AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Q. Does HUSHP satisfy the Individual Mandate (the requirement to have insurance under federal health care reform)?
Yes, HUSHP satisfies the federal requirement that you have health insurance.

Q. How does the ACA impact HUSHP?
HUSHP already meets the requirements that the ACA established as reasonable coverage so there is no change. HUHS is continually assessing the impact of the ACA and monitoring developments in the industry.

Q. Who is eligible for the new plans available as a result of the ACA?
Individuals and families who do not have access to health insurance through an employer are eligible to purchase a plan through state health exchanges, such the Massachusetts Health Connector.

Q. Is the government giving money to help some people pay for health insurance?
The government has programs to help reduce the cost of health insurance for individuals and families with limited incomes. If you go to the state health exchange, such as the Massachusetts Health Connector, you can find out if you’re eligible to get lower costs on your monthly premiums or out-of-pocket costs for private insurance. You’ll also learn if you can get free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid. Visit HealthCare.gov or the MAhealthconector.org for more information.

Q. Is HealthCare.gov different than the Massachusetts Health Connector?
HealthCare.gov is the federal exchange – the national online marketplace to shop for affordable health insurance. If you choose to purchase insurance through the exchange and you use a Massachusetts address, you will be connected to the Massachusetts exchange, which is the Massachusetts Health Connector.

MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH CONNECTOR

Q. What is the Massachusetts Health Connector?
The Massachusetts Health Connector is a state-based health insurance Marketplace, for people to shop for affordable health and dental insurance.

Q. Do the new plans on the Massachusetts Health Connector cover the same things as HUSHP?
HUSHP offers very comprehensive coverage ensuring that students’ health needs are met and that care is provided in convenient locations.

The plans available through the Massachusetts Health Connector also offer comprehensive coverage. Some of these plans could have limits on the network of physicians you can use, the locations where the care is provided, or the costs you will have to pay out-of-pocket as part of the plan. You should be sure to review and compare plans very carefully as you consider your options.

Q. Where can I get information about the Massachusetts Health Connector?
You can visit the Massachusetts Health Connector at MAhealthconnector.org. The website is designed to help determine what insurance plans you may be eligible for and to shop for and compare benefits for different plans.

Q. If I get my coverage through the Massachusetts Health Connector, will I be able to choose the doctors I want?
All of the plans offered through the Massachusetts Health Connector have different doctors, hospitals, and specialty providers in their networks. Typically, these networks are limited to a certain location and in-network coverage may not be available if you travel outside of Massachusetts. Should you need care out of Massachusetts, you may be responsible for paying a higher out-of-network cost.

Q. How can I see the different plans offered by the Massachusetts Health Connector?
Go to MAhealthconnector.org to determine your eligibility for assistance paying for premiums and to compare the different benefits of the plans offered by the Massachusetts Health Connector.

COMPARING HEALTH PLANS

Q. What should I consider when comparing HUSHP with other plans?
You should evaluate your health needs and determine what kind of insurance plan is best for you. Some important things to consider when comparing insurance plans are: access, benefits, cost, and travel.

Here are some questions you should consider:

  • Access: Does the plan limit the doctors I can see? Will anyone help me navigate the health care system? How easy will it be to find a doctor?
  • Benefits: What does the plan cover? Does it cover me for the services I am most likely to need? Will it cover me for emergency services, prescriptions, or ambulance services?
  • Cost: How much will I have to pay out-of-pocket in copays or deductibles?
  • Travel: Will the plan cover me if I travel out of Massachusetts or out of the U.S.?

Q. Do I really need health insurance if I am young and healthy?
No one plans to get sick or hurt, but most people need medical care at some point. An emergency room visit for a broken leg can cost up to $7,500. The average cost of a 3-day hospital stay is $30,000. Health insurance covers you should something unexpected happen and it helps protect you from very high costs and expenses like these.

WAIVING STUDENT HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN

Q. How do I waive the Student Health Insurance Plan?
If you choose to waive the Student Health Insurance Plan, you need to complete an online waiver application. You will need evidence of comparable coverage, as defined by the Massachusetts Qualifying Student Health Insurance Program. For information on waiving, visit hushp.harvard.edu/waive.

Q. When is the deadline to waive the Student Health Insurance Plan?
The online Waiver applications for the spring 2016 term will be available starting December 1, 2015. The deadline to waive Harvard-sponsored insurance for the spring 2016 term is January 31, 2016. However, please note that you must already have comparable coverage if you apply to waive.

Q. If I waive the plan at the start of the term, is it possible to rejoin the Harvard Plan in the middle of the term?
Generally you cannot enroll in the Harvard-sponsored insurance in the middle of the term. There are some very specific circumstances that would permit enrolling in the Harvard insurance (birth of a child, for example). This is why it is important to review all plans carefully before making any health insurance decisions. If you waive the plan and then change your mind, you will have to wait until next semester before enrolling in the Harvard plan.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Q. Are international students eligible for plans through the Massachusetts Health Connector?
International students may be eligible for plans on the Massachusetts Health Connector, but they likely are not eligible for tax credits. When considering other options on the Massachusetts Health Connector, students may want to be aware of any immigration requirements or implications and consult an immigration attorney before making a decision.