Editorial: The shortcomings of Northeastern’s student health plan


The Editorial Board

Every year, part-time and full-time students at Northeastern are automatically enrolled in the University Student Health Plan, regardless of whether or not they already have health insurance. To reverse this enrollment, and the subsequent bill of $1999, students now have to embark on an unnecessarily complicated process.

Beginning this semester, the university has delegated their health-plan waiving procedure to a third-party, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., which verifies that every student’s health insurance is meeting new, higher standards set by the state of Massachusetts.

While this is beneficial in theory (it demands that every student has sufficient medical protection), in reality, it leads to the repeated denial of many students’ coverage — even those whose insurance has previously qualified.

This rejection seems most frequent among students whose health insurance comes from out of state, which does not always conform to Massachusetts’ high standards of coverage.

Thus, the portion of Northeastern’s student body that is not originally from Massachusetts — and the majority of us are not — is forced to jump through a series of hoops to complete this process without any real semblance of resolution.

This poses an especially aggravating nuisance for returning students, who have not encountered a pushback on their coverage prior to this shift in rules and regulations.

Instead of providing resources to help students attain affordable, personalized health insurance independently, Northeastern automatically adds an additional two thousand dollars to our billing statements in exchange for the single health care plan they offer.

Students are left to find a solution of their own, or else accept Northeastern’s default arrangement. In short, the current system entails students paying more for coverage that has historically proved less than adequate.

While the university’s website markets their student health plan as having “comprehensive health benefits at a very affordable rate,” a tab directing students to the plan’s “Highlighted Benefits,” is completely empty of content.

To add insult to injury, The University Health and Counseling Services, or UHCS, at Northeastern are notoriously unaccommodating.

It appears as though the new requirements are unnecessarily stringent, and that perfectly valid plans in past years are no longer acceptable for no particular reason. It is necessary to mention that these rules have been set by the state of Massachusetts, not by Northeastern.

Northeastern may not have a choice when it comes to the caliber that a student’s coverage must meet, but they do have a choice when it comes to offering alternative solutions. And it is highly problematic that they provide a single, overpriced plan with a difficult health center to process issues through.

For the aggregation of wealth we supply in tuition money, Northeastern should, at the very least, offer a few choices in terms of plans and a more efficient version of UHCS.