Why Does American University Require Students to Have Health Insurance Coverage
American University cares about the health and well-being of our students. Although many students have health insurance, some plans do not provide benefits when students are away from home during the semester. These students with inadequate insurance coverage may forgo treatments and experience extended illnesses while at college which can impact a student’s academic success.
Student who do not have coverage are able to enroll in the university insurance plan with CareFirst. This plan provides students with an affordable way to purchase insurance coverage.
Must I be on the AU-provided health insurance (Carefirst)?
No. Although enrollment in the CareFirst plan is automatic, you are free to waive coverage in favor of a provider of your choice, as long as the coverage is valid for use in Washington, DC and meets AU's criteria for comprehensive coverage. The premium is billed automatically, but once your waiver is approved, the premium charge is removed from your bill. You may waive through February 14, 2020.
Is AU managing the insurance plan?
No. AU has contracted with CareFirst as the insurance provider to manage the plan. The insurance plan is NOT being managed by AU or the Student Health Center.
Why are waiver requests being reviewed?
In the past, a number of students who provided alternative insurance plans and received a waiver experienced serious medical issues, faced large medical bills and/or were unable to afford medication. It is important for students to have valid, comprehensive insurance that covers them in case of medical need.
Additionally, some students without adequate health insurance coverage in Washington, DC needed to travel back to their home states in order to get the care they needed. This resulted in unanticipated travel costs as well as missed time in classes, internships and work. Their inability to get their medical condition treated in Washington, DC put their medical, academic and financial health at risk.
How do I request a waiver?
- Visit the My Academic HealthPlans page and log in with AO followed by your 7 digit numerical AUID number.
- Academic HealthPlans is a third party administrator that handles students health insurance waiver and enrollment.
- You then must submit proof of coverage by another health insurance provider. You do this by uploading either a copy of your insurance card or a document from your insurance carrier showing you have coverage.
- You will receive a message from Academic HealthPlans that you’ve submitted the waiver. This does not mean that it was approved; that decision will be made within 5 business days. You will receive an email from Academic HealthPlans with the waiver decision.
My waiver request was denied. why?
If it was denied, you didn’t demonstrate that you have comprehensive insurance that will cover you in Washington, DC. You must be able to show that it meets the criteria. During the waiver denial process you will receive details on why your waiver was denied. You can request additional information from your insurance carrier that demonstrates that your waiver meets our criteria. Academic HealthPlans will review this information and provide you with an update once it is reviewed.
I’m on medicaid. Why was my waiver denied?
Medicaid coverages can differ by state. But Medicaid in one state does not typically provide comprehensive coverage to a resident who is out of state. Your waiver request will be denied if Medicaid does not cover you in Washington, DC. If you have no comprehensive coverage in Washington, DC, you are vulnerable to financial risks.
I can’t afford health insurance. What do I do?
Financial aid recipients concerned about covering the cost of AU health insurance due to a waiver denial should contact the financial aid office to explore alternative financing options. Please speak with your designated financial aid counselor.
I’m covered for emergencies. Why can’t I be allowed to waive?
Our policy mandates comprehensive care, which goes beyond emergencies and covers medical costs that result from many non-emergency situations. In accordance with our policies, students cannot attend AU and be uninsured or underinsured. Students who waived in the past believing their coverage was adequate have found themselves saddled unexpectedly with significant medical bills.
Please be aware that situations many people would consider an “emergency” may not be defined as an “emergency” by a health insurance provider and would not necessarily be covered. Follow-up care, ambulance transportation, and psychiatric care are examples of scenarios that can cause medical bills to quickly reach thousands of dollars if you lack comprehensive coverage in Washington DC.
In addition, serious symptoms (such as chest pains or a fever) could reasonably send a student to the emergency room. But if these turn out not to be symptoms of a serious illness, the lab tests, specialists’ consultations, and other emergency charges will not be covered unless the plan offers comprehensive coverage in Washington, DC.
Our core concern is ensuring that students have adequate coverage so that their health and education are not jeopardized when serious health issues arise.
Who sets the mandatory coverage policy?
This policy is set by AU, not by the Student Health Center or the health care provider. It follows nationally accepted standards and best practices in higher education. To the best of our knowledge, all other major universities in Washington, DC have a similar requirement.
I’m an international student. Can I waive?
Most international students cannot waive and must be covered by AU’s student health insurance plan.
I’m a part-time or online student. Do I need to waive?
No. Part-time or students in online programs (not academic programs impacted by Covid-19) are not automatically enrolled in this insurance, so do not need to waive.
However, you can opt in if you are taking at least 6 credit hours. To request enrollment, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and AU ID number. We’ll verify the number of credits you’re enrolled in and then guide you through the process.
Can AU submit my information on my behalf?
No. This can only be done through the Academic HealthPlans site.
Who can help me if I have problems submitting my waiver?
If you have problems submitting your waiver please contact Academic HealthPlans at 1-855-343-8387. There is also a chat feature available online at the my Academic Health Plans page
I have another question.
Please first check the following messages to see if they address your question:
About the Student Health Insurance Plan
If you have questions about the CareFirst benefits under this plan, information can be found at the Academic HealthPlans Site
For questions and guidance CareFirst insurance benefits, please call the CareFirst representatives at the dedicated line for the AU community: 844-898-3332
You may also contact the Student Health Center at email@example.com
I am not returning to Campus in the fall and will be taking my classes remotely. Why do I still need to submit a waiver?
American University requires all students to have health insurance coverage. We recognize that many students will be taking classes remotely this fall. You will still need to show proof of insurance coverage, however if you will not physically be in Washington, DC, Maryland, or Virginia you will not need to show proof in-network coverage in the DC area.
Do I have access to insurance benefits with the CareFirst plan if I am taking my classes remotely?
Yes, the CareFirst plan provides coverage throughout the USA and insurance when you are traveling abroad. To find a local provider, please visit the Academic Health Plan site and use the Find a Doctor of Hospital Link. Click on the type of care you are looking for and then modify your search by Zip Code. You will also need to change the plan to BluePreferred (PPO).