For many questions about health related issues at BU you can visit the website of Student Health Services . For healthcare, you can also visit Student Health Services in person, though it is best to call ahead and schedule an appointment if possible.
BU Student Health Insurance
- Who Gets Signed Up – As mentioned in the Student Health Services website
Massachusetts law requires that all full-time students and students who participate in at least 75 percent of the full-time curriculum must have medical insurance.Boston University has made arrangements with Aetna to provide two options for student health insurance (BASIC and PLUS). Many students (as described by a Student Accounting Services page) are AUTOMATICALLY enrolled in the Student BASIC plan.
If a student is automatically enrolled then they can waive the coverage by providing proof that they otherwise satisfy the law’s requirement of being covered by health insurance, and the charge for the BASIC plan will be removed from their student account. Further details on waiving the health insurance are also available on the Student Accounting Services page linked to above. Students who would like to enroll in the PLUS plan must specify their desire to do so using the Student Link, and their account will be charged for the higher premium.
- Who Gets it Paid For and How Much – Teaching Fellows and Research Assistants who do not waive the insurance coverage AND get paid $5000 or more per semester (as described on another Student Accounting Services page) receive credit towards their student account for the full amount of the BASIC plan if they get paid $5000 or more in both semesters. An amount equal to half of the premium for the BASIC plan is credited once per fall or spring semester in which the student is paid at least $5000. Students eligible for insurance credit choosing to enroll in the PLUS plan rather than the BASIC plan will still receive credit for the amount of the BASIC plan premium. They will need to pay the difference between premiums at some point.
Since your student account is charged for the full cost of the insurance plan at the beginning of the fall, if you anticipate being paid at least $5000 per semester you will end up carrying a balance of half of the BASIC plan premium between semesters. If half of the BASIC plan premium is the only balance on your student account you should NOT have to pay a late fee. If you opted in to the PLUS plan then you WILL need to pay the full difference between the yearly premiums for PLUS vs BASIC before the fall semester deadline. If you have other charges on your account, when added to half of the BASIC plan premium they may exceed the allowable balance to carry between semesters and you may be charged a late fee.
- Waiving coverage or upgrading coverage is done through the Student Link. (Under the “Money Matters” tab, click on “Medical Insurance.”)
Additional web resources
- Aetna Student Health page – Along with the plan description brochure, they offer information about how to use your health insurance plan, information relating to prescriptions (which pharmacies near you are in-network and how to get reimbursed if the pharmacy charges you more than your coverage indicates they should), information about coverage provided while you are traveling, and a tool for finding in-network doctors, hospitals, or pharmacies. They also provide information about understanding “explanation of benefits” forms, which you receive after the insurance is billed for health care. This site, in bright, friendly colors, is most easily navigated using their menu on the left hand side of the page. If following the above link results in a page that says your session has expired, typing in “Boston University” to their school directory should get you back to the right page.
- Aetna Navigator – If you are enrolled in an Aetna-provided health insurance, you can create an account with Aetna Navigator. This page gives you access to your claim and benefits history, an option to turn on paperless communication, a page to request a medical ID card replacement, capability to update your profile with them, and a tool to estimate the costs of care. As a bonus, you get access to a few “health programs.” The details of these discount programs are only available through the Navigator.
Other Medical Insurance Options and BU Dental Options
- Commonwealth Connector – From the page:
The Health Connector is an independent state agency that helps Massachusetts residents find health care coverage.
- Alumni Associations of which you are a Member – Some alumni associations provide various types of insurance options, including medical insurance. Check with your alma mater(s).
- Aetna’s Dental Discount Plan – NEW THIS YEAR! Pay a small fee for the Discount plan, which then allows you to get reduced rates with some dentists. (You need to click on “Dental Discount Program: Enroll” in the menu on the left side of the page for the program details and to enroll. More information can be found on a separate page, but that page is not where you sign up.)
- BU Student Dental Plan – The BU school of Dental Medicine offers a student dental plan for certain dental procedures/services. These procedures and services are either free-with-purchase of the plan (~$300/year) or at a greatly reduced price from what they would cost if they were done by a dentist. They are performed by BU dental students in their later years of dental school. All of their treatment plans are checked and approved by the instructors before they begin, at steps during the procedure, and at the end. This option has been favored by some students and found lacking by others, as detailed in the results of the healthcare survey (pages 11-12, 17, and 40-42).