The Plan for Insurance
Students at many colleges today must have a health insurance plan that meets their University’s minimum requirement. HaveUHeard that if you forget to submit the waiver that is required to show that your student is covered under your medical plan, the University will purchase an insurance plan for your student? Even knowing this, my daughter still forgot to submit a waiver. (Yeah, forgetting things happens – even with our smart, collegiate kids!) When she received her Bright Futures deposit for that semester and I questioned why it was so low, it took a bit of questioning, querying, and sifting through the allocation of funds to learn that that was, indeed, exactly what had happened. When I spoke to someone at the university (which I was able to do because my daughter had signed the appropriate permission), they assured me that my daughter had received many, and I mean many, reminder emails. Her oversight cost us a penalty to have the school-purchased plan canceled, and I hope this heads-up will save you from having to pay one as well.
Deciding on which health insurance plan your student should be on may actually require a degree in economics, as you can see from the many variables to consider when choosing. They include:
- Does your current health insurance plan meet the university’s minimum coverage requirements?
- Is the monthly premium you pay for your child pre-tax or after-tax?
- Is it marketplace insurance or subsidized and, again, does it meet the university’s minimum requirements?
- Does your current insurance cover your student at an out-of-state college?
Give consideration to the fact that you will be paying for the University coverage upfront and not monthly as with your own health insurance. Additionally, if your student is coming to UF from out-of-state, you will need to check with your current health insurance coverage to see if it covers their costs while attending school and living out-of-state. I had to do a serious cost analysis for my daughter when the insurance she had under her father’s plan expired. Trust me when I say, “DO THE MATH!”
At the University of Florida, the UF Health Insurance Plan is administered through United Healthcare. The rates for the University of Florida plan for a single student averaged approximately $215.00 per month for 2019-2020. If your student is already covered by your own plan, you should consider what your cost is to keep them on your plan. If yours is a Cafeteria Plan using pre-tax dollars, it could very well be more reasonable to keep them on your insurance plan. In addition, if your student anticipates a semester spent studying abroad, that should factor into your discussion on which plan to go with. The guidelines for the minimum coverage.
If you do decide to maintain your student’s current health insurance on your own health plan, then you must turn in a waiver to UF in the same time frame as the fee payment deadline for the first semester you are assessed fees (usually prior to your student’s first semester at UF). This waiver is valid for one year or three semesters and then needs to be renewed every year. If you fail to turn in the waiver, the University WILL bill you for health insurance and if you turn in the waiver late, the University will bill you a late filing fee. A little lesson from personal experience, from one parent to another. Alas.
The deadline for turning in the next waiver (depending upon which semester your students are due) is January 17, 2020, for the Spring semester, May 22, 2020, for the Summer A/C Semester, July 10, 2020, for the Summer B Semester, and September 4, 2020, for the Fall Semester. Annual coverage starts in August and can only be purchased during the Fall enrollment period, which ends 30 calendar days after classes start for the Fall Semester. This means you have a big insurance decision to make sooner than when you typically will have to decide on your own health insurance. The University will only auto-enroll students for term coverage for semesters in which they are registered for 6 or more credit hours. If your student requires insurance during times when they will not be taking classes (e.g. summer semesters), you may want to consider purchasing the Annual Plan.
This means that if you decide to switch your student to the school-administered health insurance on an annual basis, you will already have to have them on the University plan well before you sign up for your own new health insurance in November. For some families, it may make sense, therefore, to sign up for University health insurance by the semester. If you are unsure of which plan makes the most sense for your family (entirely understandable at this point!) and you have access to a financial planner or a certified public accountant, they can run the numbers for you. For information about UF’s student Health Insurance options or information in regards to the Waiver requirements and forms.
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