Dear students, staff, and faculty:
Information about the Kansas Board of Regents student health insurance plan, including certificates, enrollment forms and premiums, is now available for the 2020-2021 plan year.
The new plan year will be effective August 1, and certain changes to the premiums may significantly affect a portion of our student body. Despite efforts to keep premiums flat, the ability of KBOR to offer this insurance is dependent upon an increase for some groups of student clients. While these changes are unwelcome in any academic year, I appreciate the significant challenge in our current environment, which is marked by uncertainty, financial strain and the addition of new health concerns.
Premiums for Incentivized Students
All categories of “incentivized” students – health sciences students (including Pharmacy students), international students and benefits-eligible GTAs, GRAs and GAs – will incur a 27.5% increase in their annual premiums for student-only coverage for the coming plan year. This year, the incentivized category also includes graduate students whose funding is through a traineeship or fellowship. Annual coverage for most incentivized students will cost $2,260. Benefits-eligible GTAs, GRAs and GAs will receive a 75-percent subsidy. Plan participants may also choose to purchase dependent coverage.
Premiums for Voluntary Students
“Voluntary” students – domestic undergraduate students whose academic programs do not require health insurance coverage and graduate students who do not qualify as incentivized students – will see a slight decrease (2.74%) in their premiums for the coming year. Student-only coverage will be $3,543 for the year. Plan participants may also choose to purchase dependent coverage.
While premiums increased for some students this year, the KBOR health plan rates appear to be comparable to plans on the open market. To review the KBOR plans and related premiums for incentivized students, voluntary students or benefits-eligible GTAs, GRAs and GAs, visit the UnitedHealthcare site and type “University of Kansas.”
All students who enroll in the KBOR plan and who use Watkins Health Services have the $500 deductible waived for services received there. In this case, benefits are paid at 100% for covered medical expenses incurred when treatment is rendered at Watkins. The UnitedHealthcare policy also covers a wide variety of COVID-19 related services. Watkins Health Services offers an insurance information overview for students.
Assistance for Those in Need
I understand that this and other unexpected expenses may have significant impact on some of our students. Students are strongly encouraged to utilize the variety of resources and aid available through campus offices such as Graduate Studies, International Support Services or Student Support and Case Management. The Emergency Aid Network lists a variety of aid opportunities at help.ku.edu. These support systems can help offset a variety of expenses in other areas of life.
Students, your individual circumstances and personal coverage choices mean we can’t fully know how many of you will be affected as individuals in the incentivized risk pool, however I want to ensure each of you have access to this information as you make choices for your health insurance coverage needs.
Offices and individuals across campus have worked hard to shield students from additional financial burdens by holding 2020-2021 tuition and fees flat, including rescinding the fee increase for international students, and by exempting graduate student employees from the temporary salary reduction. I regret that we are unable to avoid these premium increases, which are outside university control, although we will continue to work with KBOR to help students access coverage at the best available rates.
Students affected by the premium change should feel free to share their questions with their academic director, chair, or dean, as well as with the Provost Office.
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor