Dear University of Nebraska Student:
Over the past week, we've heard from students and faculty who are frustrated about changes to our student health insurance program. We thank each of you who has taken time to write, call or meet with us to share your concerns.
UnitedHealthcare Student Resources, the vendor for our student plan, initially proposed a premium increase of 25% for 2019-20 to keep our plan sustainable. We carefully weighed our options to address these rising costs while maintaining the quality of our plan and disrupting as few students as possible. We knew every choice would have trade-offs.
We were able to reduce the premium increase to about 18%. But that required other changes, including increases to out-of-pocket maximum costs.
We have heard very clearly that the out-of-pocket changes are a significant concern for our students and faculty, no matter how small the chance of catastrophic medical hardship.
Pending approval from the Nebraska Department of Insurance, we have been able to identify a one-time solution that will allow us to keep our students' out-of-pocket limits unchanged from the current year — $2,200 for an individual using in-network providers.
The premium increase will remain at 18%, an increase of $40 per month for students. Prescription drug copayments will also rise as planned, and the deductible will remain at $500 when using in-network providers. In other words, once you meet your deductible, you'll pay 20% of your in-network expenses until you reach your out-of-pocket limit.
The bad news is that this is a one-time solution. Healthcare costs continue to escalate, and I'm not optimistic that we will be able to prevent significant price increases in the future. However, we have already begun our planning for next year, and we will include students and faculty in the process to help us get to the best possible outcome.
Thank you for all you do for the University of Nebraska.
Hank M. Bounds, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska