Q: Why do I need health insurance while studying at Harvard?
A: Massachusetts law requires that students enrolled in an institution of higher learning in Massachusetts participate in a student health insurance program or in a health benefit plan with comparable coverage.
Q: The waiver application states that I need comparable insurance coverage to waive the Student Health Insurance Plan. How can I determine if my coverage is comparable?
A: To be eligible to waive the Student Health Insurance Plan, you must present evidence of comparable coverage as defined by the Massachusetts Qualifying Student Health Insurance Program. Students are encouraged to review the Waiver Checklist and contact their insurance company to make sure the plan provides comparable coverage both in Massachusetts and during travel.
Q: Am I eligible to waive the Student Health Fee?
A: A very limited number of students who meet certain criteria are eligible to waive the Student Health Fee. Having other health insurance coverage does not qualify as a reason to waive the Student Health Fee. Reasons for waiving the Student Health Fee include half-time or less student, traveling scholar/study abroad student studying outside the country, a non-resident student who resides outside of Massachusetts and has no activities on campus for the entire term (students who live out of state but attend class on campus do not qualify to waive), students enrolled in Harvard University Group Health Plan (HUGHP), and active-duty military personnel.
Q: I have health insurance through my parents. Is there any reason to keep the Student Health Insurance Plan?
A: Many students have insurance coverage through their parents, spouse, or employer. However, a health plan that offers only emergency services when out of the service area is not considered comparable coverage. Contact your insurance company to learn about coverage. In most cases, HMO plans are limited to only emergency or urgent care when the member is out-of-state.
Q: I have health insurance through my parents and want to keep the Student Health Insurance Plan. Which insurance is primary and which plan is secondary?
A: When you are enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan and another health insurance carrier, the Student Health Insurance Plan is always a secondary payer. This means that all claims are processed first through your other insurance and then processed by the Student Health Insurance Plan. To avoid any claims issues, please notify your providers of both plans. Please contact BCBS Coordination of Benefits at (888) 799-1888 for more information.
Q: I waived the Student Health Insurance Plan coverage for this term/year. Can I get care at Harvard University Health Services?
A: Yes, if you are still covered under the Student Health Fee you are eligible to be seen at the Harvard University Health Services.
Q: I waived the Student Health Fee for this term/year, but I am still covered through the Student Health Insurance Plan. Can I get care at Harvard University Health Services?
A: You are eligible to be seen at the Harvard University Health Services for urgent care only on a fee-for-service basis.
Q: I paid the Student Health Fee but waived the Student Health Insurance Plan for this term/year. If I receive care at Harvard University Health Services will I receive a bill?
A: If you have paid the Student Health Fee, you are covered for most services at Harvard University Health Services. However, some services may not be covered.
Q: I paid the Student Health Fee but waived the Student Health Insurance Plan for this term/year. What happens if a Harvard University Health Services clinician orders or refers me for services?
A: When you waived the Student Health Insurance Plan, you accepted full responsibility for all your medical expenses normally covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan. When an HUHS clinician refers you, or you are seen by an HUHS clinician outside of HUHS, you are responsible for all costs for that care.
Q: I have foreign health insurance (purchased from a company that is registered outside the U.S.). Can I waive the Student Health Insurance Plan using my foreign insurance?
A: Per Massachusetts state law, foreign insurance is not accepted as comparable insurance for students studying in Massachusetts. While many foreign carriers have relationships with U.S.- based administrators (i.e., the bills are processed at a U.S. address), coverage is generally not adequate when the member receives care in the U.S. If you are planning to study outside of the U.S., however, your foreign health insurance may be accepted.
Q: I waived the Student Health Insurance Plan but have now lost my non-Harvard health insurance. What should I do?
A: You need to submit a waiver rescind application to Member Services within 60 days of your loss of coverage. View the Waiver Rescind Policy & Form for more details on the process.
Q: How can I confirm that my waiver application was successfully submitted?
A: A confirmation email is sent to the email address(es) provided in the application. You can also check the status of your application on the home page of the student insurance portal.
Q: How long does it take for the credit to appear on my student bill?
A: The credit appears on your student bill within two business days of the waiver approval date.
Q: Can I waive the Harvard University Student Health Program after the waiver deadline?
A: Yes, waiver applications are accepted following the deadline, but are subject to late fees (Extension School students should contact the Extension School for details about the waiver process at (617) 495-4293).
Q: What is the impact of waiving the Student Health Fee?
A: The Student Health Fee and the Student Health Insurance Plans are intended to work together to provide students with a comprehensive plan.
- Students who waive the Student Health Fee will be waiving access to the Harvard University Health Services clinics, including access to primary care. This means that students will not have coverage for routine and preventive care at HUHS or with a different provider, even if students keep the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).
- Students who plan on waiving the Student Health Fee should obtain insurance coverage that includes primary care and coverage for routine services since these services are not covered under the Student Health Insurance Plan, even when students are enrolled in the insurance (SHIP)