Bowie State University discontinued its policy of mandatory student health insurance for the 2013-2014 academic year based on feedback from students who wanted to keep their education costs low and get better health coverage with new insurance options now becoming available under the Affordable Care Act. The university welcomed the opportunity for students to receive more comprehensive health coverage at significantly reduced rates based on their personal financial situations. Students will be able to select coverage tailored to meet their individual needs and not be limited to a university plan.
The plan that Bowie State had offered in the past at $49 per semester provided only $5,000 coverage per incident for basic care. It was a mandatory charge in student fees for undergraduates with provisions to opt-out upon proof of other insurance. Most students took no action to opt-out leaving 3,255 enrolled in the plan last spring. Discussions about providing better coverage over the past several years had met with objections from students who are acutely concerned about any increase in mandatory university fees. A university-provided plan that would meet the new enhanced coverage standards carried a cost of about $1,800 per year based on our enrollment. Students participated in email surveys and campus forums last spring and summer which informed the decision to not renew the campus-based plan.
Cost conscious in their choices, students realized that provisions of the new health care law enable many of them to avoid any additional costs as they can now be covered by their parents' health plans up to age 26. For students without family plans, affordable coverage is becoming available through the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange and those with limited income may be eligible for free health care through Medicaid.
Access to quality health care is important for young people, and Bowie State University is actively working with its students to help them assess their options and sign up for coverage before the approaching deadlines.
Students can learn more about the Affordable Care Act and how it affects them by reading the following University System of Maryland fact sheets:
Director, University Relations and Marketing