Mirroring escalating healthcare costs nationwide, University of Nebraska student health insurance expenses will increase for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Policy changes starting in the fall include increases in student premiums, out-of-pocket maximums and prescription drug copayments. Deductibles remain unchanged.
The updates are the result of a renegotiation with UnitedHealthcare Student Resources, the vendor through which the NU system offers its student health plan. UnitedHealthcare Student Resources was selected for student health needs through a competitive bid process in fiscal year 2017-2018.
The university has also partnered with UMR, a UnitedHealthcare company, since January 2019 for its self-insured benefits plan offered to employees. The plans for employees and students are not linked.
“The University of Nebraska system is committed to providing quality health care coverage to all of our students,” said Bill Nunez, vice chancellor for business and finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “It is increasingly difficult to do when health care costs continue to escalate nationally. A universitywide committee negotiated for several months to get the best package possible, and selected what might be considered the best of bad options.”
The annual student premium (including dental coverage) for individual plans will be $3,067, an 18.6 percent increase from $2,589 in the current academic year. Family plan premiums will increase to $8,959, up from $7,357. This is significantly below the 25 percent increase initially proposed by UnitedHealthcare in response to a large number of frequent users and high-cost claims that have increased costs to administer the plan. It is also slightly less than the $3,084 average premium paid by 18- to 24-year-olds who enroll in the Affordable Care Act.
For graduate students with a qualifying assistantship, the university will cover 79 percent of the insurance premium. Graduate teaching and research assistants will pay about $91 more per year when the premium increase goes into effect.
In the current academic year, 1,986 graduate assistants at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln were eligible for the university health insurance credit. More than 1,500 signed up for the health coverage.
All University of Nebraska–Lincoln students (including graduate students) who pay student fees have access to the University Health Center.
Additional health insurance updates include:
Out-of-pocket maximums will increase to $7,350 annually, up from $2,200 in the 2018-2019 academic year.
Prescription drug copayments will also rise to $25 (up from $10) for all Tier 1 copays at preferred providers.
Deductibles remain unchanged at $500. When the deductible is met, the university will cover 80 percent of in-network expenses up to the out-of-pocket limit.
Open enrollment for fall 2019 coverage begins July 1. International students and graduate assistants are automatically enrolled but must accept coverage. Other eligible undergraduates and graduate students must enroll through MyRED. The deadline to enroll or waive the coverage is Sept. 12.
The University of Nebraska student insurance plan is rated gold, the second-best rating available. The plan is competitive with the market in terms of costs and coverage options.
University leaders continue to aggressively explore options to keep student healthcare costs down in the future. More than 5,000 students and dependents are enrolled in the plan across the NU system.
The plan can be used anywhere nationwide wherever United Healthcare Choice Plus is accepted.
Students who can enroll in the coverage include:
All students enrolled in six or more credit hours in a degree-seeking program
All degree-seeking international students, regardless of credit hour level. International students will be auto-enrolled, unless they provide proof of other coverage and sign a waiver.
The credit hour limit listed above will not apply to: graduate assistants; degree-seeking master’s level graduate students enrolled in one or two credit hours for the purpose of completing their thesis and are full-time certified by graduate studies; doctoral students enrolled in one or two credit hours for the purpose of completing their dissertation and are full-time certified by graduate studies; all visiting scholars if approved by the university; all intensive English program students; and new degree-seeking students who start in the summer will have a three-hour minimum credit hour requirement.
For more information about the University of Nebraska student insurance coverage, including eligibility requirements, click here.