Graduate Student Health Care Options – What You Need To Know
At the Graduate Student Council (GSC) general council meeting on March 4, Dartmouth Assistant Vice President of Finance, Tricia Spellman, discussed health insurance options available to graduate students, in particular the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) health care exchanges.
Each academic year on September 1, students are automatically enrolled in the Dartmouth Student Group Health Plan (DSGHP). Under the PPACA, self-funded student health plans (such as the DSGHP) must satisfy minimum essential coverage (MEC) requirements. Dartmouth allows students to opt out of DSGHP by completing the waiver petition by July 1 (alternative plans must meet the DSGHP waiver requirements).
The following health insurance options are available to students:
- Remain a dependent on parents’ health insurance plans until the age of 26
- Apply for a plan provided through PPACA health care exchanges
- Enroll in Medicaid (although New Hampshire is not one of the states that has expanded its eligibility requirements)
- Enroll in an individual health plan offered outside of the exchanges (visit GoHealth.com and eHealthinsurance.com)
- Enroll in the Dartmouth Student Group Health Plan
With respect to the PPACA health care exchanges, coverage offerings are tiered (see image). The “silver” plan is considered the standard plan. The exchange also provides a catastrophic coverage plan to individuals younger than 30 years old. It is important to select the most cost effective plan by considering the “premium” cost (the monthly fee you pay for coverage) and “deductible” amount (the out-of-pocket health care expenses you pay before the plan will cover the remainder of the expenses). To view health care plans in the New Hampshire exchange, visit HealthCare.gov.
The DSGHP (premium: $2,187; deductible: $200) is considered a “gold”/”platinum” plan, and includes the following notable features:
- Most graduate students receiving full tuition scholarship and full stipend support are awarded partial credit toward the DSGHP cost
- Compared with plans in the PPACA exchanges, generally Dartmouth’s plan has a low premium, low deductible, a low fixed copayment, and low out-of-pocket maximum costs
- Once enrolled in DSGHP, students can also receive discounted dental care provided by the Basix Dental Savings and Wellness Support Program
- There are reimbursements for medical costs incurred regionally, nationally, or internationally
- And Travel Assistance Coverage guarantees insurance through the entire calendar year, including summer vacations and travel/study abroad
The GSC would like to thank Ms. Spellman for providing valuable health care information for the benefit of the graduate student community at Dartmouth.
by Meg Menon
image from Wellmark