Updated 07/10/2020

We are 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.

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:

  1. The in-network provider is contracted with BCBS to offer telemedicine consultations to their patients
  2. The provider offers telemedicine consultations through Well Connection
  3. 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 emergency:

Provider Type Coverage
In-network
  • Members can meet with their provider via telephone or telemedicine consults
  • The benefit is open to all specialty types, including urgent care and mental health services
  • The provider does not need to be licensed in the same state where the member is located
  • Copayments will be waived
Out-of-network
  • Members can meet with their provider via telephone or telemedicine consults
  • The benefit is open to all specialty types, including urgent care and mental health services
  • The provider does not need to be licensed in the same state where the member is located
  • Out-of-network cost-sharing will apply, except for services billed with a COVID-19 diagnosis

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).

Important:
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.

Are you refunding any portion of the Student Health Fee if I am relocating to another state?

We have no current plans to rebate the Student Health Fee at this time. Clinical services are available to all students, both via telemedicine and in-person, and we have seen significant utilization of these services by students who are local, based elsewhere within the US, and internationally. All students are encouraged to reach out to HUHS with health or medical needs. The HUHS health promotion team is also providing virtual wellness programming, which can be viewed here https://wellness.huhs.harvard.edu/virtual-resources.

Are you refunding any portion of the Student Health Insurance Plan if I relocated abroad?

We recognize that students who relocated abroad do not have access to the full in-network level of benefits which are available in the U.S., and may also have access to national health insurance in their country. For these reasons, we will consider requests for refunds on a case by case basis for students (and their dependents) who relocated outside of the U.S. following the University’s transition to remote learning in March. 

All requests and supporting documentation must be received by June 30, 2020 in order to be considered. Notification of a decision will be made in July. 

Eligibility criteria: 

  • Students (and their enrolled dependents) whom have relocated abroad due to COVID-19 per University guidance and have active national health care coverage in the area where they relocated (proof of relocation required)
  • Refund application and supporting documentation received by June 30

Refund requests will not be considered if any of the conditions below apply: 

  • SHIP premium for Spring 2020 was funded by your school or by financial aid
  • A prescription drug travel override was authorized prior to 04/1/2020 which allowed you (or enrolled dependents) to fill multiple months of a medication early
  • Relocation abroad was not in response to the University’s guidance (i.e. stamped passport shows that relocation took place on/after 05/16/2020)

Notification of a decision will be made in July; if your request is approved, the refund amount will be applied to your student bill. Refund requests are being considered as a one-time exception to our standard policy. 

Refund application

I am enrolled in the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan, but I am leaving campus 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?

Medical care:

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 up front. 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:

  1. Obtain an itemized receipt from the provider; a copy of your medical records is important if you become hospitalized and/or have surgery.
  2. 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.
  3. Save a copy of the documents for your records.

Prescription medications:

If you purchase a prescription abroad, follow these steps to obtain reimbursement:

  1. Obtain an itemized receipt from the pharmacy; the receipt will need to include detailed information about the medication (see prescription claim form for details).
  2. Submit a prescription claim form to Express-Scripts along with the receipt.
  3. 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 six-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 will temporarily remove the six-visit limit for medically necessary consultations received outside of HUHS up until July 31, 2020.

What happens if I exceed the forty-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 extraordinary circumstances, the Student Health Insurance Plan will temporarily remove the 40-visit limit for mental health visits up until July 31, 2020.

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 outside of HUHS through July 31, 2020. 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 pharmacy. 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 March 16 and July 31, 2020
  • 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 that I normally get filled at the HUHS Pharmacy?

Student Health Insurance Plan Rx coverage within the United States: 

If you are enrolled in the Student Health Insurance plan and will be residing within the United States, we will allow you one early refill of your current medications at the HUHS Pharmacy. You should then transfer your prescription to a local pharmacy near where you will be residing.

Additionally, you will be able to fill up to a 90-day supply of your medications at other retail pharmacies through July 31, 2020.

Some pharmacies, such as CVS Pharmacy, are offering to mail prescriptions to their customers; check with your local pharmacy to see if this is an available option.  

Amazon Pill Pack could serve as another alternative while you are away from campus. Amazon Pill Pack is considered in-network and can fill many maintenance medications. 

Student Health Insurance Plan Rx coverage for international travel:

If you are enrolled in the Student Health insurance Plan and will be traveling to another country, we will allow you to request enough medication to take you through September 30, 2020; documentation showing that you will be abroad is required. 

If you have already left the United States and you need to fill prescriptions abroad, the Student Health Insurance Plan will reimburse you 100% of the cost paid, less the applicable in-network copayment. 

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 a traveling scholar 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 a student at HMS and I will be graduating in April, which is earlier than normal. When does my health insurance coverage terminate?

If you are enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan, your coverage will continue through July 31, 2020 as though you were graduating in May 2020. 

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.

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!