Health Insurance FAQs
Refer to the questions below, but also find out about issues particular to you as an international student here.
Co-pay - the additional fee a person pays upfront for each visit to a doctor or for each prescription purchased at the time when service is rendered. Typically this can range from $10/visit to $20/visit for the GTU HIPS. However, unlike coinsurance where the insured is required to pay a certain percentage of the covered costs, co-pay plans require the insured to pay a specified dollar amount.
Deductible – the cost a person pays for medical care before the insurance company pays. Some policies have a limit on how much a person will pay in deductibles in a year.
HMO – Health management organization; PPO – Preferred/participating provider organization; for more info on the differences see: http://www.insurance.com/FAQs/healthFAQDetail.aspx/index/7
Open Enrollment - the limited time period in which an individual may enroll, cancel or change their health insurance plan. Once the time of open enrollment has passed, the individual must wait until the next open enrollment time in order to enroll, cancel or change their health insurance plan. For GTU HIPS, Open Enrollment period is the first day of General Registration until the last day of Late Registration for the Fall and Spring Semesters.
Premiums – the amount paid or to be paid by the policyholder for coverage under the contract, usually in periodic installments. Premium costs for students will be assessed each semester.
Frequently Asked Questions about student health insurance
How much is the school insurance plan going to cost me?
For a plan that fulfills the GTU HIPS Waiver form, you can expect to pay around $300-400 per month for a single student plan. For the GTU HIPS plan you can expect to pay around $119 for a single student plan for this year. These rates are subject to change each year.
Am I eligible to enroll with GTU HIPS if I'm taking 6, 7 or 8 credits?
Yes, you are eligible and may enroll, but you are not required. You are not eligible if you are taking below 6 credits.
How long am I covered for with the school plan?
12 months if you enroll in the Fall and Spring from September 1st-August 31st.
How long does my insurance last if I do the Fall school insurance but not the Spring
September 1st-January 31st
How long does my insurance last if I do the Spring school insurance but not the Fall
February 1st-August 31st
Am I covered over the summer with the school plan?
Yes. Coverage dates are September 1st-August 31st
Am I covered over the holidays in December and January with the school plan?
Yes. Coverage dates are September 1st-August 31st
What kind of services does your plan cover?
See Coverage Summary for GTU HIPS Kaiser for 2011-2012»
Do you include dental insurance with your plan?
No. PSR does not offer dental insurance. However, we usually recommend Delta Dental, which is the same dental insurance company offered to U.C. Berkeley students. Their rates can run as low as around $100/year and usually cover basic care. To find out more and sign up for Delta, go to: http://www.deltadentalins.com/index.html.
Are vision exams covered?
Yes. There is an eye exam benefit for about $20 copay. However, materials (frames, glasses, contacts, fitting) are not covered.
I already turned in my application, and it’s already September 1st, but I haven’t gotten my Kaiser card yet. What if I need to see a doctor now?
After you apply online through the Kaiser website, print out your confirmation page as proof of your enrollment. Call the Kaiser Member Service number 1-800-464-4000 and speak to an member services representative. Give the representative your group name “Pacific School of Religion” and the group number, “600614-0003,” and tell them your name and if needed your confirmation/receipt number. You will be able to make appointments and obtain medication with that. Also, contact that toll free number to follow up on the status of your ID card.
How do I pay for my school insurance? Do I write out a check to Kaiser?
No. Once you enroll, you are billed by the PSR Business Office which includes the premium costs of your plan in your school bill once each semester.
Do I need to submit a waiver or application every Fall if I’m at 9.0 credits or more?
Yes, even if there are no changes, you must submit either a waiver or application each semester.
Do I need to subit a waiver or application every Spring if I'm at 9.0 credits or more?
No, not if there are no changes to your plan. If you wish to change anything about your plan though including who is covered or who your provider is, then yes.
I’m taking less than 9.0 credits for Fall and I have my own very ample health insurance. A) Do I need to turn in a waiver? B) What do I choose in the WebAdvisor Health Insurance Selection screen?
A) No you do not need to turn in a waiver.
B) You may choose “Not Applicable.”
I'm starting a new job that will give me health insurance that fulfills the waiver requirements, but it won't start until November 1st, so that means I won't be covered for September and October but I'm taking at least 9 credits. Is that ok?
No, you will need to either enroll in the school's health insurance plan for Fall or waive out with another plan by the close of General Registration. If you want to switch to your job's health insurance plan, you may do so at the next open enrollment period which is in January.
Can I just pay for September and October coverage then cancel my membership with GTU HIPS starting November 1st?
No, you may only cancel, add, or make changes to your GTU HIPS plan during open enrollment periods.
When is the GTU HIPS' open enrollment period?
For GTU HIPS, Open Enrollment period is the first day of General Registration until the last day of Late Registration for the Fall and Spring Semesters. Check the Calendar to see when those are for the year you want to know about.
I’m graduating in May. I will need health insurance in the few months I transition out of PSR until I go back to my country/start a new job/can enroll in my partner’s plan. How much is the COBRA plan PSR has?
Currently, GTU HIPS does not offer COBRA continuation once students and dependents cease their membership status.
As a graduate who will no longer be enrolled in a the fall, what are the options that I am eligible for with Kaiser after August 31?
There are two options:
- You may enroll in an independent "conversion plan" through Kaiser. This option is for those with limited options (i.e., you are not eligible to get on a group plan by way of employment or as a dependent). In this plan, your choices are limited to the product portfolio available and the monthly cost for premiums may increase significantly. You have 60 days from the last day of your coverage to call Member Services at 1-800-464-4000 to enroll. One advantage to enrolling in a "conversion plan" during this period is that pre-existing conditions are waived if you apply by this deadline. For more information for this type of plan, go to this link.
- You may apply for the individual plan, assuming the member won't be eligible to get on a group plan by way of employment or as a dependent, and assuming that coverage could be obtained without pre-existing limitations/exclusions. This plan is priced lower than the "conversion plan." To find out about enrolling in an individual plan, call Kaiser Member Services at 1-800-464-4000.
Beyond these two options under Kaiser, you will need to seek out health insurance independently with no guarantee that you will be approved for the plan for which you apply.
What determines rates for the "conversion plan" and the "individual plan"?
The premium rates for the conversion plan and the individual plans are based on demographics (age, sex, etc.). Note that the conversion plan may be priced higher than the comparable individual plan.
What happens if I’m full-time but I refuse to submit any paperwork in Fall?
Then either 1) you will be automatically enrolled in GTU HIPS with Kaiser at the single student rate and, therefore, automatically billed or 2) your registration will be revoked and your status as a student at PSR will be terminated. You will be notified via email if such an action is going to be taken, and you are responsible for checking your school email account to receive such notification.
I found a health plan I might want to purchase to waive out with, but I’m not sure if it qualifies.
Check the coverage terms against page 2 of the GTU HIPS waiver form. If you still are having trouble recognizing if it qualifies, bring the plan coverage terms you printed from the website or got from the insurance company to the Registrar, who can help you discern if the plan qualifies. If terms of the plan are still in question, the CFO of PSR will have final approval of your plan.
What happens if I fail to submit either an enrollment or waiver form online by the close of open enrollment but I wish to?
You will need submit a hard copy Kaiser Enrollment Application or a GTU HIPS Waiver Form to your registrar by a week after the close of open enrollment.
What are my options if my health plan/waiver is not approved?
Your 4 options if you are taking 9.0 credits or more are:
- Enroll in the GTU HIPS with Kaiser. It will cost you an extra $1,620.96-$5,187.12/year, but this may still be much less than the alternative if you should be hospitalized for even one day.
- Find a health insurance plan that does fulfill the condition of the GTU HIPS waiver. Though this is an option, in our experience we have found that comparable plans with other companies like for example Blue Shield, Blue Cross, CIGNA, Aetna, to be just as much or even more in premiums than the Kaiser plan we offer. For that reason, it is not the first option we would encourage. However, this is often a good option for people who are, for example, a dependent on their spouse or parent’s plan that is comprehensive and offered through their spouse or parent’s place of employment. For such students, we would encourage that this be their first option if the insurance plan and doctors are preferred and/or it is financially a better choice.
- Choose Kaiser, HealthNet, or Medi-Cal. Or if you are a veteran, enroll in the VA Health Insurance Plan waiver states that if you enroll in ANY plan with Kaiser Permanente, HealthNet, or Medi-Cal, (or VA Health care if you are a veteran) you do not need to fulfill the waiver requirements on page 2.
- Private: Kaiser and HealthNet
This means if you apply for and get approved for the most basic plan from Kaiser or HealthNet, even if its terms actually do not meet the standards on page 2 of the waiver, the plan will still qualify. However, eligibility for such plans is not automatic, so make sure you apply at least 6 weeks before the close of registration to allow Kaiser or HealthNet to process your application. Applying does not guarantee membership for your chosen basic plan.
- Public: MediCal
Medi-Cal is a good and recommendable option if you are additionally unemployed or have family living with you while you are here. Medi-Cal is issued through the county (ours is Alameda county), while Kaiser and HealthNet are private companies.
- Private: Kaiser and HealthNet
- Cut down on your credits to be less than 9.0. However, most international students do not have the option of taking fewer than 9.0 credits in order to maintain their F-1 status, so this option is not really available to students on such visas. For others, though this is an option, it is our least recommended option, particularly if you are in a Master’s program. You will need to be full-time every semester and often more than full-time in order to finish in the stipulated years of your program. Reducing your credit load to less than 9.0 will also make you ineligible for school housing and reduce or make you ineligible for Financial Aid.
Whatever option you choose, if you have one of the plans in option 3, you have fulfilled the terms of the health insurance waiver. However, while you may end up finding a great local solution that is low cost, do consider your needs and risks and whether or not realistically you would be able to afford the higher deductibles, higher prescription costs, and, in some cases, less fulsome and adequate coverage of your plan. While we understand your concerns for the high cost of health insurance, we have your best interest in mind, and we would strongly encourage you to be aware you will need to understand what you might lose or gain if you choose a certain option over another before you commit to it.