NJCU requires students to have health insurance


Aetna, is a healthcare company where students can enroll for health insurance. Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

Kenise Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Do you see an additional increase in your student account balance? Do you think it goes towards tuition? Well, it doesn’t. NJCU has a new policy for students to have health insurance, which lasts for a full year. 

The university followed the lead of other New Jersey colleges to make sure all full-time students have health insurance. NJCU will receive none of the funds from students who pay for insurance.

The healthcare company Aetna will be providing NJCU students with health insurance.

Students who already have insurance can enroll to waive the fee from their accounts through Aetna.

Students must make sure that the fee is waived by October 7, 2020. Click on the following link to waive: https://www.aetnastudenthealth.com/en/school/686210/index.html

Jodi Bailey, associate vice president of Student Affairs, said, “New Jersey State law requires all institutions of higher education to offer health insurance coverage for purchase by students who are enrolled full-time.”

“Here at NJCU before President Obama’s administration, students were required to have student health insurance through a vendor much like we have set up for this academic year.  However, once medical coverage was offered through the government in a more concise matter, the University met this requirement by directing our students to the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the exchanges. The University did so to allow students the freedom to select the health plan that is best for them. Unfortunately, however, many of our NJCU students remained underinsured or not insured at all. The lack of insurance coverage causes a ripple effect at the University regarding immunizations, student travel, state requirements for the residence halls, mental health care, and a variety of other medical needs that we were trying to address. The pandemic increased the need for our students to have adequate medical coverage, but this was something the University was already exploring beforehand.”

In an email interview with Scott James, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment, he said, “During the current public health crisis, the University felt that it was particularly important to ensure that all students have access to quality healthcare, not just for the individual students’ benefit but for the health and wellbeing of the entire university community.”

The health insurance was first  discussed back in January 2020.

The average rate for health insurance undergraduate full-time students is $1,977 a year while for graduate full-time students is $4,797 a year. 

James said the rates are this way because “it has to do with the way [Aetna] prices insurance.”

“Graduate students on average use their health insurance more frequently than undergraduate students do.”

However, part-time students are not required to have health insurance and James gives two reasons why:

“1. Part-time students are overwhelmingly working full-time, so the majority have their own insurance already. 2. Prior attempts at offering it to part-time students have resulted in a small number of individuals who abuse the system by signing up for one class in order to get the insurance, utilizing it for very expensive treatments or procedures, which drives up the cost for other students.”

Bailey said students can choose their own  health insurance and do not have to use Aetna.

“The University still wants students to have the freedom to select the health plan that is best for them. By having the University offer a Student Health Insurance Plan, students are potentially able to get better rates than they would on their own, and can receive financial aid to help defray the cost of the insurance.  The cost of insurance is also able to be included in many student loans. We do not believe that students must use the Aetna coverage to be insured.  If students need health insurance coverage and not to participate in the new plan offered through the University, there are other options available.”

Bailey continues, “The Federal Government still maintains health insurance exchanges that allow families and individuals in need of health insurance coverage to compare coverage and pricing from a variety of different insurance companies offering plans in the NJ area. The PPACA [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] also requires employer plans to continue to provide dependent coverage to their employee’s dependents up to age 26. Additionally, the PPACA expanded Medicaid eligibility in many states, including New Jersey. To determine eligibility for the expanded Medicaid coverage, students need to apply through the state healthcare exchange. For additional information, including information about the health care law, finding insurance options, and accessing NJ’s health insurance exchange, please refer to http://www.healthcare.gov.

Bailey concludes, “Please note that even if the Federal Government repeals PPACA, the insurance policy offered by the University for Academic Year 2020-2021 will be unchanged and will still offer the same PPACA-compliant coverage through to the expiration of the policy.”

For more information about the university’s requirement of health insurance click on the following link: https://www.njcu.edu/student-life/campus-services-resources/health-wellness-center/student-health-insurance