The ACA comes to MSU: changes in student health insurance


Posted Fri, Feb 8, 2013

STUDENT HEALTH CARE: Unlike many Colorado health insurance plans, MSU’s plan already meets the new standard. [Photo by S.L. Alderton]

DENVER — This fall, autumn leaves and course schedules won’t be the only things to change at Metro State University: the student healthcare policy will be changing, too.

As all registered Metro students know, the cost for student health insurance has always been part of their tuition, but those who already have insurance are able to opt out of the college plan if their insurance meets the three requirements listed on the website. But those requirements will be changing soon. Once new nationwide healthcare reforms are implemented, it will be federal law that decides which insurance plans are accepted.

“All [health insurance] plans approved to meet the requirements of the federal mandate will be accepted starting fall 2013,” says Steve Monaco, director of the Health Center at Auraria.

The federal mandate for health insurance instituted by the Affordable Care Act will go into effect in 2014, halfway through the school year at MSU. The student insurance policy will have to adjust its waiver requirements to meet the new federal standard. Unlike many Colorado insurance plans, though, MSU’s plan already meets the new standard. For example, the student insurance already covers contraceptives and places no limits on labs, X-rays or prescriptions–both new requirements that other insurance companies will need to make major adjustments to meet. Monaco says that, although any federally-approved plan will be accepted in the future, the new federal requirements will probably make MSU’s insurance the best option. He says that because the MSU insurance won’t need to raise prices in order to provide new benefits, it will be cheaper than any policies Coloradans will be able to buy through the Colorado exchanges.

“Every indication shows that they’ll be much more expensive,” he says. “The cost of our plan is very, very low compared to any comparable benefits.”

As it stands now, students pay $1,848 per year for the MSU Denver insurance plan. The plan covers every service available at the Health Center 100 percent, with a $20 copay for any medications. For services at any off-campus clinic or hospital, students under the plan pay 20 percent co-insurance out-of-pocket, plus incurring an annual $300 deductible. These benefits won’t change in the fall, but the waiver requirements for students with outside insurance will.

What the specific new requirements will be, says Monaco, we don’ know yet. As details of the law are still being hammered out, it’s not yet clear which insurance plans will be accepted and which will not. What is clear is that, by the time fall registration comes around, your insurance waiver may look a little different than before. Keep an eye on the Health Center website for updates.

Breaking It Down

Current Waiver Standards for MSU Denver Students:

In order to be exempt from paying for the student health insurance, you must already have a plan that:

  •  Has a deductible of $1,500 or less
  • Is a “Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan”
  • Has mental health care coverage that includes inpatient AND outpatient benefits

Waiver Standards Starting in Fall 2013:

Will change to fit the new federal mandate.

For more information:

Contact Debra Shuman, supervisor of student health insurance, at 303-556-2525.

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About S.L. Alderton

S.L. Alderton is an MSU Denver student majoring in magazine journalism.

View all posts by S.L. Alderton

10 Responses to “The ACA comes to MSU: changes in student health insurance”

  1. Davy Says:

    Good story. Good to know of these changes to the policy.


  2. Grace Says:

    Didn’t know about all the policy changes, so thanks for keeping me up to date! Well written and informative


  3. Maureen Says:

    “Says” is a passive voice. Always use “said.” Otherwise, very good.


  4. Austin Says:

    This is a good stroy on the current situation but even more informs on the situation that could arise in the future and brings awareness to things that actually have an effect on students.


  5. Aaron Lambert Says:

    Informative and well reported. Good things to know.


  6. J.R. Johnson Says:

    Very informative. I like how you broke it down into bullet points at the end, very notable stuff. I’ll be looking out for this.


  7. Emily Pennetti Says:

    Informative but maybe explain a little of what the Affordable Care Act is just in case some don’t know about it.


  8. Andrew Says:

    Good to know very useful information. I like the “breaking it down” section in the end, good way to sum it up.


  9. Stephanie V. Coleman Says:

    Great intro to catch readers’ attention. Contains very useful information for students. The “breaking it down” section was very clear and easy to understand (great addition to the story). Well written!


  10. Ashley Hattle Says:

    This was a detailed subject to cover with all of the requirements and you did it very well. This is a good read for every MSU student because it applies to all of us.


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