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UnitedHealthcare to be new Macalester health insurance provider

As of this school year, Macalester’s student health insurance plan, which has had Aetna as its carrier since fall 2006, will use UnitedHealthcare (UHC) as its carrier.

The change came about during Health and Wellness’s annual collaboration with a broker, who examines the top three healthcare vendors for covering domestic and international students and reports to Health and Wellness regarding cost. The premium Aetna listed for the 2015-16 school year would have been approximately $3,100, a considerable jump from last year’s quote of $2,164. This year, students on Macalester’s healthcare plan will pay $2,183—only a $19 increase per student from last year’s plan.

Additionally, Macalester has enrolled in the UHC plan in conjunction with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, which, by increasing the number of enrolled students, has lowered the cost of the premium.
This allows for a 90 percent/70 percent plan, meaning that 90 percent of the cost of in-network healthcare providers will be covered, and 70 percent of the cost of out-of-network providers will be covered. Last year’s plan was an 80 percent/60 percent plan.

The physician visit copayment has changed from $25 to $15 per visit. The out-of-pocket maximum students can pay before insurance covers them has changed from the $6,350 amount in-network and no cap out-of-network with Aetna to $4,000 in-network and $20,000 out-of-network under UHC. The pharmacy copayment for Tier 1 drugs, a term which usually refers to generic medications, has changed from $15 in-network to $10 in-network. Additionally, pediatric, dental and vision services are now provided through the plan.

This year, there are between 550 and 590 students on the health care plan.

“Last year it was 564,” Suzanne Rothenbacher, Executive Assistant of the Health and Wellness Center, said. “It was looking pretty close to that, just manually looking through the numbers.”

Rothenbacher, along with Health and Wellness Director Denise Ward, went on to explain that Health and Wellness seeks coverage plans that will aid students with issues such as sexual health, drug and alcohol use, and suicide attempts. As the Aetna plan did previously, the UHC plan covers the cost of ambulance use, so that students who may need to call an ambulance can do so without hesitation. There will also be coverage of hormone therapy for transitioning students.

Insurance cards will now only be accessible online, rather than in their physical form, which is part of a push for sustainability by UHC. Rothenbacher and Ward both believe that this initiative will make insurance information accessible in an age of frequent cell phone use and digital media.

The enrollment/waiver deadline was Sept. 4. The small minority of students who did not choose to enroll or waive the plan were automatically enrolled. All services that Health and Wellness charges for will be covered by the plan.

For those who have questions about the UHC plan, an informational meeting covering the basics of health insurance will be held on Monday, Oct. 5 at noon, in the Leonard Center Hall of Fame Room. On Thursday, Oct. 8, also at noon, an information session regarding how to implement the plan will be held in Kagin Ballroom. All students on the UnitedHealthcare plan are encouraged to attend.

September 18, 2015

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