proof of insurance.
- I don’t have health insurance, but I don’t want the student health plan, or I want cheaper health insurance. Contact us at Saltmarsh Insurance to help you find an insurance plan that both (1) meets Massachusett’s “Minimal Credible Coverage” (MCC) requirements, AND (2) meets your college or university’s required coverages.
More About Massachusetts Waivers
Uninsured? Massachusetts Open Enrollment Waiver
Image provided by The Scholarship System
For nonstudents and students alike in Massachusetts, you were required to enroll in a qualifying health insurance plan before the end of the open enrollment period on January 23, 2022. If you don’t currently have health insurance, you need to submit an open enrollment waiver ASAP. In Massachusetts, year-round health insurance is required to prevent tax penalties and, furthermore, keep you financially protected.
Do I need health insurance in Massachusetts? Will I be penalized for not having health insurance?
If you’re currently uninsured in Massachusetts, you will be held liable for a penalty on your tax returns.
The Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law requires that most residents over 18 who can afford health insurance have coverage for the entire year, or pay a penalty through their tax returns. Penalties add up for each month you don’t comply, but there is a grace period that allows lapses in coverage of 3 or fewer consecutive months. – mass.gov
Not to fear, though. “If you are a Massachusetts resident and missed the open enrollment period, then you might qualify for a waiver of the open enrollment period if you meet certain criteria.” – mass.gov.
To submit an open enrollment waiver, go submit a waiver request via mass.gov’s “How to request an open enrollment waiver” page. The Office of Patient Protection “accepts waiver requests from January 24, 2022 through mid-November 2022. The next open enrollment period is currently scheduled to begin on November 1st, 2022 for coverage beginning January 2023.” – MA Health Policy Commission
How do I know if I qualify for an open enrollment waiver?
You may qualify for a waiver if you meet applicable eligibility criteria (for example):
- You are uninsured and did not intentionally forgo enrollment in health insurance; or
- You lost insurance coverage but did not find out until after two months (about 60 days) had passed.
- (For more eligibility criteria go to mass.gov)
Saltmarsh Insurance is here to help you through the process.
Navigating health insurance requirements in Massachusetts is already stressful enough.
Saltmarsh Insurance’s network of insurance providers is tailored for Massachusetts residents in need of MCC-qualified plans.