Duquesne drops student insurance option

By Sam Leon | The Duquesne Duke

Duquesne is discontinuing the University-sponsored health insurance policy for students effective July 31, 2015.

In a mass e-mail sent to students in mid-November, the University announced it was dropping the plan because coverage is now available under the Affordable Care Act and through private companies offering affordable health plans. Duquesne also made the move because students can remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, according to the e-mail.

The revocation of the insurance option will require students to participate in the healthcare marketplace. Since the Affordable Care Act now requires all Americans to have health insurance coverage, students who rely on the Duquesne health plans will need to enroll in a different policy that will keep them covered beyond the July cut-off date.

Currently, the university mandates all students to have health insurance while in attendance. The student health plans are managed through Gallagher-Koster and Duquesne has specific requirements for personal insurance to be considered adequate.

These requirements include mental health coverage, direct pay to providers and no pre-existing conditions. When the decision takes effect, students will no longer have to provide any proof of insurance to the University.

Through the Affordable Care Act, healthcare plan options depend on a person’s current health as well as yearly income in relation to household size. For example, a non-smoking 21 year-old making $20,000 per year could be eligible for several plans with monthly premiums anywhere from $70 per month to $200.

Other payments like deductibles and copays will vary among each plan, but a student of the same age showing a lower yearly income could be eligible for other benefits such as Medicaid, CHIP, monthly tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.

Duquesne spokeswoman Bridget Fare said the change was necessary.

“Students did not have a choice in a plan, and many, in fact, complained that it was expensive,” Fare said. “Others expressed dismay about being required that they already had an insurance policy.”

A group of graduate students formed a subcommittee to appeal to the administration to overturn the decision. Their first meeting was Wednesday.