UMS Changes to Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP)
A new change in the health insurance verification requirement for students enrolled at University of Maine System (UMS) schools will take effect on August 1, 2021. This letter outlines your options for accessing health insurance coverage and information about free wellbeing resources if you are not already covered under another plan. Please note: some University programs, such as allied health, aviation, and intercollegiate athletics, require health insurance for program participation. These changes do not apply to Graduate Assistants and International students.
What’s Going On
In response to student concerns related to the cost of student health insurance, access to affordable education and changes to federal policy, the University of Maine System is eliminating its health insurance verification requirement. As a result, the UMS will no longer require that students provide proof of health insurance coverage and will no longer offer an insurance policy that automatically enrolls students in an insurance plan. This means that if you are at a UMS school next academic year and had planned to utilize the student health insurance option offered through your university, you will need to take action to secure a health insurance plan.
Navigating Your Insurance Options
This letter highlights different options that will allow you to purchase health insurance that meets your individual needs. It can take time to figure out the best choice for your future health care coverage. If you are interested in any of these options, we recommend that you immediately begin the process of shopping for and securing healthcare coverage.
Here are a few options:
Option 1- Health Insurance Offered through a Workplace, Parent, or Family Member’s Policy
You may already be eligible for health insurance coverage through a policy offered through your workplace or a policy provided to a parent, guardian or family member. To understand your eligibility and the cost of coverage, you will need to work directly with your employer or covered family member’s insurer.
Option 2 – Healthcare.Gov Marketplace
The United States federal government offers a health insurance Marketplace where individuals may shop for a health insurance policy. Due to UMS no longer automatically enrolling students and the impacts of COVID-19, you may enroll in a marketplace-offered policy from now up until August 15. If you miss this date, it’s ok! The general open enrollment period for the marketplace is November 1 to December 15. Open enrollment is the period of time during which you can join a plan.
To help you through these choices, UMS has formed a new partnership with health insurance navigators who specialize in helping individuals and families consider their available options in the marketplace, including eligibility for subsidized coverage. Navigators can also assist with other forms of financial, food, or housing assistance that contribute to stability and student success. You may work with a navigator to review your options free of charge at any time.
Free consultations with navigators can be scheduled by visiting: www.maine.gov/msl/digital/health/index.shtml
The Healthcare Hotline is available to answer health insurance questions by calling 207-581-2681. This line is available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM, excluding holidays.
Option 3 – Voluntary Student Health Insurance Policy (SHIP)
UMS is offering a voluntary student health insurance policy with Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield for the 2021/2022 academic year. The estimated cost for this policy will be $3624. If you choose this option, you must sign-up and pay for the policy directly through A.J. Gallagher, our insurance broker. Installment payment plans are available. Credit card payments will include a 3% surcharge. Enrollment and credit hour conditions may apply.
Additional information about this option will be available in June 2021 from Gallagher and by visiting:
Free Access SilverCloud Mental Health Wellbeing Platform
Regardless of your choice, if you are a UMS student for the 2021/2022 you will have free access to the SilverCloud wellbeing platform. Available on any device at any time, the self-guided online programs are designed to help address underlying issues related to stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and resilience. SilverCloud is a wonderful resource, but it does not offer healthcare coverage beyond these self-guided online programs.
Please visit SilverCloud at: umainesystem.silvercloudhealth.com/signup/.
Our commitment to student success extends far beyond the classroom. Changes to our health insurance policies and our new partnership with Maine’s health insurance navigators remove financial and administrative barriers to higher education and provide students with the expert advice they need to improve their wellbeing and financial stability.
Affordable health insurance provides the financial stability and peace of mind students need to be successful in college. While it will no longer be required, the University of Maine System strongly encourages students to acquire health insurance coverage that meets their individual needs. There are cost-effective options available for many students, including expanded eligibility for income-based premium subsidies.
Please be sure to be in touch if you have questions by calling 207-581-2681.
Dr. Robert Placido
Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs
University of Maine System