Several recent initiatives have enabled the University to enact substantial cuts in next academic year’s rates for student Blue Cross health insurance and to restructure rates to make purchasing health insurance more affordable for students with children.
The changes, effective Aug. 1, will lower both the Blue Cross student rate and the spouse rate by 20 percent. Rates will also be restructured to make it more affordable for students to buy health insurance for their children, answering a concern raised by students at recent meetings.
The rate modifications were made possible by recent cost-saving initiatives identified by the Student Health Planning Committee, which was established in January 2003 by Provost Steven Hyman to examine the benefits and structure of the student health plan. The changes recommended by the committee included benefit modifications and a shift to a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan structure.
A PPO negotiates lower fees for providers in the plan network, but gives plan members freedom to use physicians and services outside the PPO network, though at a higher cost.
This plan format allows the University to take advantage of lower negotiated rates with providers and has succeeded in cutting the cost of hospital visits.
The initiatives saved substantially more than expected, allowing the University to return the savings to students in the form of lower rates.
“The savings resulting from improvements in the plan are significant, and we felt it important to pass those savings along to the students and, at the same time, more appropriately structure the rates to enable more students to purchase coverage for their families,” said Harvard University Health Services Director David Rosenthal.
The current plan makes no distinction between children and spouses for health insurance purposes, charging an additional fee for coverage of a dependent. The new rate structure will create new fees for children of students. The rate for a single child will be 40 percent less than the cost for a non-child dependent, such as a spouse, and the rate for a second or subsequent child will be half that of the first child.
For more information, see http://huhs.harvard.edu/.