Insurance package waived, purchased

Students exercise option to cancel

by Sean Thomas

About 8,000 of NIU’s roughly 25,000 students cancel their student health insurance each year, exercising an option available for several years.

As in previous years, any registered full-time students who remain covered under their present family or work policy can waive the costs of student insurance.

Regina Crosby, student health insurance manager, said students seeking cancellations must present either a copy of their family insurance identification or a letter from the insurance carrier if they are insured by an employer.

“The family coverage needs to be at least 80 percent and the proof of insurance must have a matching last name,” Crosby said.

Cancellations can be sought at Diversions in the lower level of the Holmes Student Center by the University Bookstore. The process began the first day of classes Aug. 27, and the deadline to collect ends Sept. 11.

Students who have registered for six or more credit hours and thus have not been billed for the student package can also purchase insurance in the Diversions lounge during the same two-week period.

The standard NIU insurance package includes a $200 deductible per plan year and 80 percent coverage for doctors visits and hospital expenses. The maximum lifetime benefit is $250,000.

Crosby said one major concern is the effect of the cancellation plan on the more economically disadvantaged students, who are generally the ones most likely to need university subsidized insurance.

“When you have a smaller base of students to pay into any plan, it causes the basic cost of the plan to go up,” Crosby said.

Crosby said health insurance each year reviews new bid specifications that will take place in late September or early October. During this time, NIU officials work in coordination with SHAC (Student Health Advisory Committee) on any potential modifications.

Some major advantages of the plan include the relative low cost of buying insurance from NIU as opposed to having a personal plan. “University insurance for an entire year will cost $281.66, which averages out to about $23 a month, whereas a personal plan could run over $1000 per year,” she said.

A second and often overlooked advantage of privacy is something students might want to take into account when deciding whether to cancel their university insurance. Parents do not have to be notified of the services sought at the health center.

“When you have a smaller base of students to pay into any plan, it causes the basic cost of the plan to go up.”

Regina Crosby, student health insurance manager