Domestic student healthcare premiums are on the rise for the coming school year, an increase of $1,364. International students will also see a decrease in their premiums.
Richard Rothaus, the North Dakota University System’s vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, detailed some of the process that concluded in this decision.
The rise in premiums can be connected to two things: the price of premiums paid by international students and the Affordable Care Act, Rothaus said.
International students are required to purchase a healthcare plan while domestic students are not and because of the ACA most students below the age of 26 do not purchase the student healthcare plan because they remain on their parent’s insurance plans.
Four percent (1,993 students) across the state of North Dakota purchase a healthcare plan. Rothaus said 359 of those are domestic students.
Before the ACA, the majority of students purchased healthcare through the university system, which meant lower premiums.
Additionally, there have been complaints from the international student body asking why their premiums remain high. After discussion, deliberation and talking with the insurance provider for the NDUS system, Rothaus and other administrators concluded that the best approach was to lower international students premiums and raise the premiums of domestic students.
Although the raise in premiums is a shock to some domestic students, to receive the same care through an insurance provider outside of the university system would cost between $10,000 and $15,000.
Rothaus said between the three insurance companies reached out to, none could match or beat the premiums offered to domestic students, which are already offered to NDUS students.
Rothaus also said when he sent an email explaining the change, the majority of the replies he received were more students being surprised at the fact that healthcare was offered and few about the actual price change.
Along with the increase in premiums for domestic students, Rothaus said he does not expect any students to revoke their use of the healthcare offered through the NDUS.
With the new presidency, there may be some questions as to how the healthcare system will work on a national level and how that will impact not only this insurance coverage but also that offered by the ACA.
In recent weeks, President Trump and Congress have been trying to revoke the ACA in favor of another system of nationwide healthcare.
Because the details of such a healthcare plan are uncertain, so is the future of student healthcare in regards to insurance coverage. Depending on what the verdict on that turns out to be, there may be a sudden increase in student enrollment in insurance through their educational institute, but is still impossible to predict, Rothaus said.
Rothaus said a concern of his is the 25-year-old students will soon be responsible for their own health insurance. He wants to get the word out that insurance through their educational institute is possible despite high premiums.