68°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New health insurance extends more benefits to students

New health insurance extends more benefits to students

UMass Boston’s student health insurance, administered by Chickering Claims Administrators and underwritten by Aetna Life Insurance, got a little more expensive and more beneficial. The school, through Delta Dental, is also offering a $259 dental plan to cover what the health insurance does not.

The rate for full-time students for 2007 to 2008 jumped from $1,211 to $1,335. For many, the raise in rates-which accounts for a natural annual trend in inflation-is petty when the increased benefits and a wider span of coverage than the previous plan are noted.

Both the health insurance plan, which took effect in August, and the optional dental plan are still not well-known around campus; something that Kathleen Golden McAndrew, Executive Director for University Health Services, is urging students to get informed about.

“We feel we’ve got an excellent plan this year compared to last; we’ve really enriched it,” McAndrew said. “We work really hard to offer students quality health care in an [accessible], cost efficient manner and we want students to know that we’re their student health care institution here.”

The health insurance plan is based on a 90 percent coverage rate, assuming the student goes to a preferred Aetna medical provider, 80 percent coverage for a non-preferred provider. Both preferred and non-preferred visits to practitioners outside of the UMass Boston Health Services are also subject to varying co-pay fees.

The biggest amendment to the health plan is the aggregate maximum payout, the most amount of money a student will be awarded for any one illness or accident. It increased from $50,000 to $75,000 per policy year. Ambulance coverage, mental health, physical therapy and outpatient maximum payouts, also saw increases in this years insurance policy.

McAndrew said that the benefit increases reflect the most sought after services. Prescription drugs are such a case, she said, and coverage has gone from $1,200 to $1,800. Illness prevention was also a former issue, as it was monetarily underrepresented. The plan now covers immunizations, like the HPV vaccine, flue shots and the meningitis vaccine.

McAndrew also stressed that the Health Services Center is available to all UMass Boston students. All students pay a health fee at the beginning of the year, opening up much of what Health Services offers to them.

“I don’t think students realize that the counseling center and general medicine is here for all students-regardless of what insurance they have,” McAndrew said. “We don’t provide primary care for students that have outside insurance, but we sure do free episodic care, we have a counseling center, accept visits for acute stressful situations, and we work with getting students set up for long term counseling. So we have all this health and wellness stuff going on, but we are under utilized.”Dental Benefits$259 per year covers the following:? X-rays? Oral evaluations? Cleanings? Fillings? Inlays, onlays and crowns? Extractions? Gold foils are optional, but grills are not covered? and moreTo find what else the insurance covers, visit www.healthservices.umb.edu