March 28, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 45°F


Editorial: Insurance changes cause confusion among students

Being an international student is a big commitment that usually induces anxiety at first, and when the college one attends lacks communication skills, a student’s experience in a foreign country becomes inferior. In Fall 2022, Ithaca College caused confusion because of poor communication with its international students about an updated Student Health Insurance Plan, insurance that every student is automatically enrolled in. Students are allowed to opt out of the college insurance plan as long as their alternative insurance meets University Health Plans’ standards.

Companies that provide the college’s SHIP are up to change. For the 2022–23 academic year, the provider was MVP Health Care and somehow the same year, alternative insurance plans like International Student Organization that have been used by students before with no complications were declined. No updates were sent to students, but only when international students bought their alternative insurance and tried to opt out of the college one, their insurance waiver was declined with a note that there have been changes to the insurance plan. 

The changes are not clear to understand either. International students received emails from UHP, which stated that insurances like ISO are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act. As a result, waivers of many international students have been declined. International students legally are not required to have an Affordable Care Act-compliant insurance plan in the first place. The college’s website, on the other hand, says that it has to be compliant with the college’s plan.

Not having clear information on the college’s health insurance changes financially harmed many international students. Some students had to purchase the college’s SHIP after paying for the alternative that was declined. Other students got a one-time waiver form that allowed them to use their alternative insurance. This occurred because of the college’s lack of communication. It is understandable that rules and regulations can be matters of change, however, after they occur everyone, or at least the group that is going to be affected by it, has to be notified. The college should not let its international community suffer financially because of its poor communication skills.   

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