The cost of Student Health Insurance will increase up to 32 percent for the 2016-17 academic year across all UNC System schools.

The UNC System works with Blue Cross Blue Shield to offer students the Student Blue health insurance program. The last changes to the premium price, or the amount that students must pay on the insurance policy, occurred last year, when the price per semester rose from $802 to the current $863.50.

The price of the premium is anticipated to increase once again because of the steady rise in the number and cost of claims being submitted.  While in previous years there was a 12 percent cap on the claims that could be submitted, this year there was no cap, which means that the number of claims being submitted could grow even more.

The UNC General Administration (UNCGA) has proposed two new options for possible plans. Like the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the plans are designated by the colors gold and silver.

While only one of the plans can be offered under the Student Health Insurance, the UNCGA has asked to hear recommendations as to which plan will benefit students more.

While the Gold Plan has a higher premium cost of $1140 per semester, it has a deductible, or the amount students must pay out of pocket before the insurer will pay for expenses, of only $500.

The Silver Plan has a per semester premium cost of only $1000, but the deductible is $2000.

Students that have to use their insurance if they get hurt could end up paying more with the Silver Plan than with the Gold Plan.

The rates are not final. While the Gold Plan, if chosen, might change by only a slight margin, the Silver Plan will more than likely rise by a considerable amount. This means that the Gold Plan has numbers that are more reliable and less subject to changes.

Rousmaniere met with UNC Charlotte’s Student Government Association (SGA) and with the Graduate and Professional Student Government of UNC Charlotte (GPSG) to discuss the options and hear students’ thoughts. From the latter organization, Rousmaniere got only one response. To get more feedback, Rousmaniere also spoke throughout the campus and with the Student Health Center.

After much thought and deliberation, Rousmaniere recommended the Gold Plan on behalf of UNC Charlotte.

“We currently have more students enrolled in the program than any other campus, even though NC State has more students,” said Rousmaniere.

In Fall of 2015, 5200 students were enrolled in Student Blue. It is anticipated that the number of students enrolled in the program will drop when the cost rises next semester.

Under the North Carolina law, college students are required to have health insurance, those that drop out of the plan will often choose to enroll under their parent’s plan or shop for a plan elsewhere.

UNCGA will make the final decision as to whether the Gold Plan or the Silver Plan will be implemented in the 2016-17 academic year will be made by the UNCGA. The decision will be made in March.

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