As of August 15, 2020, CIIS will no longer be providing university-sponsored health insurance. This was an extremely difficult decision to make, and was based on the continuing rise of our health insurance costs (last year’s increase being 67% for graduate students and 127% for undergraduate students) and the uncertainty of whether or not we will have partner and dependent coverage under our plan. Throughout our conversations with our brokers, we learned that CIIS has high usage of our plan, which in turn is likely to cause our rates to rise and our coverage to potentially change (such as removal of partner and dependent coverage). We did not feel comfortable continuing with this pattern, in addition to having a timeline which required us to announce rates only after approval from the California Insurance Commission (which in past years has been late in the summer, leaving students little or no the time to shop for alternate plans). After analyzing all of the issues with the health insurance we have been offering, we feel that such aspects do not serve students well and we plan to focus our energy in supporting students in finding alternate robust plans.
Students should begin to explore alternate plans. Note that students will be eligible to add a new health insurance plan starting in August (even though it may not be open enrollment) because their current plan (ours) is ending. This is called a Qualifying Life Event (QLE). Options may include exploring an employer’s health plan, checking on the possibility of joining a partner’s health insurance plan, or investigating options within Covered California. Also note that students can continue to have financial aid cover the cost of health insurance; students should speak with the Financial Aid Office and be prepared to provide proof of payment and coverage.
Covered California will be the main option for many of our students. Covered California is the health insurance marketplace for California established under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The exchange enables eligible individuals and small businesses to purchase private health insurance coverage at federally subsidized rates. We consulted with insurance brokers and conducted research in order to compare our current plan with Covered California’s options. Covered California offers plans that are as robust as our current CIIS plan; for the majority of our students, Covered California will also be more affordable than CIIS’s plan due to subsidies based on income.
Medi-Cal offers free or low-cost health coverage for California residents who meet eligibility requirements. When you complete a Covered California application, your eligibility for Medi-Cal will automatically be determined. You can apply for Medi-Cal benefits regardless of your sex, race, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or veteran status. However, international students on F-1 visas may not be eligible.
We have created a Covered CA page on the HUB in Canvas that includes the attached flyer and an informational powerpoint on enrolling in their plans (including Medi-Cal and other subsidized plan). Students who are having difficulty finding a Covered CA plan can contact Adam B Lewis of Lewis & Kesmodel Insurance Services, Inc. at Adam@lk-ins.net for assistance.
International students who are seeking health insurance coverage and who may not be eligible for Covered CA plans can explore international student health plans through our prior broker, Gallagher Student Health. Students can find more information at https://iss.gallagherstudent.com/.
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