Health Insurance

Students are strongly encouraged to carry health insurance, since Student Health Services is NOT health insurance.  Please see below for information on the Affordable Care Act.

If students are currently covered by health insurance, they should check with the carrier to see what arrangements need to be made so coverage continues while at college.  All students should carry health insurance cards with them. Participation in the University of Wisconsin System Student Health Insurance Plan (see below) is required for international students. Additional coverage must be purchased for Varsity Athletic coverage, for both domestic and international students. Please see below for additional information.

From UW-River Falls Risk Management web page: "UWRF does not provide any type of compensation for injuries that occur on campus. Each student and visitor is expected to have their own health insurance to cover personal medical costs."

University of Wisconsin System Student Health Insurance Plan
(designed especially for students in need of health insurance)

Information on the 2013/2014 annual insurance plan for UWRF students (including information about the provider network) is available at http://www.sas-mn.comlink and under "College" click on "Find My School" or call 651-439-7098.  Please note that for the 2013/2014 domestic student policy, this policy has a $500,000 limit, has a $300 in-network and $500 out-of-network per policy year per person deductible, but does have a $5,000 for PPO providers and $10,000 for non-PPO providers limit per policy year on out-of-pocket expenses.  Preferred provider benefits are paid at 80% until $5,000 in out-of-pocket expenses have been met, then 100% up to $500,000.

To find a PPO provider:

Go to the SAS web site above and find UW-River Falls and the plan you are enrolled in, then click on "Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)," which will take you to http://www.healtheos.com/index.cfmlink (Multiplan web page).  On the right, check "HealthEOS Network" and then click on "Go."  Then check "HealthEOS" (under "Front of Card") and then click on "Continue."  Then continue your search based on what you're looking for.  If you are looking for a provider outside of Wisconsin, you would instead click "MultiPlan" under "Back of Card," and then click on "Continue," and proceed with your search.  Please be aware that even though some facilities are PPO providers, they may not be listed as a facility, but rather by individual providers under "Doctor or health care professional." You can always call 651-439-7098 to check about PPO providers or to confirm a provider.

Information on the 2012/2013 annual insurance plan for UWRF students is available at https://www.gallagherkoster.com/uwisystemlink

Information on the Affordable Care Act

You have probably heard in the media that a new online Health Insurance Marketplace launched on October 1, 2013 as part of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Students may wish to consider new health insurance options available due to the ACA, a federal law passed in March 2010 which phases in over several years.

The Health Insurance Marketplace is a new way for individuals and families who meet certain income requirements to buy private health insurance plans.  Four levels of plans are offered through the Marketplace.  The plans vary from each other based on the amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses that are covered.  For example, the lowest cost "bronze" plans only cover 60% of medical expenses, "silver" plans cover 70%, "gold" plans cover 80%, while the highest tier "platinum" plans cover 90% of medical expenses.  Individuals may be eligible for a subsidy (depending on their income) that will reduce the cost of a Marketplace plan.

Information on the Affordable Care Act is expected to change, so please visit http://www.healthcare.gov/link for more information and updates and to sign up for email or text updates.

One provision of this law that has already benefitted many students allows dependent children (including students) to remain on their parents' insurance until their 26th birthday.  Under the ACA dependent children can remain on a parents' plan even if they no longer live with their parents, are not a dependent on a parent's tax return, are no longer a student, or are married.

Starting January 1, 2014, the federal Affordable Care Act requires most individuals to have health insurance.

If you do not have health insurance, you will want to shop for it.  The law also provides new opportunities to acquire affordable health insurance.  As an example, you may be eligible for coverage through the new online health insurance exchanges (also called the Health Insurance Marketplace).  Exchanges can help you locate and compare plans, including coverage, benefits, premiums (purchase price), deductibles, and co-payment costs.

The exchanges opened October 1, 2013 for the purchase of insurance coverage that takes effect January 1, 2014.  Open enrollment runs through March 31, 2014. 

You may find that you qualify for a premium subsidy (assistance) that will reduce the cost of an exchange plan.  In some cases you may also qualify for a cost-sharing subsidy that will lower your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.  Whether you are eligible for a subsidy depends on your income.  To learn what coverage and the level of assistance that might be available to you, visit the healthcare.gov web page.

What to do now:

Start by making a list of things that will be important in your coverage decision, for example:

  • Know how your current health insurance plan (if any) works, whether it will continue, and when it will renew.
  • Know about your insurance coverage in a given area, since many health insurance plans provide more limited benefits when you are away from your home or "out-of-area."
  • When purchasing a health insurance plan, you should not consider premium cost alone.  Plans with higher out-of-pocket expenses may have lower premiums, but a high deductible and high member coinsurance can make members reluctant or financially unable to receive necessary medical treatment.
You may also wish to look at insurance plan options outside of the marketplace, including the UW System student health insurance plan (see above) as a student health insurance plan (SHIP) may provide better coverage at lower cost (but would not be eligible for any subsidy).

Beginning October 1, 2013, you can access the online health insurance exchange by visiting the healthcare.gov web page, click on Individuals and Families, answer a few quick questions and you'll get:

  • A list of coverage options for which you may qualify (specific plans and prices available October 1st)
  • Answers that will help you make good decisions
  • A personalized checklist to help you get ready to apply
  • Access to a call center and chat for help
Many benefits of the ACA may vary from state to state.  See where your state is in the roll-out process.  Some states have opted for the federal government to run their exchanges (including Wisconsin), while other states are running their own (including Minnesota).  Expansion of the Medicaid program also varies by state.

 

For More Information:

Links to Other Health Insurance Resources

BadgerCare Plus State of Wisconsin health care planlink: Including applying for Badger Care Core Health Care For Adults With No Dependent Children
MinnesotaCarelink: Minnesota residents who do not have access to affordable health insurance
Family Planning Only Serviceslink: Reproductive health services. View instructions for enrollingdocument in this program.


University of Wisconsin-River Falls
410 S. 3rd Street, River Falls WI 54022 USA
Campus Information 715-425-3911