Insurance waivers to be processed by Gallagher Student Health, possibly fewer students will be able to waive extended plan

SFS intends to increase support for students with high financial need

The MIT Student Health Plan (SHP) announced June 6 that they are changing the process by which students waive the requirement to purchase the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan. While the requirements for waiving will remain the same, waiver requests will be processed by Gallagher Student Health, a “nationally-recognized third party vendor” that provides similar services to “a number of academic institutions in the U.S.,” SHP wrote in the initial announcement and in an email to The Tech

It is possible that fewer students will be able to waive the extended plan, leading to increased financial burden. However, it is unclear how many students will ultimately be affected by the changes to the waiver process, according to the SHP’s email. In addition, waiver requests will need to be submitted by Aug. 15, according to the initial announcement. This is earlier than previous years, when the deadline was typically around Aug. 31. 

This change in processing was made to address the issue that some students faced when they, having waived purchasing the extended insurance plan, later found out that their other plan did not cover their medical needs, according to the initial announcement. These students sometimes had to leave the state to get care that was covered by their insurance plan, or were left unnecessarily trying to pay for medical bills. 

The deadline was moved up to Aug. 15 so that students who don’t waive the extended plan, or whose waivers are denied, will receive their insurance cards before coverage begins on Sept. 1, SHP wrote. However, students will be able to continue to submit waivers until Aug. 31, after paying a $150 late fee.

MIT Student Financial Services has increased the financial aid budget to cover insurance costs for students with “high financial need,” which it defines as families with incomes at or below $65,000, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services Stuart Schmill ’86 wrote in an email to The Tech. Previously, they had not covered the extended plan because not every family would purchase it, although they did cover the expense for international students, who are very likely to need to purchase the extended plan.

The MIT Student Extended Insurance plan will cost $1,362 for the fall term and $1,907 for the spring term of the 2019–20 academic year, according to MIT Medical’s website. This is an increase from the previous year’s rates, which were $1,310 and $1,834 for the fall and spring semesters, respectively, but these increases are lower than the national medical plan trend rates, which are between 6–7 percent annually, according to an MIT Human Resources webpage.

SHP also anticipates other benefits for students. The switch to Gallagher Student Health means that a Kerberos ID will no longer be required to submit waivers, allowing parents to submit waiver requests. In addition, many documents can now be scanned and uploaded instead of brought to MIT Medical, SHP wrote.

All returning and incoming students will receive a letter with more information on this change and instructions explaining how to submit waiver requests, SHP wrote.