Health Insurance

Health Insurance

Graduate Student Health Care

Overview

The GSG created the Health Insurance Committee in response to rising health insurance premiums and the needs of the large number of graduate students who were without health coverage. After considerable research and deliberation, the committee recommended a mandatory, waiver-based plan for graduate students supported by the University of Maine. In the spring of 2003, the general GSG board voted to adopt such a plan provided that the university pays for at least 50% of the premium. The University of Maine included funding for this initiative in its budget starting in the fiscal year 2004-05 and each successive year.

This is a period of rapid change for health insurance in the United States; the resources available to us as insured students can change quickly and often be hard to navigate.  Our third-party insurance provider Cross Insurance is hired by the University to help us navigate this process.  Any issues or questions regarding our insurance plan benefits and claims process should be directed to: Lisa Farrington at Cross Insurance, (800).537.6444, LFarrington@crossagency.com.

The GSG acts as an advocate for all graduate students navigating the health insurance process.  Please feel free to direct any specific questions to Mo Correll, Health Insurance Committee Chair, at maureen.correll@maine.edu.

Graduate Assistant (GA) Health Insurance

Our Graduate Assistant health insurance plan (including all graduate students supported by the University in the form of teaching or research assistantships, or by University fellowships) is underwritten by the Nationwide Life Insurance Company of Columbus, OH. If you are a Graduate Assistant, Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant the university will pay for half of your annual premium; you are responsible for the other half. Dependents can be added to your policy for an increase in premium, however the University of Maine will not cover 50% of their premium cost. Documents for the 2014 – 2015 GA/RA/TA health insurance plan can be found here:

GA Insurance pamphlet 2014 – 2015
GA Summary of Benefits 2014 – 2015
GA Health Insurance Contacts 2014 – 2015
website

Enrollment in this plan is mandatory for Graduate Assistants. The university provides a paycheck deduction option for splitting up the cost over the academic year; ask about this at the Bursar’s office if you are interested. If you already have comparable health insurance, you may waive participation in the plan provided that you supply proof of your other insurance. Graduate students who are not supported by the University are not eligible for this plan. Any questions or problems you may have with filing insurance claims can be referred to our insurance advocate Lisa Farrington or Michael Parkin at Cross Agency (1-800-537-6444; http://www2.crossagency.com/2014-2015/umaine_gft.php).

Preventative Health

One of the large perks of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) and our GA plan is the considerable wellness benefits associated with our insurance.  An annual dental cleaning and associated X-rays, eye exam, and physical exam are covered under our insurance plan outside of the deductible and at no charge to the student. Additionally, the ACA mandates all insurance plans cover the following preventative services, which include HIV and STD screenings, annual well-woman visits, and much more.

Other Options: University plans

Domestic students: The University of Maine offers a voluntary enrollment plan for undergraduate and graduate students. This option is not negotiated by the GSG, and is not paid for by the University. Documents for the non-GA health insurance plan can be found here:

Non-GA Insurance pamphlet 2014 – 2015
Non-GA Summary of Benefits 2014 – 2015
Non-GA Cheat Sheet 2014 – 2015
website

International students: The University of Maine’s International Student Office requires all international students at the University to be covered under a health insurance plan. International graduate students are automatically enrolled in the international student health insurance plan, and may opt out in a fashion similar to the GA health insurance plan. Documents for the international student health insurance plan can be found here:

International Insurance pamphlet 2014 – 2015
International Summary of Benefits 2014 – 2015
International Cheat Sheet 2014 – 2015
website

Other Options: outside organizations

NAGPS (National Association of Graduate and Professional Students) offers several fairly low-premium plans with options to pay extra for major medical coverage. Check out this website for a brochure and application (http://www.nagps.org/membership/join).

United Health Care also offers plans tailored to students which can be found at .https://www.uhcsr.com/.

MaineCare: Some graduate students with low incomes may qualify for free or practically free healthcare from the state of Maine. The MaineCare program covers eligible families with children, pregnant women, and elderly and disabled individuals. You must be a resident of Maine, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and have an income between 150-185% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is around what a TA is paid. Also, if you are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer and have no health insurance, you might qualify for MaineCare regardless of your income level. You can read about MaineCare services at www.maine.gov/dhhs/bfi/MaineCare.htm. It can be tricky to determine on your own if you qualify; your best bet is to visit the Office of MaineCare Services online at www.maine.gov/dhhs/bms/ for instructions on contacting an eligibility specialist who can help.

Free Care: There is a program at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor as well other medical centers in Maine that enables folks whose annual income is less than $16,245 gross ($21,855 for two people) to receive some emergency and necessary hospital care for free, if you sign up in advance. It can apply to you in some cases even if your income is slightly above that listed.

Visit www.ptla.org/ptlasite/health/hospital.htm. For more information, visit http://healthinsuranceinfo.net/me.pdf to download a consumer guide to health insurance in the state of Maine and your rights as a health insurance consumer.

Cutler Health Center

Cutler Health Center, a subsidiary of Eastern Maine Medical Center, is open to all students.  They accept all forms of health insurance including the GA plan, general plan, International plan, and MaineCare.  You can use your Black Bear Bucks for co-pay payments.

Have financial difficulties? You may be eligible for assistance to pay your Cutler medical bills from the financial aid office. (There are also other programs available – just ask.  If you do not have transportation and need to use one of off campus facilities (say in case of emergency) transportation is easily arranged (and free) via taxi cab.

Services available include:

  • Ambulance services
  • Allergy shots
  • Foreign travel medicine
  • Immunizations
  • Lab services
  • Minor surgery
  • Nurse triage
  • Physical exams
  • Women’s healthcare
  • X-ray
  • Specialty services such as massage therapy, optometry, orthopedics and podiatry are also offered.

For more information go to their website at: http://www.emmc.org/splash_CutlerHEalthCenter.aspx