We continue to be committed to making sure you receive the care you need while you are away from campus. Due to the extraordinary circumstances that we are all facing, we have implemented temporary benefit changes to your Student Health Insurance Plan. Please review our FAQs below, which address these benefit changes. This list is not all-inclusive and will be updated as the situation evolves.
The Student Health Insurance Plan is adopting all temporary emergency measures put into place by Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA (BCBSMA) to address the COVID-19 outbreak. Students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan can access the BCBSMA Coronavirus page for additional information and resources.
If you waived the Student Health Insurance Plan and have questions about your coverage, please contact your waived insurance plan for information.
Will Member Services continue normal operations?
Member Services will continue business operations remotely. Our office is available Monday-Friday from 9:00AM until 5:00PM by calling (617) 495-2008 or emailing Mservices@huhs.harvard.edu.
Summer Phone Hours: Monday-Friday from 10:00AM until 4:00PM.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Availability at HUHS
Like every other health care organization in Massachusetts, HUHS must follow the state’s guidelines for who will receive the vaccine first. Based on vaccine phases, HUHS has compiled lists of patients who will be the first to receive their vaccines.
HUHS Next Steps
- HUHS will reach out to patients as they become eligible by state guidelines. We will provide recommendations as to how and where you should receive the vaccine – whether at HUHS or elsewhere, depending on our vaccine availability at the time. This outreach will be by email, secure message, or telephone.
- HUHS has launched a COVID telephone line to answer your questions, which you can reach by calling the main number at (617) 495-5711.
- If you have already received your vaccine and are a patient of HUHS, you can let HUHS know by making a copy of the CDC vaccine card and emailing that information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other State Vaccination Sites
HUHS is not the only source for vaccination for members of the Harvard community. It is strongly recommended that individuals seek vaccination opportunities from all sources available to them. This may include the state vaccination sites, community-based sites, and other healthcare providers. Many of these locations may have greater vaccine supply than the University does at this time.
FOR MORE CLINICAL INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT: https://huhs.harvard.edu/covid-vaccine-info
Will the vaccine be covered by my Student Health Insurance Plan?
Vaccines approved for emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be covered at no cost for Student Health Insurance members. The federal government has purchased millions of doses of the vaccine and will provide it for free. Any costs related to the administration of the vaccine will be covered by the plan, with no member cost-share.
When receiving the vaccine at state vaccination sites, community-based sites, retail pharmacies, or other clinical settings, please present your BCBSMA ID number.
Will the vaccine be covered by my Student Health Fee if done at HUHS?
Yes. Vaccines administered by HUHS to Student Health Fee members will be covered at no cost.
Are you waiving cost-sharing for any COVID-19 related services?
If you are enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan, you will not be responsible for medically necessary costs related to COVID-19 testing, hospitalizations, or office visit consultations when you seek care from a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) PPO provider or an out-of-network provider. The plan will waive member cost share (co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles) for medically necessary COVID-19 testing, counseling, vaccines (when available), and treatment and supportive care to alleviate symptoms at doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, and emergency departments, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines. This also includes telemedicine services for those members with a COVID-19 diagnosis. Any medically necessary treatment for COVID-19 is covered under a member’s health plan within the United States or internationally.
Note: Blue Cross Blue Shield will not cover COVID-19 testing for travel or work requirements.
Does the Student Health Insurance Plan cover telemedicine services?
Telemedicine services are normally covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan for urgent care and mental health in three ways:
- The in-network provider is contracted with BCBS to offer telemedicine consultations to their patients
- The provider offers telemedicine consultations through Well Connection
- The provider is out-of-network; however, they use a HIPAA compliant platform to offer telemedicine consultations to their patients
Due to these extraordinary circumstances, BCBSMA has expanded telemedicine coverage on a temporary basis, effective for dates of service retroactive to March 16, 2020. The special measures below will be effective for as long as Massachusetts remains in a state of health emergency:
Does the Student Health Insurance Plan cover the COVID-19 antibody test?
If you are enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan, you will be covered for the COVID-19 antibody test when the following conditions are met:
- The test is ordered for medical reasons (i.e., you exhibited signs of the illness; however, you had not been tested for the illness)
- The test is ordered by a network physician
- The test is performed by a network lab
Consult with your physician to determine if they recommend that you be tested.
Note: the test will not be covered if it is ordered for administrative reasons (i.e. return to work/school/public health study).
If you are currently out-of-state and the ordering provider is not located in your current state, please contact BCBS at (800) 810-2583 for a list of network labs.
I am enrolled in the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan, but I am Studying Remotely per the University guidance. Am I able to access in-network providers outside of Massachusetts?
Yes, the plan is a PPO plan, which allows members access to in-network providers throughout the United States.
- Members can search for in-network medical providers online (Select Blue Card PPO/EPO as your plan’s network) or by calling BCBS at 800-810-2583. Additionally, members may call BCBS at 877-566-2583 for assistance locating in-network mental health providers.
- If you are relocating to another country, you may call BCBS Global Core at 800-810-2583 for help locating providers in the area where you will be residing. You will likely be required to pay out-of-pocket for services and file for reimbursement. You must obtain itemized receipts for any care that you receive.
Familiarize yourself with plan benefits before needing care.
How can I file for reimbursement for medical and prescription services received outside of the United States?
Most countries do not bill international health insurance carriers so you may have to pay out-of-pocket and file for reimbursement; however, there are some hospitals around the world that will work with BCBS Global Core rather than having you pay upfront. Please contact BCBS Global Core at 800-810-2583 or 804-673-1177 (collect from outside of the U.S.) for more information.
If you are required to pay out-of-pocket, follow these steps to apply for reimbursement:
- Obtain an itemized receipt from the provider; a copy of your medical records is important if you become hospitalized and/or have surgery.
- Complete an International Claim form and send it to BCBS Global Core with your itemized receipts. You do not need to have the documents translated.
- Save a copy of the documents for your records.
If you purchase a prescription abroad, follow these steps to obtain reimbursement:
- Obtain an itemized receipt from the pharmacy; the receipt will need to include detailed information about the medication (see prescription claim form for details).
- Submit a prescription claim form to Express-Scripts along with the receipt.
- Save a copy of the documents for your records.
You have two years from the date of service to file for reimbursement for medical claims, and one year from the date of purchase to file for prescription claims.
Visit our travel webpage for more detailed information on how the Student Health Insurance Plan works abroad.
What happens if I exceed the twelve-visit limit because I am residing outside of Massachusetts?
We are committed to making sure you get the care you need while you are away from campus. In response to these special circumstances, the Student Health Insurance Plan has extended the medical visit limit to twelve visits for AY2021. If you need more than twelve visits, please consult the Hardship Fund page to see if you qualify for further assistance.
What happens if I exceed the fifty-two visit limit for mental health visits because I am residing outside of Massachusetts?
We are committed to making sure you get the care you need while you are away from campus. In response to these special circumstances, the Student Health Insurance Plan has extended the mental health visit limit to fifty-two visits for AY2021. If you need more than fifty-two visits, please consult the Hardship Fund page to see if you qualify for further assistance.
Will I be covered for routine care outside of Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) if I am residing outside of Massachusetts?
If you are enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan and have not yet had your routine physical at HUHS this current academic year, please contact Member Services for assistance on how to get a routine physical covered through July 31, 2021. We are committed to making sure you get the care you need while you are away from campus.
ACA vaccines, such as the flu shot and pneumonia vaccine, will be covered as part of your pharmacy benefits if you receive the services at a participating Rite Aid or Walgreens pharmacy. An immunization at a CVS or CVS Minute Clinic is not covered and you will receive a bill for the service. Age restrictions may apply per CDC guidelines. Note: some pharmacies may charge an administration fee for the vaccine.
What happens if I cannot afford the copayments for office visits that I would normally have had at Harvard University Health Services (HUHS)?
You can receive care by phone (telephonic) or video (telemedicine) with no co-payment with any BCBS PPO medical or behavioral health care provider until the Massachusetts state of emergency is lifted.
Still, we recognize that some students may experience financial hardship for some care as a result of this change and have created a temporary medical cost-sharing assistance program to help reduce some of these out-of-pocket costs.
To be eligible for this assistance:
- You must be enrolled in both the Student Health Fee and the Student Health Insurance Plan
- You must have incurred medical expenses in excess of $500 for covered services received between August 1 and July 31, 2021
- The maximum amount awarded per student will be $1,200
Please contact the HUHS Patient Advocate to apply for this funding.
What if I need prescriptions?
The Student Health Insurance Plan includes a prescription drug benefit, including a mail order option. Learn more about filling prescriptions.
Where will insurance communications be sent if I am no longer residing on campus?
Most of our communications are sent via email to your Harvard email address; however, Blue Cross Blue Shield uses the local address that you have on file with your school for any mailed communications. Please update your local address online to ensure that you continue to receive any mailed communications.
Can I access Blue Cross Blue Shield claims information online?
Yes, you may access your claims information online through the MyBlue Mobile App. You will need the following information to complete the registration process:
- BCBSMA ID Number
- Harvard ID number
- A password that is 8 or more characters long
- Email address
I waived the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan as I was studying outside of Massachusetts. I am required to return to campus and my waived insurance will not adequately cover me any longer. Can I re-enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan?
A student who experiences a loss of other health insurance can re-enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan within 60 days of their loss of coverage date by following the waiver rescind process. If you did not lose your other coverage and need to re-enroll in the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan, please contact Member Services to discuss your options.
I am enrolled in the BCBSMA Student Dental Blue Plan. Am I covered for virtual consultations with participating providers?
BCBSMA will cover virtual consultations, by phone or video, between Dental Blue members and their participating dental providers with no member cost share (copayment, coinsurance deductible up to the member's existing annual dollar maximum) effective March 23, 2020 and until further notice. These additional virtual dental exams are available to all members who already have coverage for this service in a dental office setting.
DO I HAVE TO PAY A STUDENT HEALTH FEE EVEN IF I AM A REMOTE STUDENT?
Yes, The Student Health Fee pays for the entire infrastructure for student services at HUHS. We understand that most people associate HUHS with direct medical and counseling services, but these are only a portion of the responsibilities that HUHS assumes on behalf of the University. Among other services, the Student Health Fee supports the critical public health role that HUHS has played, and will continue to play for the next several months during this pandemic. As the University’s public health authority, significant work is being done by HUHS behind the scenes every day to ensure that the University is healthy and safe for those essential faculty and staff who are providing teaching and research at the University. The Student Health Fee supports the University’s campus public health infrastructure and will continue to facilitate the University’s move towards a safe re-opening for all students in the future.
Students studying remotely outside of Massachusetts will receive a 50% discount on their Student Heath Fee by updating their physical address location by 9/30 to a location outside of Massachusetts. The 50% discount allocated to these students is meant to recognize the challenges that some students would face in utilizing HUHS services.
HOW DO I RECEIVE THE 50% STUDENT HEALTH FEE DISCOUNT?
Students will initially be assessed the full charge and then the discount will be automatically added to student accounts once they provide a new ‘Physical Location’ address to the University. Students will have a deadline of February 28 to submit the address in order to receive the discount for the spring semester. Instructions for updating the ‘Physical Location' address by school are listed below:
|Harvard Business School||Students should update their 'Physical Location' address on their classcard.|
|Harvard Law School||All students (JD, LLM, SJD, and visiting students) should update their ‘Physical Location’ address in Helios.|
|All Other Schools||Students should update their ‘Physical Location’ address in my.harvard:
HOW DO I WAIVE THE STUDENT HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN WITH FOREIGN INSURANCE COVERAGE?
Universities in Massachusetts are required to offer a Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to students, and students must either enroll in the SHIP or provide proof of comparable coverage. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard is expanding remote coursework for the Fall 2020 Term. However, the transition to remote learning will not change a School’s requirement to make a SHIP available to students or have students demonstrate comparable coverage. Students learning remotely due to COVID-19 are still considered students by law, and as such, required to have coverage in the state or country where the student will be learning for the 2021AY.
Students in another country can waive the Student Health Insurance Plan with foreign insurance as long as their coverage meets the comparability guidelines in the area in which they are studying. Students can find instructions on how to waive with foreign insurance here.
WHAT IF MY QUESTION IS NOT ADDRESSED BY THESE FAQS?
We recognize the stress you may be feeling as a result of these circumstances. Please contact Member Services by phone at 617-495-2008 or via email at Mservices@huhs.harvard.edu should you have additional questions. We’re always glad to help!