Student health insurance plan
Following national trends, provider to implement cost hike and
benefit modifications in 2004-05
By Virginia E. Carter
The rising cost of health care affecting everyone in the
country will also have an impact on students who participate
in the University’s student health
Premiums for the plan, underwritten by The Chickering Group,
will increase nearly 34 percent for the 2004-05 year.
For students with individual coverage,
cost will be $1,600, payable at the time
of enrollment in the health plan.
Chickering has served as the University’s carrier since 2002-03. The Student
Health Insurance Committee, which consists of students, faculty and administrators,
chose Chickering following an open and competitive bid process. The current contract
with Chickering is effective through Aug. 24, 2005.
Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia M. Lampkin stated
she was concerned about the premium increases, recognizing
the impact the increased fees will
have on many students. However, after months of work, staff were convinced
increases could not be avoided.
Dr. James C. Turner, executive director of Student Health,
said that Chickering’s
plan offers a comprehensive benefits package, which has been very important to
students in the past and has been requested by students.
There are several reasons that the insurance premiums are
increasing at this rate, Turner said.
First, inflation in the health care industry, including pharmaceuticals, is increasing
at 15 to 20 percent, and these costs are being passed on to consumers,” he
said. “Second, the Chickering plan offers very good and very comprehensive
benefits. Health insurance plans offering less protection would cost less, but
the Student Health Insurance Committee has not considered substantial reductions
in benefits to be desirable.”
Finally, Turner said U.Va.’s plan experienced extremely heavy utilization
by students and their dependents over the past two years. “In combination
with nationwide rising health-care costs, heavy utilization here at U.Va. drove
our plan costs for 2004 up substantially.”
Turner said that the premium increases would have been even
higher, approaching 60 percent, if negotiations with
Chickering had not included
modifications. Those changes, which also will take effect with the
2004-05 plan year, include
an annual deductible, an increased copayment, a co-insurance cost
for physician office visits, and an annual prescription
We recognize the concerns that students will have over these changes,” said
Lampkin. “The trade-offs necessary between premium costs and plan benefits
Chickering is a business enterprise that is separate
and distinct from U.Va. The Chickering Group
contracts with the University to
student insurance plan that complements the health-care services
offered by the Student Health Center. Students who pay the Student
Fee and are
full- and part-time students carrying at least one semester hour
are eligible to receive care at Student Health.
While the majority of undergraduates have health-care
coverage through a parent’s
policy, many graduate and first-professional students opt to participate in the
University-sponsored plan. Graduate and first-professional students are more
likely to purchase coverage for their spouses and dependents through the University
Another change that all students will experience
this year is increased enforcement of the Board
of Visitors’ policy requiring all students to carry health
insurance. In the past, the University has undertaken strict compliance only
for newly entering students.
Starting in the 2004-05 academic year, the University
will be carefully monitoring the requirement
that all students — undergraduate, graduate and international— are covered by a licensed health-care
insurance carrier in order to enroll in and remain a student
Students are not required to select the Chickering plan,
but must be insured. Students who fail to provide proof of
blocked from registration for the spring semester. Student
Health is working with
ITC to develop a new web-based program that will make insurance
returning students simple and easy.
Information about the student health insurance
plan is available on Chickering’s
Web site, www.chickering.com, or by calling U.Va.’s Chickering Customer
Service Department at (800) 466-3027. Students also may stop by the U.Va. Student
Health Center, where they can pick up literature from the information desk, or
from the insurance and referral coordinator.
In addition, U.Va. has prepared a list of frequently
asked questions and answers on the plan, available
|Major Changes at a Glance
• $1,600 Student
• $4,011 Student and spouse
Student, spouse and one child
Student, spouse and two or more children
• Annual deductible of $150
Care Provider copayment of $20
percent co-insurance for physician office visits
prescription deductible of $100
premiums for individual students ($1,600) must be paid
quarterly payment option is available for dependent
premium payments at no
• For graduate students who qualify for the health
insur- ance subsidy, U.Va. will fund 100 percent
of the cost of individual student coverage ($1,600)
• In future years, qualifying stu- dents may be asked to pay up to 20 percent
of this cost.
annual plan is effective Aug. 25, 2004, through
Aug. 24, 2005.
• Students may enroll in the
Chickering Plan during the
initial enrollment period of
July 1 through Nov. 27, 2004.
• Students enrolling by Nov.
27 will have retroactive
coverage to Aug. 25.
• For students attending the
University in the fall semester, the plan is offered only
on an annual basis, and the
full individual premium is
n Special enrollment periods
also are available for stu-
dents who enter the University at different times.
• For details, see www.virginia.edu/studenthealth/insurance/faqs.pdf
All students will need to
provide proof of health-care insurance coverage – whether
from Chickering or from some other insurance provider.
Failure to do so will result in a registration block
for spring semester.