Student health insurance and national health care reform: What does it mean for you?
National health reform, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a 2010 law designed to improve access to health insurance for millions of people. This landmark law includes some new ways for students to have greater access to affordable health insurance.
- No-cost or low-cost insurance is available to more people than ever before through MassHealth, Massachusetts’ Medicaid program. Individuals who are 19 and older may also continue to qualify for MassHealth if they meet income and other eligibility requirements.
- New tax credits help you pay for health insurance premiums if you buy a plan through the Health Connector. If you qualify for tax credits, you can have this credit paid directly to your insurance company every month so that your monthly premium is lower. A single person who earns as much as $47,080 may be able to qualify for tax credits.
- ConnectorCare plans have low monthly premiums, no deductibles, and lower out-of-pocket costs. If you qualify for a ConnectorCare plan, you can save on your monthly premium and pay less when you go to the doctor. For the first time, students will be able to access no-or low-cost ConnectorCare plans if they qualify.
Students should apply online through the Health Connector website to see if they qualify for MassHealth, tax credits, and ConnectorCare plans.
Better benefits for students
- Students can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26
- No annual and lifetime limits on the amount that a health plan will pay towards your health services
- No limits on the amount that a health plan will pay towards your prescription drugs
- All preventive care is covered at 100% and there are no co-pays, co-insurance, or deductibles for things like:
Since September 1989, Massachusetts law, G.L. c. 15A, Section 18 has required every full-time and part-time student enrolled in an institution of higher learning in Massachusetts to participate in a Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) or in a health benefit plan with comparable coverage. A part-time student is defined as a student participating in at least 75% of the full-time curriculum.
On November 5, 2012, the most recent phase of health care reform went into effect. Recently passed legislation replaced the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy (Division) with a new independent state agency, the Center for Health Information and Analysis (Center), which assumed many of the Division’s responsibilities. Among the Division’s responsibilities that were transferred to other state agencies is the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP), which was relocated to the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority (Health Connector). Pursuant to Massachusetts law, the Health Connector will regulate SHIP and will annually collect SHIP data from schools. The Health Connector will work closely with the Center during the next few months to ensure an efficient and timely transition of SHIP responsibilities.
The SHIP regulation (956 CMR 8.00: Student Health Insurance Program), implements the student health requirements and sets forth the minimum benefit levels and required services for a SHIP. The regulation also establishes the criteria by which a school may waive a student’s participation in SHIP upon demonstration of comparable insurance coverage.
SHIP Annual Reports
Beginning in 2008, the former Division of Health Care Finance and Policy (Division) published annual reports on SHIPs in the state. The SHIP reports include financial and performance metric analysis as well as enrollment and carrier information.
SHIP Filing Information
The SHIP regulation (956 CMR 8.00: Student Health Insurance Program) requires schools to submit information during each school year that summarizes student participation in the SHIP Program. The information is collected using various SHIP-related surveys that can be accessed using the Center’s web-based reporting tool. The Center will continue to collect filing information for the 2013-2014 academic year.
- 2012-2013 Fall Enrollment
- 2012-2013 Benefit Survey
- 2011-2012 Performance Metrics
For More Information
If you have any questions regarding the Student Health Insurance Program, please call the Health Connector at 617-933-3169.