Current full-time students at Cornell must be enrolled in a health insurance plan that provides in-network coverage at the Cayuga Medical Center, which is the only hospital in Ithaca. However, Cornell’s Student Health Benefits Advisory Committee determined that beginning on May 1, 2019, full-time students may satisfy health insurance coverage with a plan that does not include CMC as an in-network provider. One of the main reasons for this change is that over 20 percent of Cornell students have coverage offered by UnitedHealthcare, which does not work with CMC as an in-network provider. Instead of requiring thousands of students to change insurance provider to gain access to CMC as an in-network provider, SHBAC is going to “encourage” all full-time students to have in-network coverage at CMC, according to the Student Health Benefits website. The new health insurance requirement is controversial because there is no obvious solution.
If you go to Cornell, you either have a health insurance plan or you are a clever rulebreaker. If your parents didn’t shell out for eligible private insurance, then you’re likely on the University’s Student Health Plan, which is comprehensive and student-tailored. Students with lower incomes can enroll in a related plan, called SHP+, free of charge. So for most, enrolling in a health plan is but a matter of setting and forgetting. But not for everyone.
Students who wish to waive the University-mandated Student Health Plan insurance for the 2019-2020 academic year must have a minimum out-of-network coverage of 60 percent, according to the new requirements, a 10 percent decrease from last year’s waiver requirements.
The staple of Barack Obama’s 2008 election platform was healthcare reform. However, soon after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law, a majority of the American public supported its repeal. What happened? A landmark piece of legislation, many argue that the ACA brought the U.S. substantially closer to having a comprehensive healthcare system, an objective already accomplished by most high-income countries and one placed on many agendas since the Truman administration. Yet, as Prof. Suzanne Mettler, government, notes in her book, The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy, the ACA’s accomplishments went largely unnoticed by the American public, and despite the successful expansion of health insurance coverage to millions of Americans, Democrats in Congress suffered great losses in the 2010 midterm elections following the ACA’s enactment.
Aetna, the company with which Cornell contracts for student health insurance, will reimburse both active and former Cornell students more than $155,000 in faulty health insurance claims, University officials said yesterday. This sum represents only a portion of the more than $5 million in claims that the company will pay to over 73,000 students at over 200 colleges nationwide as part of an agreement announced Tuesday by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Between 1998 and April 1, 2008, Aetna Student Health mishandled 4,114 insurance claims filed by 1,626 Cornell students, according to University Press Relations Officer Joe Schwartz. During this period, the company reimbursed students for less money than they were entitled to, Cuomo’s office said in a statement.
This month, the University was issued a subpoena by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as part of a broader investigation of relationships between the colleges and the health insurance companies that cover students.
In addition to Cornell, Columbia, Georgetown, Sarah Lawrence College and several State University of New York campuses received subpoenas and document requests.
According to The New York Times, the investigation is focused on “the adequacy of disclosure of policy terms and costs to students” and also whether colleges receive any “improper payments” in exchange for requiring students to use a particular insurer.
In the face of a national economic crisis, the University does not foresee any major changes to the student health insurance plan it offers.
“We do not expect this economic crisis to affect Cornell University policy regarding health insurance,” said Sharon Dittman, associate director of Health Promotion and Community Relations for Gannett.
For those who opt to buy healthcare from Cornell, they may receive a price break. Dittman cited that financial aid for health insurance will be influenced by the fiscal downturn, providing students with adequate resources in a time of need.
With approximately 7,800 students enrolled in graduate programs and professional schools at Cornell, the cost of the University’s health insurance plan can pose serious problems to not only students, but their families as well.
According to student-elected trustee Mao Ye, there are at least 1,200 dependents of students at Cornell; a dependent is a lawful spouse or same-sex partner of an enrolled Cornell student, or any unmarried child under the age of 19 who is not self-supporting and who resides with, or is court-ordered to receive insurance by, the enrolled Cornell student.