Student Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has been selected to be the health insurance carrier for Meredith College students for the 2012-2013 academic year. This is a major medical plan that exceeds the requirements recently mandated by the Affordable Care Act in March 2012.
- Why is Meredith requiring health insurance?
- Why the change of insurance plans and increase in cost of student health insurance from last year? Is this new requirement related to the new federal healthcare law/the Affordable Care Act?
- What are the policy dates and rates for 2012-2013?
- I already have health insurance. What do I need to do so I don't get billed? How do I meet this requirement?
- Can I purchase insurance from an outside agency? (Not the plan Meredith provides)
- Do I have to verify my insurance each year?
- As a resident student at Meredith College, I pay a health fee each semester. How is health insurance different from that?
- I worry about identity theft. Why do I have to provide my private information?
- What happens when I graduate in December, acquire other comparable insurance or do not return to Meredith for the spring semester? Am I eligible for a refund?
- Is financial assistance available for the cost of the required health insurance?
- What if I am a graduate student or part time student and need health insurance?
- What are the BCBSNC policy highlights for the 2012-2013 student health insurance plan?
- What if I completed a waiver in the fall but need health insurance in the spring? Can I purchase coverage from January 1, 2013 - July 31, 2013?
- How do I contact BCBSNC if I have further questions?
Commonly Used Health Insurance Terms Click here.
In fall of 2010 semester, Meredith College began requiring all full-time undergraduate students (including international students, licensure only students, and those studying in Sansepolcro) and Dietetic Interns to have health insurance. (Full-time students are defined as undergraduate students taking 12 credit hours or more).
This policy is part of the College’s effort to ensure the health and safety of all its students.
Many Meredith students have health insurance, but for those who do not, an injury or illness could be costly and possibly affect a student’s ability to remain in school and progress toward a degree. Meredith feels that all students benefit from having health insurance to help offset costs of an unexpected illness or accident. Conversely, students without health insurance do not have access to needed specialty care or hospitalization and may attempt to continue their academic pursuits but fail to reach their full potential because of their untreated illness.
In March of 2012, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated all colleges/universities implement the following regulations for college health insurance plans beginning July 1, 2012 or later. The Affordable Care Act required Meredith to make significant changes to the current plan which did not meet the new mandates.
These regulations state that all college health plans must include:
- preventive benefits at no out of pocket cost to students
- a prescription plan with no maximum
- at least $100,000 maximum per illness or injury. (By 2014, every college student insurance plan must provide a major medical plan.)
After much research and negotiation between Meredith and multiple insurance companies, a student health insurance plan with BCBSNC was submitted to and approved by Meredith’s Executive Leadership Team. The plan Meredith negotiated for 2012-2013 meets the requirements of the ACA. The improved insurance plan benefits are related to the regulations required by the Affordable Care Act as mentioned above.
The BCBSNC annual coverage is effective from August 1, 2012 - July 31, 2013.
Annual Rate - $1041.00 (This is less than $90/month or less than $3/day.)
The BCBSNC spring/summer coverage is effective from January 1, 2013 - July 31, 2013.
Spring/summer rate - $607.25.
Click here to view the current plan with BCBS NC.
Students who have health insurance coverage must waive out every year while enrolled at Meredith College.
All full-time undergraduate students including licensure only students, international students, students studying in a Meredith study abroad program (Sansepolcro) and Dietetic Interns with an existing health insurance policy (i.e. through parent plans, family plans, or employer-sponsored plans) will automatically be enrolled in the plan Meredith offers and will be charged $607.25 (spring/summer rate) on their student account for the health insurance UNLESS:
- Students have a comparable health insurance plan to the BCBS NC plan Meredith offers AND
- Complete the on-line waiver for the spring/summer semester between November 1, 2012 – January 25, 2013.
It is important that you complete this waiver EVERY YEAR while at Meredith. Students who do not complete this waiver will be charged for the student health insurance on their Meredith student account.
Click here and select "Waiver" to complete the on-line waiver. When the waiver is submitted and approved by January 25, 2013, your student account will be credited for the health insurance charge.
If a waiver is not submitted by January 25, 2013, the charge on your student account will remain and cannot be removed.
All full-time undergraduate students, licensure students, international students, students studying in Sansepolcro, and Dietetic Interns WITHOUT an existing health insurance policy:
- Meredith College negotiated a contract with BCBSNC to provide a comprehensive option for students.
- Students may elect the plan Meredith offers or choose to purchase a comparable insurance plan of their choice and complete the waiver on-line.
- Students who do not complete an on-line waiver by January 25, 2013 will be charged for the student health insurance offered by Meredith College and will automatically be enrolled in the plan.
- Please click here to enroll prior to January 25, 2013(end of waiver period). You will receive your BCBSNC insurance card early.
If a waiver is not submitted by January 25, 2013, the charge of $607.25 on your student account will remain and cannot be removed.
You do not have to purchase the plan Meredith offers for students, however, the health insurance plan that you purchase must be comparable to what Meredith provides.
Click here to view the current plan with BCBS NC.
7. Do I have to complete a waiver to verify my insurance each year?
Yes. All full-time undergraduate students and dietetic interns will need to complete the on-line waiver to verify their insurance information yearly.
8. As a resident student at Meredith College, I pay a health fee each semester. How is health insurance different from that?
If you are enrolled as a resident student living in a residence hall, the student health fee is included with room and board charges. The student health fee is not health insurance. This fee covers the basic care offered at the campus health center in Carroll Hall. Some laboratory procedures and special services require additional fees.
Health insurance gives students access to services and specialists not available at the health center in Carroll Hall. Health insurance also may cover a portion of the cost for services not provided at the Student Health Services, such as hospitalization, required surgery or specialty services for illnesses or injuries.
9. I worry about identity theft. Why do I have to provide my private information?
We understand that concern. This is why BCBS NC helps coordinate the student health insurance waiver plan. BCBS NC will not sell our students' information to anyone, including direct mail marketing vendors. They also use the most stringent, HIPAA-compliant web security currently available. Great care is taken to minimize the potential for security breaches that might lead to fraud or other malicious use of personal information. Meredith also takes steps to protect student information.
When a student graduates or leaves Meredith in December, they are no longer eligible to be seen at the health center in Carroll Hall; however students can continue health insurance coverage with the Student Health Insurance plan until July 31st.
To discontinue spring/summer coverage students must notify Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBS NC) by November 30, 2012. The student account will reflect a pro rata refund of $607.25. Students who want to opt out of the spring/summer coverage and fail to notify BCBS NC by November 30th will remain on the policy through July 31, 2013 and not receive a refund.
Contact BCBS NC at:
PO Box 9565
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-9565
Yes. For those who qualify, student and parent loans are available. Students should first apply for financial assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www. fafsa.gov. After completing the FAFSA, students may contact the Office of Financial Assistance at 919-760-8565 or by e-mail email@example.com.
All graduate students and part-time students enrolled at Meredtih for the 2012-2013 academic year are not required to have health insurance as a requirement for enrollment. Graduate and part-time students who choose to purchase an individual plan with BCBSNC may review options at: www.bcbsnc.com.
13. What are the policy highlights for the plan Meredith is offering with BCBS NC? Click here to view the current plan with BCBS NC.
Office Visits (not subject to deductible):
- $25 copayment for Primary Care Provider
- $50 copayment for Specialist Provider
Preventive Care Visits
(Routine exams, immunizations, well-woman care, routine eye exam, bone mass measurement and more)
- 100% covered, no deductible
Urgent Care and Emergency Room visits
- $50 copayment for Urgent Care
- $300 copayment for Emergency Room
- $1,000 per person
Coinsurance maximum (Does not include the deductible)
- $3,000 per person
- BCBS NC pays an unlimited lifetime maximum
Inpatient and outpatient hospital services
- 30% after deductible
Prescription drugs filled at a BCBS NC In-Network Pharmacy co-pays (Unlimited benefits):
- $15 for Tier 1 (generic) for a 30 day supply
- $45 for Tier 2 (preferred brand) for a 30 day supply
- $60 for Tier 3 (brand) for a 30 day supply
- 25% copay for Tier 4 (specialty brand*)
*$50 minimum/$100 maximum for each 30 day supply
Yes. Eligible students may choose to start coverage in the spring by notifying Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at (800) 579-8022 by November 30, 2012. The student account will reflect a pro rata charge of $607.25.
It maybe possible to join the plan within a 30-day period following a life-qualifying event. Examples of qualifying events include loss of coverage due to age, divorce/marriage, and termination of employment. If you have a question about joining the plan outside of the open enrollment period due to a qualifying event, please contact Student Blue at (800) 579-8022.
Please contact BCBS NC with further questions regarding student health insurance plan or the waiver for 2012-13 at www.bcbsnc.com/meredith or firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 919.489.7426 or toll-free 800.579.8022.
A deductible is the amount of out-of-pocket expenses the insured person (you) must pay for health services before benefits become payable by the insurance carrier.
Co-payments are payments made by the insured person (you) toward the cost of a particular benefit. For example, an insurance plan might require a $20 co-pay for each 31 day supply of a prescription medication. An emergency room visit might have a $50 copay per visit plus 80% of preferred and allowable expenses.
Coinsurance means the insured person (you) and the insurance carrier share costs according to a specified ratio (e.g. 80%: 20%) of the hospital or medical expenses resulting from a sickness or injury.
A covered illness/sickness is any disease, infection, or condition other than injury that is first treated or diagnosed by a doctor on or after the effective date of coverage under the insurance plan, unless pre-existing condition waivers apply.
A covered injury is an accidental body injury that causes loss - directly and independently of all other causes - and is sustained on or after the effective date of coverage under the plan, unless pre-existing condition waivers apply.
PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization. These are networks formed from different health care providers and facilities who agree to accept a discounted payment level for charges incurred by patients insured under a plan with that specific PPO. The campus-endorsed plan uses Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina as their PPO because it has the highest number of providers and facilities in their network.
A pre-existing condition is an injury, illness, or pregnancy for which medical care or treatment or diagnosis or medical advice was received or recommended or medication was prescribed prior to the effective date of the insured person’s coverage under the insurance plan. United Healthcare's pre-existing condition reads: Except for individuals who have been continuously insured under the school's student insurance policy for at least 12 consecutive months; The pre-existing condition exclusionary period will be reduced by the total number of months that the insured provides documentation of continuous coverage under a prior health insurance policy which provided benefits similar to this policy.
A referral happens when students require services that cannot be provided in the Meredith College Carroll Health Center. The Carroll Health Center staff arranges the referral with service providers in the student insurance’s PPO network, if possible.