Graduate Student Health Care
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.
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 2012 – 2013 GA/RA/TA health insurance plan can be found here:
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/2009-2010/umaine_u.php).
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:
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:
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.