The University of Maine System Has Changed Health Insurance Offering to the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP)
A new change in the health insurance verification requirement for students enrolled at University of Maine System (UMS) schools will take effect on August 1, 2021. This webpage outlines student options for accessing health insurance coverage and information about free wellbeing resources for those students who are not already covered under another plan.
Please note: Some University programs, such as Allied Health, Aviation and intercollegiate athletics require health insurance for program participation. These changes do not apply to Graduate Assistants and international students.
Understanding the Health Insurance Changes
In response to student concerns related to the cost of student health insurance, access to affordable education and changes to federal policy, the University of Maine System (UMS) is eliminating its health insurance verification requirement. As a result, UMS will no longer require that students provide proof of health insurance coverage and will no longer offer an insurance policy that automatically enrolls students in an insurance plan. This means that if you are at a UMS school next academic year and had planned to utilize the student health insurance option offered through your university, you will need to take action to secure a health insurance plan.
How to Navigate Student Insurance Options
This webpage highlights different options that will allow students to purchase health insurance that meets each student’s individual needs.
It can take time to figure out the best choice for your future health care coverage. If you are interested in any of these options, we recommend that you immediately begin the process of shopping for and securing healthcare coverage.
Some options include:
Option 1 – Health Insurance Offered through a Workplace, Parent or Family Member’s Policy
Students may already be eligible for health insurance coverage through a policy offered through their workplace or a policy provided to a parent, guardian or family member. To understand your eligibility and the cost of coverage, you will need to work directly with your employer or covered family member’s insurer.
Option 2 – The Government Healthcare Marketplace (External Site)
The United States federal government offers a health insurance Marketplace where individuals may shop for a health insurance policy. Due to the University of Maine System (UMS) no longer automatically enrolling students and the impacts of COVID-19, you may enroll in a marketplace-offered policy from now up until August 15. If you miss this date, it is ok! The general open enrollment period for the marketplace is November 1 to December 15. Open enrollment is the period of time during which you can join a plan.
To help you through these choices, UMS has formed a new partnership with health insurance navigators who specialize in helping individuals and families consider their available options in the marketplace, including eligibility for subsidized coverage.
Navigators can also assist with other forms of financial, food, or housing assistance that contribute to stability and student success. You may work with a navigator to review your options free of charge at any time.
Free consultations with navigators can be scheduled by visiting the Maine Government Healthcare Navigator webpage (External Site).
The Healthcare Hotline is also available to answer health insurance questions by calling 207-581-2681.
This line is available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM, excluding holidays.
Option 3 – Voluntary Student Health Insurance Policy (SHIP)
The University of Maine System is offering a voluntary student health insurance policy with Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield for the 2021/2022 academic year. The estimated cost for this policy will be $3,624. If you choose this option, you must sign-up and pay for the policy directly through A.J. Gallagher, our insurance broker. Installment payment plans are available. Credit card payments will include a 3% surcharge. Enrollment and credit hour conditions may apply.
Additional information about this option will be available in June 2021 from Gallagher and by visiting the Gallagher website (External Site).
Additional Options: Free Access SilverCloud Mental Health Wellbeing Platform
Regardless of your choice, if you are a University of Maine System (UMS) student for the 2021-2022 school year, you will have free access to the SilverCloud wellbeing platform (External Site). Available on any device at any time, the self-guided online programs are designed to help address underlying issues related to stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and resilience. SilverCloud is a wonderful resource, but it does not offer healthcare coverage beyond these self-guided online programs.
Although health insurance is no longer required to attend the University of Maine System, affordable health insurance is available
Our commitment to student success extends far beyond the classroom. Changes to our health insurance policies and our new partnership with Maine’s health insurance navigators remove financial and administrative barriers to higher education and provide students with the expert advice they need to improve their wellbeing and financial stability.
Affordable health insurance provides the financial stability and peace of mind students need to be successful in college. While it will no longer be required, the University of Maine System strongly encourages students to acquire health insurance coverage that meets their individual needs. There are cost-effective options available for many students, including expanded eligibility for income-based premium subsidies.
Please be sure to be in touch if you have questions by calling: 207-581-2681
Frequently Asked Questions
You can call a healthcare navigator to have them walk you through the process.
Or visit the United States Healthcare Website (External Site).
Students who select the Gallagher plan can learn more at the Gallagher website (External Site).
The University of Maine System first required student health insurance in 2014 in response to Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules. To help students avoid penalties, UMS offered a health insurance plan and automatically enrolled students who did not show proof of other coverage. Over the years, the ACA has evolved and there are no longer requirements to have health insurance and the associated financial penalties for not having health insurance have been eliminated. Therefore, the University will no longer be requiring health insurance as a condition of enrollment.
Many students were automatically enrolled in the health insurance coverage because they did not provide evidence of other coverage. We heard feedback and objections from multiple students regarding the waiver process and the costly requirement to have insurance.
In response to student concerns and because ACA rules have since changed, the University of Maine System will no longer mandate coverage, will transition our current plan to a voluntary one, and will coordinate with State Health Navigators to help you find affordable coverage and available discounts.
Transitioning to a voluntary student health insurance offering was a factor in the increased premium for 2022. The premium for 2022 increased by 80%.
Due to the increased premium for the voluntary insurance program, the University has partnered with the State’s Health Insurance Navigator program to help connect students to other affordable, and sometimes subsidized, health insurance offerings through the marketplace. This program offers students the opportunity to customize their insurance to meet their individual needs. Additionally – this new program connects students with other programs including housing, heating and food assistance which will be instrumental in the support of many students’ lives.
The University of Maine System will no longer be requiring student health insurance as a condition of enrollment for undergraduate students beginning with the Fall semester of 2021.
This change does not impact the insurance provided to employed graduate assistants and international students (a federal requirement).
Students currently covered on the Student Health Insurance policy through Anthem will have coverage through July 31, 2021. Their existing coverage will expire on August 1, 2021.
Athletes will still need to have health insurance to participate in intercollegiate sports. You will still be able to obtain health insurance either through a parent, guardian or employer, the marketplace, or the voluntary Gallagher plan. The University will also continue to provide accident coverage which is required by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The University is federally mandated to have health insurance for J-1 students. As a best practice among higher education institutions, the University also includes F-1 students in the mandatory insurance. Therefore, the University will still provide a mandatory health insurance policy for international (J-1 and F-1) students.
The University of Maine System will still provide an optional student health insurance policy for our employed Graduate Assistant populations.
Some academic programming requires students to maintain health insurance, for example: the Allied health professions. Please see your department for information.
You can call a healthcare navigator. A healthcare navigator is an individual or organization that is specially trained to help consumers look for health coverage options through the Marketplace. Healthcare navigators can help you complete the required forms, and can also help connect you with other programs that may meet your needs such as: rent assistance, heating assistance, food stamps, etc.
Contact the University of Maine System to get more information by calling:
The Healthcare Hotline:
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., excluding holidays
Share concerns or complaints by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gallagher plan annual premium will cost $3,624 and will include the same health, vision, and dental coverage.
The cost of marketplace coverage will depend on individual factors, including and not limited to – income, the plan chosen, etc.
Healthcare Navigators can help determine if individuals are eligible for subsidies.
The enrollment deadline for the Gallager plan is September 13, 2021 for undergraduate and graduate students. The effective date of the Anthem policy, once enrolled, will be August 1, 2021.
Students have up to 60 days from 8/1/2021 to enroll in a plan through the Marketplace. This means students will need to enroll by September 29th, 2021 for immediate coverage.
The standard open enrollment period for the Marketplace is November 1 through December 15 every year. During the standard open enrollment period, policies are effective January 1 of the following year.
If students enroll in marketplace coverage by September 29, 2021, their coverage can be effective immediately. This is due to a ‘life event’: In this case, the University of Maine System is no longer offering the plan.
All marketplace policies are based on a calendar year. This means they expire on December 31 and need to be renewed during the open enrollment period.
If students choose to enroll in the voluntary plan, their coverage will be effective August 1, 2021.
This answer depends on each person’s own circumstances. Cash refunds received from financial aid may be used for health insurance.
If the refund is applied to your student account, it will be used toward outstanding debts on your account. Therefore, you will not be able to apply the refund to health insurance costs.
No, health insurance is not considered in the cost of attendance.
Students who select the Gallagher plan will be offered a plan that includes the same coverage they had in their previous Gallagher plan.
Students who purchase health insurance through the marketplace will be able to select a plan that best meets their needs.
- Low-income individuals
- Small businesses
Yes – the Healthcare Navigators can help connect you with other services/resources that you may be eligible for. These services include and are not limited to:
- Food stamps
- Heating assistance
- Energy assistance