Editor’s Note: Penn State is not implementing a University-wide health insurance requirement for 2019-20. For fall 2019, U.S. students are required to submit their health insurance coverage information through LionPATH. However, this process is for information collection only and students will not be automatically enrolled in the Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan or incur any charges if they do not have coverage. For more information, visit https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/health-insurance.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State is moving toward a University-wide health insurance requirement for the 2018-19 academic school year. In preparation for the new requirement, University Health Services (UHS) will begin collecting student health insurance information in May 2017.
The information, collected through LionPATH, will help Penn State better understand the insurance needs of its students and help support students in making informed health insurance decisions.
A Student Health Insurance Activity Guide will be available in LionPATH to current students in May; incoming students will gain access to the Student Health Insurance Activity Guide after registering for classes. The Activity Guide, a set of assigned tasks, will be available in a student’s To Do List in LionPATH. The guide asks students to indicate 1) if they plan to purchase the Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) or 2) if they already have adequate coverage through a health insurance provider. Students who indicate that they have coverage will be asked to share policy details found on their insurance cards. Students without health insurance will be directed to learn more about the Penn State SHIP, a high-coverage health insurance plan offered at a competitive price to Penn State students.
All domestic undergraduate and graduate students at all Penn State campus locations will be asked to complete the Student Health Insurance Activity Guide prior to the start of the fall 2017 semester.
International students and any accompanying dependents are required to submit proof of health insurance coverage that meets a set of requirements or purchase the Penn State SHIP. More information about specific requirements for international students, enrollment deadlines, and instructions for how to submit proof of insurance can be accessed on the UHS website.
It is recommended that all students arrive to campus with a health care plan. For students who do not have health insurance or do not have adequate coverage on or near the campus they attend, Penn State strongly encourages purchasing the Penn State SHIP. Students who are unsure if they are adequately covered should contact their current health insurance provider to ask. Students are also reminded to have their insurance cards available when seeking care at any health care facility.
Why is Penn State moving toward a University-wide health insurance requirement?
Many students arrive at Penn State uninsured or underinsured and are not covered to receive health care services. Health care services can be very costly and unexpected expenses can be disruptive to a student’s academic progress. By implementing a University-wide health insurance requirement, Penn State aims to safeguard the health and success of every student.
Were students involved in the decision to move toward a University-wide health insurance requirement?
Students have been part of the process for making decisions about health insurance for many years. The Student Insurance Advisory Board/Council (SIAB/C), which includes representatives from the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), the Commonwealth Campus Student Government (CCSG), and representatives from other international student organizations provide input to University Health Services and its Student Health Insurance Office regarding the Penn State SHIP, including the selection of insurer, plan design and mechanisms to manage costs. Various student groups were involved in discussions about the new health insurance requirements and were represented on the task force that recommended the University-wide requirement.
I already have health insurance; am I required to purchase additional coverage?
While it is strongly encouraged that all students have health insurance coverage that meets specific recommendations, it is not required for domestic students during the 2017-18 academic year, however, the University is moving toward a University-wide requirement for 2018-19. Many students will find that their current health insurance meets the recommendations; others will be directed to learn about the Penn State SHIP. Submission of the Health Insurance Activity Guide will help Penn State better assess the needs of all students.
I do not have health insurance. Can I purchase it through Penn State?
Undergraduate students taking at least 3 or more credit hours and graduate students taking at least 1 or more credit hours and their eligible dependents can purchase the Penn State SHIP. Students can learn more about the plan, underwritten by United Healthcare Student Resources, including rates and enrollment dates by visiting the UHS website. Additional information for the 2017-18 academic year can be accessed below:
Insurance questions can be directed to University Health Services' Office of Student Health Insurance at [email protected].