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University switches insurance providers

After a year-long, student initiated search, the University will be offering the Chickering Group as the new student health insurance plan.

"There was a strong opinion that the University needed to issue a request for proposal to find out what other companies were offering," said Alison Montgomery, director of administration at the Student Health Center.

The new plan offers several new services for University students that the previous health insurance provider, Southern Health Insurance, Inc., was not able to provide.

One of the differences is that the new health plan eliminates the requirement of only one physician managing the care of the patient.

"We hoped to be able to offer 100 percent of any services ordered by student health physicians," Montgomery said.

The Chickering Group also offers no co-insurance or co-pay for services performed at the Student Health Center, travel assistance coverage and two levels of co-pay options for prescription drugs.

University students, especially graduate students who usually must purchase their own insurance coverage, will be able to enroll with the Chickering Group through Oct. 1.

All University students are required by the Board of Visitors to have a health insurance plan. As in previous years, the new plan includes single-coverage for Graduate teaching and research assistants.

The new plan will be effective Aug. 25.

The offered plan will cost $1,070 for a single-buyer annual premium.

"That's [the price] consistent with increases in the health insurance industry," Montgomery said.

The Chickering Group is partnered with Aetna, the largest health care provider in the United States.

"What makes the Chickering Group different and attractive is that it links itself with Aetna," Montgomery said. "It's a little more transportable."

The Chickering Group is able to offer services across the country because of its relationship with Aetna. The Group acts as a student liaison to Aetna by processing the claims and handling other administrative processes, Marketing Communications Manager Christine Murray said.

The Chickering Group, a student health care provider, serves approximately 90 schools.

"We insure over 200,000 students and their dependents," Murray said.

Universities such as New York University, Columbia University, University of Michigan and University of Chicago use the Chickering Group as their health care provider.

The University chose the Chickering Group through a long process that was finalized by a five person selection committee. The committee looked for a health insurance provider based on criteria that included their processing claims and marketing abilities, customer service availability, use of technology and the quality of the providers' proposals to the University, Montgomery said.

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