SHIP evolves alongside state and federal regulations, ACA
Even before the Affordable Care Act was upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, the University of Idaho Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) was already evolving to meet anticipated ACA standards in a way SHIP Manager Lori Krasselt said is not too financially jarring for students.
“We started making adjustments to SHIP when it became apparent that the ACA would become finalized and approved,” she said. “We … added benefits and increased premiums slightly over a number of years, rather than waiting till it was approved and making major changes and increases.”
SHIP was launched in 2001, Krasselt said, after the State Board of Education enacted a requirement for all students enrolled in Idaho universities to be covered under a health insurance plan. Prior to this requirement, UI worked with local insurance agents to offer students health insurance resources.
The early versions of SHIP changed over the years, and it now has the methods to make sure students are covered. Krasselt said several years ago, only a randomized group of students with health insurance were audited, but now, every student’s policy is inspected by an outside agency to check for consistency with UI requirements.
Krasselt said SHIP has been in line with ACA requirements for the past two years, and this alignment with requirements stemmed out of a process beginning years earlier, which gradually catered the plans to the needs of students.
“You adjust your level of benefits, you remove things that the student population doesn’t need so you can reduce the premium and you add in things that the student population needs,” Krasselt said.
According to SHIP enrollment brochures of years past, the price of SHIP has increased 41 percent in four years — from $694 per semester in fall 2010 to $979 in 2014.
An all-encompassing list of coverage parameters is available on UI’s website under the SHIP tab, but Krasselt said it’s important for students to know SHIP now provides immunization coverage, a wider variety of birth control options and increased prescription drug access off campus in accordance with ACA requirements.
Last semester, the Student Health Pharmacy closed its doors indefinitely, which Krasselt said required SHIP to offer students a wider base of off campus options to pick up prescriptions from. Currently, SHIP works with Express Scripts to offer students prescriptions, and students have five different pharmacies around Moscow to choose from to accompany most budgets.
“We evaluate the program closely each year, and we try to keep the premium as minimal a cost as possible,” she said.
Krasselt said she does not foresee the Your Health Idaho website dramatically affecting the amount of students enrolled in SHIP. She said most full-time students do not hold jobs that would qualify them to receive government subsidies on insurance policies offered through the state exchange, and this is why many students not covered under their parent’s insurance stick with SHIP.
Convenience of payment options was another reason Krasselt believes students choose SHIP.
“Students can use their financial aid and a university payment plan to cover the cost of SHIP, so that’s a big benefit for students who are looking at different options to cover the cost of their insurance,” Krasselt said. “If a student goes through a private insurance provider … it may not be so convenient.”
Students who are insured outside of SHIP are required to fill out a waiver form to exempt them from SHIP at the beginning of each semester and the waiver form is available on the UI website. The spring semester deadline for waivers is Feb. 7.
Lori Krasselt is the mother of Argonaut Editor-in-Chief Kaitlyn Krasselt.
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